In modern society, with the accelerating pace of life, the increasingly fierce competition for survival makes people often face a sense of urgency, and bear the growing work stress. Some problems related to stress have increasingly become a topic in society with common concern.
In this essay, I will critically evaluate the Type A personality and Type B personality, discuss how stress levels would vary amongst the two personality types, analyse the relationship between the personality factors and the work stress for individuals, and finally propose the recommendations to ease employee stress levels.
Comparison of Type A personality and Type B personality
Type A behavior is the concept first proposed by the well-known American cardiologists Friedman and Rosenman (1959) in the fifties of the 20th century. They found that many of coronary heart disease have shown some typical and common features, such as: ambitious, feisty, obsessed with work but lack of patience, prone to hostile feelings, often sense of time urgency and so on. They called the characteristics of the behavior of these people as Type A Behavior Pattern (TABP), and the behavior of the relative lack of such features is called Type B Behavior Pattern (TBBP). Type A personality is considered as the susceptibility behavior pattern of a coronary heart disease (Caplan & Jones, 1975). Among coronary heart disease patients there are more type A personality, and the Type A personality of patients with coronary heart disease are high recurrence rate, the prognosis is poor.
In short, for the people with Type A personality, their living conditions are similar to the “deep-sea fish”, a long-term high pressure environment causes individuals to make unconscious mental adaptation forced – to change their personality to adapt to high pressure to avoid feel excessive pressure caused by anxiety (Myers, 1995). But the mental speeding does not mean that health can also be accepted in this state, similar to the overclocking of computer, long-term high-load operation, even if the surface looks well, is actually devastating the “hardware”.
Relative to the characteristics by the type A personality of individuals work in the fast-paced adaptation, their stress is too small for the environment but will feel sick – the same like the deep-sea fish’s “vacuum reaction.” Of course, such performance is not the same psychologically. Many studies have shown, type A personality is highly related to the presence of cardiovascular disease. In psychology, this has become the typical evidence that the psychological factors can lead to physical illness. In the following years, “psychosomatic illness” is more and more attention by scholars of modern medicine.
Type A people are often at moderate to high anxiety, constantly put pressure of time to self-imposed, and totally set themselves a deadline. From a management point of view type A people engaged in the performance of a willingness to work long, poor decision-making is also not accidental; little creative, because of concerns about the number and speed, often rely on past experience to resolve their current problems; little under the environment to challenge to change their behavior, the behavior is more easily prediction than type B people (Fink, 2010). In the organization the best salesman is often type A personality; senior managers are often type B personality.
In psychology, the personality is a unique pattern to constitute a person’s thoughts, feelings and behavior, and this unique pattern includes the stabile and uniform mental quality that differs from another’s (Dimsdale et al., 1978). Personality is a complex structural system, which includes many elements, including temperament, personality, cognitive style, self-control and so on.
In the personality theory of psychology, there is a “type theory”, one of which is the “opposite type theory”, type A-B personality theory, and this theory holds that certain personality types include two pair opposite directions of a personality dimension. In recent years, people in the study of the relationship between personality and work stress, often use this personality type.
Personality factors related to employee stress
In heavy stress environment, some people are vibrant, full of passion; while others are malaise, emotional malaise, what factors cause the differences in the ability of people to deal with stress? Which variables of individual differences are regulating the relationship between the potential stress factors and the actual stress sense? In my opinion, the following factors are associated with these intermediate variables: physiological factor, personality factor, personal knowledge, job experience, and social support, of which personality factor is one of the most crucial factors. There are several key personality traits have direct links with stress.
l Excessive pursuit of perfection
The people with perfect personality always spend their time filling full (Gehlmann, 1992). Because free time makes them feel anxious. Time is always not enough, time in the activities one by one disappeared, when their attention is focused on a piece of work, they could not bring themselves to stop, there is a mandatory own tendency to do the right thing. They are often forced to work for stopping anxiety. Therefore, they are always in a tense emotional state, stress is often greater than the ordinary people. If long-term in this state, there will be a tendency to depression.
l Want to be the Savior
The psychological conflict with this personality comes from it is very difficult to identify their real needs and feelings; service to others is often easier than the services on their own, otherwise they will feel like a selfish person, feeling betrayed by their own (Terry & Tonge, 1995); they attach great importance to relationships and feelings, care about other people’s recognition and encouragement, others’ criticism, deny may give a fatal blow. Psychology calls the personality tendency as “Type C personality,” or “cancer personality.”
l External control personality
External control personality comes from the control point theory. The so-called control point means the extent of a person to grasp their own destiny, which is a personality characteristic. It can be divided into internal and external control of those two types of personality (Parkes, 1994). Internal control people believe that individuals can control their own destiny, work performance and achievements are the results of individual hard work, they are the master of fate. External control people believe that their destiny is dominated by external forces. Their success is luck, and their failure is attributed to the unknown external forces.
