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How to convert bad stress into good

David Strutton (Department of Marketing and Logistics, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)
Gina A. Tran (Department of Marketing & Logistics, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA and Department of Marketing, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida, USA)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 11 November 2014




The purpose of this article is to develop three approaches that managers should use to channel formerly negative stressors and anxieties into productively motivated behaviors. When managers deal more deftly with naturally arising and anxiety-inducing stress, they and their subordinates should perform more effectively simply because their levels of motivation will increase.


The conceptual discussion is grounded in ideas and principals adopted and/or adapted from ancient and contemporary Western and social scientific bodies of thought.


This deductive essay demonstrates how the conscious choice to manage through paradox as bad stressors arrive offers managers actual tools through which they could convert the threatening stresses into challenging – and motivating – anxieties.


Managers often seek to eliminate – or choose to consciously ignore – anxiety. Either behavior, of course, is unreasonable. The sense of realism that emerges from the paradoxical middle path introduced above should decrease the onset of such unreasonable responses to stress. Meanwhile, managing through this middle path approach also elevates the likelihood that motivated managers establish proper goals, break problems and challenges into manageable chunks and address them. In the bargain, managers should become better able to convert bad stress into good.



Strutton, D. and A. Tran, G. (2014), "How to convert bad stress into good", Management Research Review, Vol. 37 No. 12, pp. 1093-1109.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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