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Working in the voluntary sector
Working in the voluntary sector

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Week 8: Understanding stress and conflict


Working for voluntary organisations has many rewards – not least the feeling that you are doing something worthwhile. However, there can be aspects of working in voluntary organisations that can make it stressful and difficult. Many of the ideals of the sector, such as the participation of service users and beneficiaries or the strong value commitments that people hold, bring excitement and a feeling of passion on the part of those involved.

Sometimes, however, the features of voluntary organisations bring tension, stress and conflict when things are not going so well. Reasons for this include the informality of some smaller organisations, or the hierarchies of some larger organisations, uncertain funding arrangements and the strong value commitments of the people involved.

Understanding and improving well-being at work has gained greater attention in many sectors and professions. Not all stress is bad; however, not everyone is the same and we all deal with stress in different ways.

This week you will explore some sources of stress and conflict, which might help you to understand how you are feeling or have felt in the past. It will also help you to understand why your colleagues might be experiencing stress or conflict.

You can also attempt the compulsory badge quiz this week.

Start by watching this video in which Julie Charlesworth introduces you to Week 8.

Download this video clip.Video player: volb2_week8-640x360.mp4
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By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • identify and describe some sources of stress and the strategies to deal with them
  • explain a number of issues about working in the voluntary sector that can lead to tensions and conflict
  • describe sources of conflict and identify some strategies that can help you to cope with these issues
  • understand the constructive benefits of conflict.