The workplace of the 21st century is a fast-paced, dynamic, highly stimulating environment which brings a large number of benefits and opportunities to those who work within it. The ever-changing demands of the working world can increase levels of stress, especially for those who are consistently working under pressure such as bank workers, medical workers etc. Whilst pressure has its positive side in raising performance, if such pressure becomes excessive it can lead to stress which has negative consequences (Issa et al. 2009; Al-khasawneh and Futa, 2013; Santiago, 2003).

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary 6th Edition, stress could among other things, refer to pressure, tension or worries arising from problematic situations in an individual’s life. Where the incidence of such stress is traceable to a job or work situation, it is known as job stress (Narayanan et al 1999). As Narayanan et al (1999) further observe, job stress could in fact be identified with almost any aspect of a job or work situation such as extremes of heat, noise and light, or too much or too little responsibility etc. Dhankar (2015) found that there is high degree of occupational stress amongst the private and public sector bank employees in India due to long working hours, role conflict and political pressure. According to Irene (2005) job stress “… is a pattern of reactions that occurs when workers are presented with work demands that are not matched to their knowledge, skills or abilities, and which challenge their ability to cope”. It is evident from this Irene’s definition that job stress is mostly associated with under-employment. Ratnawat and Jha (2014) describe stress as a psychological and physical state that results when the resources of the individual are not sufficient to cope with the demands and pressures of the situation Amudha, et al (2015) describe stress as the physiological or psychological imbalance among individuals when they find a disparity between a situational demand and their ability.

Stress at work is a relatively new phenomenon of modern lifestyles (Alam et al, 2015). According to Beheshtifar and Nazarian (2013), it is an unavoidable consequence of modern living. The nature of work has gone through drastic changes over the last century and it is still changing at whirlwind speed. They have touched almost all professions, starting from an artist to a surgeon, or a commercial pilot to a sales executive. With change comes stress, inevitably. In most cases, job stress is attributable to negative situations such as a formal reprimand by one’s superior for poor performance. Beheshtifar and Nazarian (2013) submit that stress is much more common in employees at lower levels of workplace hierarchies because they have less control over their work situation. However, pleasant circumstances could also bring about job stress, such as job promotion and transfer to another location. Job stress has attracted considerable attention in recent times especially within the context or organisational behaviour (Kazmi et al 2008; Shahu and Gole 2008; Nilufar et. al. 2009)

Most research findings suggest that when an individual comes under stress, his cognitive performance and decision-making may be adversely affected. Kazmi et al (2008) investigated the effect of job stress on job performance and found that there is a negative relationship between job stress and job performance. Shahu and Gole (2008) inquired if there was any relationship between job performance, job satisfaction and job stress and found that higher stress levels are related to lower performance. Sabir and Helge (2003) note that the major changes that have been implemented in the financial sector have caused major negative effects on workers’ working and personal lives. Santiago (2003) examined the negative effects of internal stress on police performance and found that the negative stress that often results from organisational settings through poor management can be debilitating.

There is evidence to suggest that there are ways in which an organisation can help to reduce instances of job stress, or better manage the issue when it arises. In order to reduce or avoid job stress, Fako (2010) points to the importance of role clarity, a reasonable workload, the need for employees to maintain a healthy diet, and the need to avoid regularly putting in extra hours at work. Effective people management, good two-way communication between employers and employees, suitable working environments and effective work organisation are just some of the factors which can have an impact (Mbadou and Mbohwa, 2013). However, there is the need to examine critically, the nature and effect of job stress in Nigerian Banking Sector before suggesting ways by which the management could deal with it. This is the main thrust of this study.

For most people, work is a significant and meaningful feature of life with the majority of them spending around 25% of their adult lives working. While work can provide people with structure, purpose, satisfaction, self-esteem and spending power, the workplace can also be a setting of stress and worry.

According to Jungwee (2007), there is no single cause of job stress. While stress can be triggered by sudden, unexpected pressures, it is often the result of a combination of stressful factors which accumulate over time. Some people can become so used to the symptoms of excessive stress that it goes unnoticed to their detriment. Most job stress is related to management of work, relationships at work, organisational setup and whether you feel you have power and control in your work. The experience of stress is different for every person (Jungwee, 2007). Some people are affected more than others, so what is stressful for one person may not be stressful for another. It can depend on your personality type and on how you have learned to respond to pressure (Fako, 2010). Zafar et al (2015) opine that stress can be positive (Eustress) or negative (Distress). According to them Eustress results can be stimulating that enhances work performance and positively encourages workers to make efforts while Distress results in negative effects over worker’s health and performance.

Stress is not always negative or harmful and indeed, the absence of stress is death (Arbabisarjou, et al., 2013). Luthans (1989) asserts that we all need some degree of stress to function normally. Thus, in his opinion, mild levels of stress may not be completely bad for employees as a means of enhancing their job performance. However, empirical studies carried out on the incidence of stress among Nigerian workers by Olugbile (1982); Asika and Ade-Serrano (1985) and Akinnusi (1995) have shown that consistently high levels of stress in conjunction with other socio-political and economic factors has contributed to the declining performance and productivity of the Nigerian workers (Nwaroh 1991). Apart from the grave national economic consequences of such declining performance and productivity, job stress also poses serious health problems (Cox, et. al. 1996).

