THE EFFECT OF STRESS ON THE OFFICE MANAGEMENT JOB PERFORMANCE
Bankers are under a great deal of stress and due to many antecedents of stress such as Overload, Role ambiguity,
Role conflict, Responsibility for people, Participation, Lack of feedback, Keeping up with rapid technological change. Being in an innovative role, Career development, Organizational structure and climate, and Recent episodic events. One of the affected outcomes of stress is on job performance. This study examines the relationship between job stress and job performance on bank employees of banking sector in Nigeria. The study tests the purpose model in relation of job stress and its impact on job performance by using (n=144) data of graduate, senior employees including managers and customers services officers of well reputed growing bank in Nigeria. The data obtained through questioners was analyzed by statistical test correlation and regression and reliabilities were also confirmed. The results are significant with negative correlation between job stress and job performances and shows that job stress signifincently reduce the performance of an individual. The results suggest that organization should facilitate supportive culture within the working atmosphere of the organization.
Over the past few decades stress is emerging as an increasing problem in organizations. Stress is vigorous state in which a person is confronted with an opportunity, demand, or resource related to what the individual wishes and for which the outcome is perceived to be both vague and vital. (Selye, 1936) first introduced the idea of stress in to the life science. He defined stress as the force, pressure, or tension subjected upon an individual who resists these forces and attempt to uphold its true state. Basically what is stress? The HSE (Health Safety Executive Nigeria) defines stress is an undesirable response people have to tremendous pressures or other types of demands placed upon them.
It arises when they worry they cannot deal with. Some stress can be good, and some can be bad. HSE distinguishes between stress and pressure. Pressure is seen as positive and something that actually helps improve our performance. We all need a certain amount of pressure to perform well – ask any athlete, actor or actress. However, the problems arise when the sources of pressure become too frequent without time to recover, or when just one source of pressure is too great for us to cope with.
Stress can be understood more comprehensively as, it is a condition which happens when one realizes the pressures on them, or the requirements of a situation, are wider than their recognition that they can handle. If these requirements are huge and continue for a longer period of time without any interval, mental, physical or behavioral problems may occur, (Health &Safety Executive NIGERIA). Stress has a positive effect on employees of any organization but up to a certain extent up to which an employee can cope with it, mostly it exceeds the bearable limits and have a negative result on employees. This is the base of the research study which has not yet been conducted in Nigeria. A lot of work has been conducted outside Nigeria. Number of studies has been conducted in different area of world but a huge gap exists in third world countries like Nigeria. The purpose of this study is to examine stress in employees of banking sector of Nigeria
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Stress is an unwanted reaction people have to severe pressures or other types of demands placed upon them. A huge and multi fields literature points a lot of key factors such as work environment, management support, work load etc in determining the stressful the work can be and its effect on employee physical and mental health, (Ganster & Loghan, 2005). According to (Anderson, 2002) work to family conflicts is also a predecessor which creates stress in employees of an organization. Job stress has been also viewed as dysfunctional for organizations and their members (Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, & Rosenthal, 1964). Although stress has been variously viewed as an environmental stimulus to an individual (Kahn et al., 1964) Selye, 1956 defined stress as an individual’s reaction to an environmental force that effect an individual performance. Job related stress can be mostly immobilizing because of its possible threats to family functioning and individual performance. Job related stress can create an difference between demands on families and the ability of families to provide material security for them (McCubbin & Figley, 1983). While there is a significant body of research which deals with work and family there is relatively little research (e.g., Jacobson, 1987) which deals specifically with perceived job insecurity (i.e., concerns or fears about job loss) and marriage and family life (e.g., Buss & Redburn, 1983). Stress condition which happens when one realizes the pressures on them, or the requirements of a situation, are wider than their recognition that they can handle, if these requirements are huge and continue for a longer period of time with out any interval, mental, physical or behavior problems may occur, (Health &Safety Executive NIGERIA ).
