UNIT 4Understanding Stress and Conflict Q1) What is stress? What are the causes of stress in work and life?A1) Stress is a feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure, and a feeling that you are unable to cope. Most people experience stressful situations at some point and our bodies generate stress hormones (which trigger our internal ‘fight or flight’ response) to help us deal with them. However, if we are constantly feeling stressed, these hormones remain in our bodies and start to affect our physical and mental well-being. We become increasingly unable to cope with the demands placed on us – whether at work or at home. Causes of Stress:The exact causes of stress are often difficult to pin down. Someone might think that work is the root of their stress because it manifests as a work issue, but the source might actually be a problem at home, or an event or experience from the past resurfacing. The opposite is a possibility too – stress at home with children, ill parents, buying a house or other life event affects how some people cope at work. For some, it becomes a cycle of stress, affecting all aspects of a person’s life. Causes of work stress include:
Being unhappy in your job Having a heavy workload or too much responsibility Working long hours Having poor management, unclear expectations of your work, or no say in the decision-making process Working under dangerous conditions Being insecure about your chance for advancement or risk of termination Having to give speeches in front of colleagues Facing discrimination or harassment at work, especially if your company isn't supportive Life stresses can also have a big impact. Examples of life stresses are: The death of a loved one Divorce Loss of a job Increase in financial obligations Getting married Moving to a new home Chronic illness or injury Emotional problems (depression, anger, anxiety, grief, guilt, low self-esteem) Taking care of an elderly or sick family member Traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, theft, rape, or violence against you or a loved oneQ2) What the factors can lead to stress?A2) Fear and uncertainty. When you regularly hear about the threat of terrorist attacks, global warming, and toxic chemicals on the news, it can cause you to feel stressed, especially because you feel like you have no control over those events. And even though disasters are typically very rare events, their vivid coverage in the media may make them seem as if they are more likely to occur than they really are. Fears can also hit closer to home, such as being worried that you won't finish a project at work or won't have enough money to pay your bills this month. Attitudes and perceptions. How you view the world or a particular situation can determine whether it causes stress. For example, people who feel like they're doing a good job at work will be less stressed out by a big upcoming project than those who worry that they are incompetent. Unrealistic expectations. No one is perfect. If you expect to do everything right all the time, you're destined to feel stressed when things don't go as expected. Change. Any major life change can be stressful -- even a happy event like a wedding or a job promotion. More unpleasant events, such as a divorce, major financial setback, or death in the family can be significant sources of stress.Stress levels differ based on your personality and how one responds to situations. Some people let everything roll off their back. To them, work stresses and life stresses are just minor bumps in the road. Others literally worry themselves sick.Q3) What are the Agents of socialization and the role of family in developing the Individual?A3) It may be said that the total society is the agency for socialisation and that each person with whom one comes into contact and interact is in some way an agent of socialisation. Socialisation is found in all interactions, but the most influential interaction occurs in particular groups which are referred to as agencies of socialisation.The oblivious beginning of the process for the new-born child is-his immediate family group, but this is soon extended to many other groups. Other than the family, the most important are the schools, the peer groups (friends circle) and the mass media. FamilyThere is no better way to start than to talk about the role of family in our social development, as family is usually considered to be the most important agent of socialization. As infants, we are completely dependent on others to survive. Our parents, or those who play the parent role, are responsible for teaching us to function and care for ourselves. They, along with the rest of our family, also teach us about close relationships, group life, and how to share resources. Additionally, they provide us with our first system of values, norms, and beliefs - a system that is usually a reflection of their own social status, religion, ethnic group, and more.Arthur, a young boy who lives in America, was born to an immigrant family. He grew up bilingual and was taught the importance of collectivistic values through socialization with his family. This experience differs drastically from someone born to an older, 'traditional' American family that would emphasize the English language and individualistic values. The family is the primary agency of socialisation. It is here that the child develops an initial sense of self and habit-training—eating, sleeping