When Stress at Work Becomes a Problem: Coping Approaches Told by Middle Managers

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för organisation och entreprenörskap (OE); Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för organisation och entreprenörskap (OE)


Stress at work can arise in a every occupation, particularly among middle managers who struggle to retrieve a work-life balance. In this Master’s Thesis we asked how middle managers experience and cope with stressful situations at work. We gathered the empirical material through conversations and elicited texts with seven middle managers in different business industries. By applying the Grounded Theory as our qualitative research method, we tried to avoid bringing up cheap solutions of how middle managers deal with occupational stress - because the scenario can suggest a wide set of possibilities - and instead developed a model that attempts to explain their coping approaches. Against prevalent studies, we revealed that being a middle manager does not always imply being stressed and that, further, middle managers’ work-related stressors rarely appear clearly characterized in literature. Our final result was five middle managers’ portraits that correspond to their different ways of coping with stress at work: Controlling, Listing & Planning, Mindful Thinking, Delegation & Seeking Support, and Flight.

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