Did you know that chronic work stress can change our personalities?
A study titled “An Explanation of Personality Change in Organizational Science: Personality as an Outcome of Workplace Stress” published March 16, 2021, in the Journal of Management, states that “employees dealing with work-induced stress can experience changes to their physiology.”
According to the researchers, work can be a powerful driver of personality change.
This is a new perspective to organizational research which has historically treated personality traits as stable and unaffected by organizational influences.
Organizational research focuses on human behaviour in the workplace.
The paper proposes a new model based on genetics and epigenetics.
Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression that can be passed down to offspring.
According to the paper, the combination of any stressful experience, such as an abusive supervisor and performance pressure, causes psychological stress experienced by the individual, which leads to neurobiological responses in the brain.
This is because “although genes are generally immutable, their expression is not.”
To avoid personality changes in their employees over time due to long-term stress, the study recommends that employees be taught to perceive stressors as opportunities or challenges, where appropriate, or altering workplace practices.
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