etc. To a very large extent, the indoctrination of the child, whether in primitive or modem complex society, occurs within the circle of the primary family group. The child’s first human relationships are with the immediate members of his family—mother or nurse, siblings, father and other close relatives.Here, he experiences love, cooperation, authority, direction and protection. Language (a particular dialect) is also learnt from family in childhood. People’s perceptions of behaviour appropriate of their sex are the result of socialisation and major part of this is learnt in the family.As the primary agents of childhood socialisation, parents play a critical role in guiding children into their gender roles deemed appropriate in a society. Families also teach children values they will hold throughout life. They frequently adopt their parents’ attitudes not only about work but also about the importance of education, patriotism and religion.Q4) What role does school and peers in developing the IndividualA4) SchoolsThe next important agent of childhood socialization is the school. Of course, the official purpose of school is to transfer subject knowledge and teach life skills, such as following directions and meeting deadlines. But, students don't just learn from the academic curriculum prepared by teachers and school administrators. In school, we also learn social skills through our interactions with teachers, staff, and other students. For example, we learn the importance of obeying authority and that to be successful, we must learn to be quiet, to wait, and sometimes to act interested even when we're not.Arthur, like other children, might even learn things from his teacher that she did not intend to teach. For instance, he might learn that it's best to yell out an answer instead of raising his hand. When he does so, he gets rare attention from the teacher and is hardly ever punished.Schools teach sets of expectations about the work, profession or occupations they will follow when they mature. Schools have the formal responsibility of imparting knowledge in those disciplines which are most central to adult functioning in our society. PeersBesides the world of family and school fellows, the peer group (the people of their own age and similar social status) and playmates highly influence the process of socialisation. In the peer group, the young child learns to confirm to the accepted ways of a group and to appreciate the fact that social life is based on rules. Peer group becomes significant others in the terminology of G.H. Mead for the young child. Peer group socialisation has been increasing day by day these days.Young people today spend considerable time with one another outside home and family. Young people living in cities or suburbs and who have access to automobiles spend a great deal of time together away from their families. Studies show that they create their own unique sub-cultures—the college campus culture, the drug culture, motorcycle cults, athletic group culture etc. Peer groups serve a valuable function by assisting the transition to adult responsibilities.Teenagers imitate their friends in part because the peer group maintains a meaningful system of rewards and punishments. The group may encourage a young person to follow pursuits that society considers admirable.On the other hand, the group may encourage someone to violate the culture’s norms and values by driving recklessly, shoplifting, stealing automobiles, engaging in acts of vandalism and the like. Some studies of deviant behaviour show that the peer group influence to cultivate behaviour patterns is more than the family.Q5) What is the Significance of values, ethics and prejudices in developing of an Individual? Explain Values in detail.A5) The first, and perhaps most crucial, elements of culture we will discuss are its values and beliefs. Values are a culture’s standard for discerning what is good and just in society. Values are deeply embedded and critical for transmitting and teaching a culture’s beliefsValues help shape a society by suggesting what is good and bad, beautiful and ugly, sought or avoided. Consider the value that the United States places upon youth. Children represent innocence and purity, while a youthful adult appearance signifies sexuality. Shaped by this value, individuals spend millions of dollars each year on cosmetic products and surgeries to look young and beautiful. The United States also has an individualistic culture, meaning people place a high value on individuality and independence. In contrast, many other cultures are collectivist, meaning the welfare of the group and group relationships are a primary value.Living up to a culture’s values can be difficult. It’s easy to value good health, but it’s hard to quit smoking. Marital monogamy is valued, but many spouses engage in infidelity. Cultural diversity and equal opportunities for all people are valued in the United States, yet the country’s highest political offices have been dominated by white men.Values often suggest how people should behave, but they don’t accurately reflect how people do behave. Values portray an ideal culture, the standards society would like to embrace and live up to. But ideal culture differs from real culture, the way society actually is, based on what occurs and exists. In an ideal culture, there would be no traffic accidents, murders, poverty, or racial tension. But in real culture, police