Workplace stress is often referred to as the epidemic of the century. It is so normalized within our society that it often goes unrecognized and unquestioned. This study describes and explores the phenomenon of workplace stress. This study looks at some of the key factors, such as overwork, being undervalued in the workplace, and emotional labour, that contributes to workplace stress. This study makes a case that workplace stress is a cloaked phenomenon for dehumanization. The research starts with theoretical overview of dehumanization through different theoretical constructs, such as instrumentalism and moral disengagement, and also through Haslam's and Montague's models of dehumanization. The theoretical explorations here consider how we have allowed ourselves to become dehumanized and how we have allowed others to be dehumanized. The study then looks at how dehumanization shows up in the workplace. From there, it takes a historical perspective, and considers how successive industrial revolutions resulted in the current forces and pressures that insidiously dehumanize workers in the workplace. The study then moves to ways we can recover, in a more systemic and conscious way, the human dimension in workplaces, and build and develop caring communities through leadership-facilitated positive changes. It offers different perspectives on how one can cultivate awareness of self and expand one's sense of one’s own humanness. Finally, this study focuses on the outer direction and examines the collective work experience and attempts to answer the question: How does an organization shift to be an organization that is humanizing.
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Thesis advisor: Bai, Heesoon
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