Stress exists in every organization either big or small the work places and organizations have become so much complex due to which it exists, work place stress has significant effects over the employees job performance, and the organizations in Nigeria are trying to cope with this scenario, (R. Anderson, 2003). Eleven forces are used as an antecedents of stress by researches (Overload, Role vagueness, Role conflict, Responsibility for people, Participation, Lack of feedback, Keeping up with quick technological change, Being in an innovative role, Career growth, Organizational structure and environment, and Recent episodic events.,) Overload :excessive work or work that is outside one’s capability(Franch and Caplan ,1972; Margolis et al, 1974 ; Russek and Zohman, 1958) Role Ambiguity : Role insufficient information concerning powers, authority and duties to perform one’s role (French and Caplan, 1972; Kahn, et al, 1964 ), Role Conflict: Supervisors or subordinates place contradictory demands on the individual(Beehr et al, 1976; Caplan and Jones, 1975; Caplan, et al, 1975; Hall and Gordon, 1973; Kahn et al, 1964) Responsibility for people: Responsibility for people, well-being works, job security, and professional development (French and Caplan, 1972; Pincherle, 1972) Participation: Extent to which one has influence over decisions relevant to one’s job (Kasl, 1973) Margolis et al, 1974). Lack of Feedback: Lack of information about job performance (Adams, 1980 Cassel, 1974) Keeping up with rapid technological change:
Keeping up with rapid changes in the information processing field (Ginzburg, 1967) Being in an innovative role:
Having to bring about change in the organization (Kahn, et al.1964) Lawrence and Lorsch 1970. Career development: Impact of status dissimilarity, lack of job security, let down ambition (Brook 1973) Erikson and Gunderson 1972; Kahn, et al. 1964) Recent episodic events: Certain life events, such as divorce and bereavement, that are highly stressful (Adams 1980 ; Cobb, 1977 Holmes and Rahe 1975).
(Rose, 2003) In every organization and at every level of management and workers an elevated average level of stress is to be found which mostly has an effect on employee’s job satisfaction. According to (Rose ,2003) employees have tendency towards high level of stress regarding time, working for longer hours which reduces employees urge for performing better. Management support helps in reducing or increases stress in employees,
(Stamper & Johlke, 2003) apparent organizational assistance, management support work as a cushion which acts positively in decreasing work related stress in employees. There are a lot of reasons causing stress work family conflicts work over load one of reason indentified by (Stamper & Johlke ,2003) that if the organization or management does not appreciates its employees for their hard work or contribution toward the organization creates stress and mostly creates intention to leave. (Ivancevich & Donnelly, 1975) studied the link between anxiety stress with satisfaction and performance of employees, that lower anxiety stress improves performance of employee’s which he studied in different managerial level of an organization. (Beehr, Jex, Stacy & Murray, 2000) found the relationship between occupational stressors an the performance of employees of an organization as well as it can affect the employees psychologically. (Jamal, 1984) studied a association between job stress and job performance between managers and blue-collar employees. Stress on job can be stated as the outcome of an individual due to the working environment from which he feels unsecured. Different relationships are projected between job stress and performance: U-shaped and curvilinear, positive linear, negative linear and no relationship between the stress and performance. A random sample of 305 blue-collar and 325 managerial workers in Nigerian firm are surveyed through structured questionnaire. Variables used for this study were job stress, job performance, and organizational commitment. A negative linear relationship between job stress and job performance was found. Very limited evidence is seen for curvilinear or no association.
WHAT IS JOB STRESS?
Researchers cannot agree on a single definition for stress due to its complex nature (Kahn and Boysiere, 1992). However, early stress researcher, Selye (1976), sees stress as a primarily physiological reaction to certain threatening environmental events. Hence, from Selye’s perspective,
Impact of Job Stress on Office Management
250 job stress or worker stress would simply refer to the stress caused by events in the work environment.
Beehr and Newman (1978) also define job stress as a condition arising from the interaction of people and their jobs and characterized by changes within the people that force them to deviate from their normal functioning. Some stress researchers (e.g. Golembiewski, Munzenrider and Stewenson, 1986; Sharahan and Mortimer, 1996), distinguish between negative stress, termed ‘distress’ and positive stress, termed ‘eustress’. Eustress refers to the healthy, positive, constructive outcome of stressful events and the stress response. Eustress is the stress experience that activates and motivates people to achieve their goals and succeed in their life’s challenges. What this means is that people need some stress to survive and that is why Selye (1976) views stress as the spice of life, and the absence of stress, death.
Negative stress i.e. distress is the one that adversely affects employees’ (including managers’) mental and physical health and, in turn, their performance, and this aspect of stress was the focus of this paper.
STRESS AND PERFORMANCE: POSSIBLE RELATIONSHIP FRAMEWORK
Although much of the research on the relationship between stress and functioning focuses on the negative performance effects of stress, not all stress is bad. In fact, Selye (1956) emphasizes that stress is a necessary part of life and that it does not always involve negative consequences for the organism involved. In fact, at certain moderate levels, stress can actually improve individual performance. There is substantial research supporting the concept of “good stress”. Yerkes and Dodson (1908) were the first to “stumble” upon the inverted-U relationship between stress and performance. Their work focused on the effects of stress on the learning response of rats. Using three trials with low, moderate, and high levels of stimulus, the authors found a weak but curvilinear relationship, with performance on the task improving as the stressor stimulus reached a moderate level and decreasing as stimulus strength increased beyond this point.
Research since Yerkes and Dodson has supported the inverted-U relationship between stress and performance. Scott (1966) found that individual performance increases with stress and resulting arousal to an optimal point and then decreases as stress and stimulation increase beyond this optimum.