When the internal control and external control people are facing similar situations, the internal control people are more likely to believe that they could have a greater impact on the consequences of their actions. Behavior is more initiative. External control people are more inclined to passive defense, they are not taking action to reduce stress, but yield the existence of stress. Therefore, the external control people in the tense atmosphere are not only prone to helplessness, but also prone to stress feeling.
l Mediator of Type A Personality
People with Type A personality constantly drive themselves to do the most things in the shortest period of time. They are willing to engage in competitive activities of high intensity, and have long time on the sense of urgency and stress of other people or things, and they are hostile and aggressive to hinder their success (Ganster & Schaubroeck, 1991). People with Type A personality are often quick success and with ambition.
In the organization, even though people with Type A personality work very hard, they may be the best salesman, very fast workers. But the senior management personnel are often those intelligent, smart and creative people with Type B personality, rather than hasty, hostile and aggressive people with Type A personality.
Conclusions and recommendations
Personality refers to the sum of the psychological characteristics performed by individuals, which is a stable attitude system and habits of behavior, as well as a complex dynamic system (Billings & Moos, 1982). The attitude and value in life is the highest level of personality. The formation of human personality is based on the inherent genetic factors, but also affected by acquired environmental factors and situational variables. Personality in the 25-year-old is basically in shape, generally can not be a big change, but can still be adjusted through effective measures and shape. When people discover that some of the inherent mode of thinking, habits and behavior style of the incorrect factors are affecting their life and health, quality of life and job performance, they will change their internal drive. Personality’s shaping and change should be started first from attitudes and values, and values determine a person’s attitude, attitude determines behavior, behavior determines personality, and personality changes destiny.
When anxiety, depression, impatience and other negative emotions occurred as a result of stress, even when this causes mental disorders, on the one hand need to adjust and change the symptoms, the other hand, need to re-examine their deep-seated attitudes and values of life, and then change the negative factors of personality and continue to be improved. The main measures are:
l Clear that sense of happiness is the only standard measure of life
Usually happiness is the ultimate goal of all goals in life. People must have a clear goal that can bring happiness and significance, and then try to pursue. To find true happiness that makes their meaningful goals is the key to happiness. Money and happiness are necessities for survival, not mutually exclusive. Studies have shown that a happy person, at all levels of life will be very successful, including marriage, friendship, income, work performance and health. Happiness and success, there is a strong correlation with each other, whether at work or emotional success can bring happiness; and happy in itself will bring more success.
l Desire is inversely proportional to happiness
Human desire is not only associated with personal values, but also with people on the reference system, that is compared with others. If a person is always compared to the people better than him, no matter how much success he achieved, he can not feel satisfied, and he will always be in a stress state. Thus, a person should be according to his ability with a reasonable prospect of success. Do not worry so much about the result of things. The important is whether the work is very happy in the process, whether done its best. Just do your best, will be happy, stress will be reduced.
l To correct the incorrect mode of thinking
There are seven major incorrect modes of thinking that have greater impact on people’s lives (Ross, 1995):
- A man should be like all the people around and praise; 2. A person should do anything, perfect is valuable; 3. Bad should be severely punished by laws; 4. Do not wish fulfilled if the time for me to is a terrible hurt; 5. All the misfortunes are caused by external factors individuals can not control; 6. the face of difficulties and responsibilities there are a lot of trouble, not as far away from or escape; 7. Past experience determines now, and can never be changed.
l Methods of training for “positive mode of thinking”
Psychological research shows that altruistic values are the highest state of life. The greatest significance and value of life is to take pleasure to extend to the outside world from their own, according to their abilities and needs of others to care for others, giving others, of course, people will also get other people’s friendship and respect, and then experience the joy of life. The highest state of love is to giving, the highest state of happiness is “ecstasy.” Truly happy person will find meaningful in their own way of life to enjoy his bit by bit.
l Training methods of those different personality characteristics
People with regular exercise, in their brain will secrete something called “endorphins” material, its role is similar to morphine, people can have pleasure, and scientists call it as “5 – HT”. In addition, it needs to coordinate the scientific diet and healthy lifestyle, and other useful methods of emotion regulation for the decompression.
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