officers, lawmakers, educators, and social workers constantly strive to prevent or repair those accidents, crimes, and injustices. American teenagers are encouraged to value celibacy. However, the number of unplanned pregnancies among teens reveals that not only is the ideal hard to live up to, but the value alone is not enough to spare teenagers the potential consequences of having sex.One way societies strive to put values into action is through rewards, sanctions, and punishments. When people observe the norms of society and uphold its values, they are often rewarded. A boy who helps an elderly woman board a bus may receive a smile and a “thank you.” A business manager who raises profit margins may receive a quarterly bonus. People sanction certain behaviors by giving their support, approval, or permission, or by instilling formal actions of disapproval and non-support. Sanctions are a form of social control, a way to encourage conformity to cultural norms. Sometimes people conform to norms in anticipation or expectation of positive sanctions: good grades, for instance, may mean praise from parents and teachers. From a criminal justice perspective, properly used social control is also inexpensive crime control. Utilizing social control approaches pushes most people to conform to societal rules, regardless of whether authority figures (such as law enforcement) are present.When people go against a society’s values, they are punished. A boy who shoves an elderly woman aside to board the bus first may receive frowns or even a scolding from other passengers. A business manager who drives away customers will likely be fired. Breaking norms and rejecting values can lead to cultural sanctions such as earning a negative label—lazy, no-good bum—or to legal sanctions, such as traffic tickets, fines, or imprisonment. Values are not static; they vary across time and between groups as people evaluate, debate, and change collective societal beliefs. Values also vary from culture to culture. For example, cultures differ in their values about what kinds of physical closeness are appropriate in public. It’s rare to see two male friends or co-workers holding hands in the United States where that behavior often symbolizes romantic feelings. But in many nations, masculine physical intimacy is considered natural in public. This difference in cultural values came to light when people reacted to photos of former president George W. Bush holding hands with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in 2005. A simple gesture, such as handholding, carries great symbolic differences across cultures. Q6) What is Ethics?A6) Ethics are self‐regulatory guidelines for making decisions and defining professions. By establishing ethical codes, professional organizations maintain the integrity of the profession, define the expected conduct of members, and protect the welfare of subjects and clients. Moreover, ethical codes give professionals direction when confronting ethical dilemmas, or confusing situations. A case in point is a scientist's decision whether to intentionally deceive subjects or inform them about the true risks or goals of a controversial but much‐needed experiment. Many organizations, such as the American Sociological Association and the American Psychological Association, establish ethical principles and guidelines. The vast majority of today's social scientists abide by their respective organizations' ethical principles.A researcher must remain mindful of her or his ethical responsibilities to participants. A researcher's primary duty is to protect the welfare of the subjects. For example, a researcher whose study requires extensive questioning of volunteers' personal information should screen the subjects beforehand to assure that the questioning will not distress them. A researcher should also inform subjects about their expected roles in the study, the potential risks of participating, and their freedom to withdraw from the study at any time without consequences. Agreeing to participate in a study based on disclosure of this type of information constitutes informed consent. After the study is finished, the researcher should provide subjects with complete details about the study. Providing details at the conclusion of an experiment is called debriefing.Many critics believe that no experiment justifies the intentional use of deception, or concealing the purpose and procedures of a study from participants. Not only does deception carry the risk of psychologically harming subjects, it reduces the general public's support for research. Proponents, however, view deception as necessary when prior knowledge of a study would sway a subject's responses and invalidate the results. If subjects learn that a study measures attitudes of racial discrimination, they may intentionally try to avoid appearing prejudiced.Q7) What are Prejudices? Give the types.A7) Prejudice and discrimination are often confused, but the basic difference between them is this: prejudice is the attitude, while discrimination is the behaviour. More specifically, racial and ethnic prejudice refers to a set of negative attitudes, beliefs, and judgments about whole categories of people, and about individual members of those categories, because of their perceived race and/or ethnicity. A closely related concept is racism, or the belief that certain racial or ethnic groups are inferior to one’s own. Prejudice and