Furthermore, Srivastava and Krishna (1991) found evidence than an inverted-U relationship does exist for job performance in the industrial context. Selye (1975) and McGrath (1976) also suggest an inverted-U relationship between stress and performance. Finally, research on arousal theory supports the inverted-U hypothesis, assuming that external stressors produce a stress response that is similar physiologically to arousal. Sanders (1983) and Gaillard and Steyvers (1989) find that performance is optimal when arousal is at moderate levels. When arousal is either too high or too low, performance declines.
There are many critics of the inverted-U hypothesis who argue that the relationship between stress and performance does not have a U-shape. One alternative model is a negative linear relationship. For example, Jamal (1985) argues that stress at any level reduces task performance by draining an individual’s energy, concentration, and time. Vroom (1964) offers a similar explanation, suggesting that physiological response caused by stressors impair performance. Some psychologists 251 Salami, A.O, OjokNigeriau, R.M and Ilesanmi, O.A even suggest a linear positive relationship between stress and performance. For example, Meglino
(1977) argues that at low levels of stress, challenge is absent and performance is poor. Optimal performance in his model comes at the highest level of stress. There have been some studies in support of this hypothesis, including Arsenault and Dolan (1983) and Hatton et al. (1995). Despite the empirical evidence supporting these alternative theories, the inverted-U hypothesis is still the most intuitively appealing and the most used explanation for how stress and performance are related (Muse, et al, 2003).
Sources of Job Stress
Generally, job stress can arise from either the environment of work i.e. organizational or situational stress, or from the characteristics of the workers themselves i.e. dispositional stress (Riggio, 2003).
Some sources of organizational stress include:
- Work-related factors – these can come in form of work overload when the job requires excessive speed, output or concentration, or underutilization, which may occur when workers feel that their knowledge, skills or energy are not being fully utilized, or when jobs are boring and monotonous (Melamed, et al, 1995).
- Job or role ambiguity is also a potential source of job stress and this occurs when job or task requirements are not clearly outlined or when workers are unsure of their responsibilities and duties (Beehr, 1985, Jackson and Schuler, 1985).
Role conflict can also be a source of stress. When a worker has to play different roles simultaneously at work or when his role at work conflicts with his family roles, then role conflict occurs and this can cause stress (Greenhause and Beutell, 1985).
- Organizational Structural Factors – these include physical conditions in the work environment ranging from noise, heat, poor lighting etc. Other structural factors such as staff rules and regulations, poor reward systems, lack of freedom or even lack of clear career path, may all bring about (Ogundele, 2005).
- Interpersonal Stress – this often results from difficulties in developing and maintaining relationships with other people such as supervisors, peers, or even subordinates in the organization. Organizational politics and struggles over power can also be important sources of stress in the workplace (Ferris, et al, 1994).
- Organizational change – a stable work environment is generally comforting and reassuring to workers hence the occurrence of major changes in the organization tend to cause stress. Some common change situations that may lead to job stress include company wide re- organizations, mergers or acquisitions, changes in company policy, managerial and personnel changes and so on (Marks and Mirvis, 1998; Judge et al, 1999; Wanberg and Banas, 2000).
- Dispositional Stressors
These are stressors arising from the individual characteristics of the workers themselves. One of such is the Type A personality or Type A Behavioural pattern which research has shown is characterized by excessive drive and competitiveness, a sense of urgency, impatience and underlying hostility (Friedman and Rosenman, 1974; Rosenman, 1978). Workers with this personality type have been found to experience or report higher stress than other personality types, e.g. Type B, under the same workload (Kirmeyer, 1988; Payne et al. 1988).
Impact of Job Stress on Managers’ Performance 252
EFFECTS OF JOB STRESS
According to Luthans (1989), stress experience by individuals has negative consequences for them, their families, and for the organizations they serve.
Consequences for the Individual
The impact of distress on individuals has subjective, cognitive, physiological, behavioural, and health facets to it. The subjective or intrapersonal effects of stress are feelings of anxiety, boredom, apathy, nervousness, depression, fatigue, anger, irritability and sometimes aggressive behaviours on the part of individual experiencing the stress. The cognitive effects include poor concentration, short attention span, mental blocks, and inability to make decisions. The physiological effects can be seen in increased heart and pulse rate, high blood pressure, dryness of throat, and excessive sweating. The behavioural consequences are manifest in such things as accident proneness, drinking, excessive eating, smoking, nervous laughter, impulsive behaviours, depressions, and withdrawal behavours. The manifest health effects could be stomach disorders, asthma, eczema, and other psychosomatic disorders. In addition, the mental health, i.e the ability to function effectively in one’s daily life, will also decline as excessive stress is experienced.