racism are often based on racial and ethnic stereotypes, or simplified, mistaken generalizations about people because of their race and/or ethnicity. While cultural and other differences do exist among the various American racial and ethnic groups, many of the views we have of such groups are unfounded and hence are stereotypes Prejudice is a baseless and often negative preconception or attitude toward members of a group. Prejudice can have a strong influence on how people behave and interact with others, particularly with those who are different from them, even unconsciously or without the person realizing they are under the influence of their internalized prejudices.Common features of prejudice include negative feelings, stereotyped beliefs, and a tendency to discriminate against members of a group. In society, we often see prejudices toward a group based on race, sex, religion, culture, and more. While specific definitions of prejudice given by social scientists often differ, most agree that it involves prejudgments that are usually negative about members of a group.When people hold prejudicial attitudes toward others, they tend to view everyone who fits into a certain group as being "all the same." They paint every individual who holds particular characteristics or beliefs with a very broad brush and fail to really look at each person as a unique individual. Types of Prejudice:Prejudice can be based on a number of factors including sex, race, age, sexual orientation, nationality, socioeconomic status, and religion. Some of the most well-known types of prejudice include: Racism Sexism Ageism Classism Homophobia Nationalism Religious prejudice XenophobiaQ8) Define Aggression and violence as the public expression of conflict ?A8) Aggression is defined as "any form of behavior directed toward the goal of harming or injuring another living being who is motivated to avoid such treatment.Aggression has many forms and purposes. Direct violence is overt and is committed by, and directed at, particular individuals. It can be contrasted to structural violence, which occurs when basic resources are distributed unfairly, depriving some of decent lives. Violence occurs at every level, from individual through family, community, nation, and world.Theorists differ over whether aggression is based in biology or in cause by environment. Sociobiologists argue that aggression is a basic part of our biological makeup, and is elicited or repressed by various circumstances. Deviance studies have found violence associated with various physiological conditions. They have also found that aggression produces physiological changes. However, most violence is committed by physiologically (and otherwise mentally) normal individuals.Some people are predisposed to aggression, and groups or organizations may have a culture of violence. Such malevolent dispositions are a popular explanation for violent behavior. Psychologically, it is easier to see violent individuals or groups as the sole causal agents than to see the larger context, which is characterized by prevailing and anticipated economic conditions; political institutions; available and scarce resources; conflict resolution practices; and the degree to which a society is open or closed to new groups, traditions, and ideas.Motivational theory sees blocked needs as the cause of aggression, drawing on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Psychologists have explored the connection between goal frustration and aggression. They found that, while frustration can lead to aggression, it can also lead to more constructive behaviors, and that many cases of aggression do not involve frustration. Similarly, there is no necessary connection between anger and aggression. Research also shows that "stimuli in the immediate environment, such as guns, knives, or axes...are also powerful cues that can spark violent behaviorGender studies have found it difficult to determine whether men are more violent than women. Men are more likely to engage in active, direct violence, while women's violence is more typically indirect, verbal, or self-directed.Behavioralists view aggression as a learned response. The legal system displays such an approach when it relies on punishment (negative reinforcement) to deter violence. However, punishment is only effective under very specific conditions; it must be swift, certain and severe. Social learning theorists see aggressions as leaned from personal experience and from role models. They emphasize environmental sources such as violent families and media portrayals of violence. Nonviolent behaviors will also be learned if they are effectively modeled. Social cognition approaches view aggression as the result of flawed or inadequate behavioral decision-making, and categorized aggression into two types. Reactive aggression occurs in response to perceived provocation. Reactively violent people may be overly sensitive to provocation or misinterpret situational cues. Proactive aggression occurs when violence is the preferred response to social challenge. Proactively violent people may lack knowledge of, or competency with, alternative responses, or may simply have an inappropriately positive evaluation of aggression (e.g. as showing strength). Cultural and social context plays a significant role in determining what kinds and degrees of aggression are acceptable or even admirable.Moral norms can act as a powerful constraint