Consequence for the Family
Distress, which is handled by individuals in dysfunctional ways, such as resorting to drinking or withdrawal behaviours, will have an adverse effect on their home life. Spouse abuse, child abuse, alienation from family members, and even divorce could result from dysfunctional coping mechanisms. Stressors in the steadily increasing member of dual-career families, where both spouses pursue careers which demand a lot of personal commitment from them (both to their jobs and to the family), are varied in nature. The stresses experienced by the couple stem from role overload since both partners have to manage their careers as well as help the family run on an even keel. Additional stresses are experienced while handling the personal, social, and cultural dilemmas of balancing work and family, discharging parental responsibilities, handling competition at the workplace and within the family, being an involved member of the extended family etc (Nwarch, 1991).
Consequences to the Organization
The organizational effects of employee stress are many. The adverse consequences include: low performance and productivity, high rates of absenteeism and turnover, lost customers because of poor worker attitudes, increased alienation of the worker from the job, and even destructive and aggressive behaviours resulting in strikes and sabotage. The stresses experienced by employees who take on critical roles and are responsible for public safety can sometimes be detrimental to the well being of the constituents served. For instance, the stresses experienced by a pharmacist, nurse, medical doctor, or that of an airline pilot, navigator, or air traffic controller, can result in several hundred lost lives.
Needless to say that the costs of employee stress to the organization in terms of lost profits, declining assets, bad image projection, poor reputation, and loss of future business are enormous.
MANAGEMENT OF JOB STRESS
According to Holt (1990), effective management of job stress can only be achieved under two conditions. First, the individual worker must be able to recognize stressors and understand their consequences and second, organizations must develop stress prevention, as well as stress reduction techniques. At the individual level some coping strategies include the following:
- Setting realistic deadlines – Achieving results with adequate challenges is important but work overloading must be avoided.
- Refusing to take on too much work than it is possible to achieve within a stipulated time. 253 Salami, A.O, OjokNigeriau, R.M and Ilesanmi, O.A
- Avoiding maladaptive reactions e.g. resorting to drugs or alcohol as a form of escape from stressful situations.
- Problems must not be allowed to fester – once a stressful situation arises, it must be resolved.
- Exercise properly – a healthy person is better able to cope physically and psychologically when distressful situations arise, hence the individual should engage in controlled exercise that fits his physique.
- Maintaining a proper diet – this is essential to good health and helps to avoid many of the gastrointestinal problems associated with stress.
- Relaxing and decompressing – the mind and body must have periodic rest to adjust to normally.
Hence workers, especially managers should endeavour to use their break periods effectively.
At the organizational level, Khanka (2000), Riggio (2003) and Cole (2002) outlined some proactive measures which management can adopt to manage stress as follows:
- Setting clear objectives – this helps to minimize job and role ambiguity.
- Conducting stress audit – this is an effective proactive action to combat stress especially among executives. It involves an attempt by the organization to study, explore, and control various types of stress which the individual executives may experience in the course of performing their roles.
iii. Improving person – job fit – by maximizing person job fit through careful screening, selection and placement of employees, organizations can alleviate a great deal of stress.
- Eliminating punitive management – by eliminating policies that are perceived to be threatening or punitive, a major source of stress will be removed. It is important that the organization develops a culture in which attitudes towards employees are positive where there is respect for employees’ skills, knowledge and contribution and where mistakes are seen as learning opportunities rather than grounds for criticisms.
Providing a supportive, team – oriented work environment. The more organizations can foster good interpersonal relationships among co-workers and an integrated highly functioning team, the more likely that workers will be able to provide support for one another in times of stress.
Increasing employees’ sense of control through programmes such as job enrichment, participative decision making, and delegation of authority all help to increase employees’ sense of control over their jobs and the work environment. This goes a long way to reduce job stress.
Improving communication – proper organizational communication can prevent workers from job experiencing stress that can arise from job uncertainty and feelings of isolation from what is going on in the organization.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
From this paper, it can be concluded that stress is normal to human existence. A totally stress free state is death. The science of stress management therefore is to keep stress to a stimulatory level that is healthy and manageable.
To be effective, organizational members must recognize when to increase and when to decrease stress. They key to constructively managing stress is to first recognize its energizing or destructive effects. Managers can encourage productive stress. They can help employees build challenge into their work and assume incremental responsibility and autonomy over time.
Business owners and top level management can also help managers cope with dysfunctional stress in the following ways: helping them secure treatment at work for the symptoms of stress e.g. through counseling and organizing stress-reduction workshops, encouraging stress-reduction activities such as exercise; diet, relaxation, or psychological support. Finally, organizations can change or remove the stressors by redesigning jobs to reduce role conflict, role overload, role ambiguity, or conversely, boredom. They can also change organizational policies to give individuals more control over their work activities.
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