on violence. At the same time, felt injustice can be a powerful incentive toward, and justification for, violence. Norms violations are least likely to spark destructive , escalating conflicts if the violation was unintentional and transient, and if there are norms in place for redressing the wrong. People's judgements of behavior will vary depending on which domain they associate the behavior with: moral, conventional, or personal. For example, corporal punishment could be judged as morally wrong, socially acceptable, or a matter of personal preference. Many types of violence are rationalized as being conventional or personal, rather than moral, matters.Effective conflict resolution has four stages: diagnosis, implementation planning, implementation, and evaluation. Diagnosis requires identifying victims of violence, identifying their motives and background, and understanding how violence spreads from level to level. Since the causes of violence are multiple, complex, and interconnected, strategies for countering violence must be comprehensive, coordinated multiparty approaches. The usual dispute resolution approaches may be inappropriate in cases of violent or coercive conflict. Community anti-violence programs typically focus on conflict management skills, on youth or families, or on psychoeducational approaches.Three general principles should guide intervention into violent situations. First, control your own violence. Second , recognize and avoid behaviors that provoke other people's aggression. Third, when aggression does occur, acknowledge it and act to manage or de-escalate the conflict. Intervention should be subject to ongoing evaluation. Perform ongoing reality checks. Look for unintended consequences of the intervention and for conflict residues. In addition to intervention skills, recognizing and addressing aggression takes significant moral courage; even caring professionals tend to avoid acknowledging cases of violence.In conclusion, there needs to be a development of a culture of peace, which can "address the root causes of many kinds of aggression by emphasizing rights, law, and social justice. Cultures of peace work to implement their values and ideals for human rights, tolerance, democracy, free flow of information, sustainable development, peace education and gender equality.Q9) What is Stereotyping and prejudice as a significant factors in causing conflicts in society?A9) The principles of social psychology, including the ABCs—affect, behavior, and cognition—apply to the study of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, and social psychologists have expended substantial research efforts studying these concepts. The cognitive component in our perceptions of group members is the stereotype—the positive or negative beliefs that we hold about the characteristics of social group. We may decide that “French people are romantic,” that “old people are incompetent,” or that “college professors are absent minded.” And we may use those beliefs to guide our actions toward people from those groups. In addition to our stereotypes, we may also develop prejudice—an unjustifiable negative attitude toward an outgroup or toward the members of that outgroup. Prejudice can take the form of disliking, anger, fear, disgust, discomfort, and even hatred—the kind of affective states that can lead to behavior such as the gay bashing you just read about. Our stereotypes and our prejudices are problematic because they may create discrimination and conflict—unjustified negative behaviors toward members of outgroups based on their group membership.Stereotypes and prejudice have a pervasive and often pernicious influence on our responses to others, and also in some cases on our own behaviors. To take one example, social psychological research has found that our stereotypes may in some cases lead to stereotype threat—performance decrements that are caused by the knowledge of cultural stereotypes. Spencer, Steele, and Quinn (1999) found that when women were reminded of the (untrue) stereotype that “women are poor at math,” they performed more poorly on math tests than when they were not reminded of the stereotype, and other research has found stereotype threat in many other domains as well.Q10) What are some of the issues you might have started to think about in terms of stress and work?A10) Your feelings about your job – are you a perfectionist, for example? If so, you may need to learn to accept that some issues just cannot be resolved, and that your work only needs to be good enough rather than perfect, or that some tasks need more resources than your organisation has. Other people in your organisation and how you work with them. Being clear about the limits of your own and other people’s remits can help to resolve stresses about what it is you are expected to do and what you can expect from others. Resourcing issues, such as the amount of funding available to undertake a task that really requires more than is available. The availability of support for you and your work – often there is not enough or the person who is supposed to support you does not have enough time to meet your needs.Everyone has different stress triggers. Work stress tops the list, according to surveys. Forty percent of U.S. workers admit to experiencing office stress, and one-quarter say work is the biggest source of stress in their lives.
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