The current turbulent Nigerian business environment requires workers and organizations to reexamine their practices. Banking is an inherently stressful profession with long working hours, stive competition, ethical dilemmas, regulatory bottlenecks and difficult customers. Sharma, et al. (2010) opine that people in human service profession, such as banking, are often required to spend considerable time in intense involvement with other people and when customers’ problems are not solved immediately, the situation may become more ambiguous and frustrating. An empirical study of the existence of stress in the Nigerian Banking Industry by Akingunola and Adigun (2010) confirms the existence of stressors in the Nigerian banking sub-sector with higher level of stress found among the executive than the none-executive. The issue of job stress among Nigerian bank workers could be better addressed if the factors responsible for such stress were properly identified and evaluated. The question of how job stress affects workers’ performance is a relevant one given the nature of today’s banking environment and the challenges faced by Nigerian workers.

Individuals are well adapted to cope with short-term exposure to pressure - in fact this can often be positive - but there will be greater difficulty in coping with prolonged intensive pressure. A key point to recognise is that individuals will react differently to pressure in different situations and at different stages in their working lives. Based on the foregoing, it is worthwhile to conduct a research of this nature to reveal specific facts about job stress in Nigerian working environment.
The specific objectives of the study can be stated as follows:
1. To examine the nature of job stress in Nigerian Banking Sector.
2. To investigate the effect of job stress on employees’ performance in Nigerian Banking Sector.
3. To identify the factors that are responsible for job stress in Nigerian Banking Sector.
4. To ascertain the strategies for dealing with job stress among Nigerian workers.

The research questions that would guide this study are stated below:
1. What is the nature of job stress in Nigerian Banking Sector?
2. How does job stress impact on employees’ productivity in Nigerian Banking Sector?
3. What are the factors that cause job stress in Nigerian Banking Sector?
4. What strategies could be adopted by banks’ management to deal with job stress among their workers?

Three hypotheses are proposed to explain the relationship between job stress and employees’ performance. The first hypothesis suggests that job stress and employees’ performance have a negative relationship. Stress is viewed as dysfunctional to both individuals and organizations. Individuals faced with job stress spend time coping or engaging in undesirable activities such as sabotage or wasting time.

Hypothesis I

That job stress adversely affects the performance of employees.

The second hypothesis suggests that job stress and employees’ productivity have a positive relationship. At low levels of stress, individuals do not face any challenge and thus, are unlikely to improve performance. At moderate levels of stress, individuals experience some amount of challenge and average performance is likely to occur. In contrast, high levels of stress result in both optimal challenge and performance.

Hypothesis II
That job stress positively affects the productivity of employees.

The third hypothesis suggests an inverted U-shaped relationship between job stress and employees’ performance. At low levels of stress, individuals are not activated or aroused enough for high performance. Similarly, at high levels of stress, individuals expend their energy coping with stresses rather than directing efforts towards enhancement of performance. Thus, performance is high when a moderate amount of stress is present. Under conditions of moderate stress, individuals are not only activated to perform, but devote substantial energy towards performance enhancement rather than coping with stresses.

Hypothesis III
That there is trade-off between job stress and employees’ performance.

Both descriptive and explanatory research methodologies shall be adopted in this project. This is because job stress, which is the main concept in the project, cannot be quantified nor captured by a single research method. A project of this nature requires a wide collection of opinions on the subject matter and one of the ways of achieving this is through administration of questionnaires. As such, self-administered standardised questionnaire shall be used to gather all relevant information on the subject matter.

The questionnaire to be administered for this study shall be the abbreviated version of Karasek’s Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ). Twelve items in the JCQ shall be used to measure job control, psychological demands, job insecurity, physical exertion and workplace social support. Each item on the standardized questionnaire shall be scored using a five-point Likert scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

The respondents shall cut across different departments of Zenith Bank Plc. It also cuts across all the levels of organizational hierarchy to include senior and junior staffs. All these people shall be included in order to have a representation of all shades of opinions. The data that would be gathered through the questionnaire would be analysed using both the direct and reverse scoring techniques.

In addition to the administration of questionnaires, a semi-interview shall be conducted among selected staff of Zenith Bank Plc. This will allow for an in-depth inquiry thereby providing the opportunity to gather more information which can not be collected through the questionnaire.

The desire of every employer is optimum productivity. This can only be achieved when the employees work at their best. But one major factor that has been identified in the literature to affect the performance of employees is job stress. Therefore, the employers and/or management cannot ignore the influence of job stress in attaining the organizational set goals.
The focus of this study is to understand how job stress affects workers’ productivity and also to identify the factors that are responsible for job stress. With that knowledge it may be possible to “adjust” these factors in order to improve the performance of the employees as well as that of the organization.

The application of the findings of this study is mainly for the design and implementation of the most effective strategies for dealing with job stress in Nigerian Banking Sector. However, it is hoped that the key ideas can be transported to any workplace wishing to increase or enhance workers’ productivity.

This study is an attempt to provide employers and employees with a framework of measures which will identify and prevent problems of job stress and help to manage them when they do arise. Although stress is associated with a number of factors, the scope of this study will be limited to only work-related stress. Furthermore, the impact of job stress on the productivity of employees would be investigated empirically. This will help to put to rest the controversy surrounding the likely effect of job stress on workers’ performance.

Job stress is a common phenomenon in every occupation, the focus of this research shall be on the Nigerian Banking Sector with special interest on Zenith Bank Plc. The selection of this sector was purposeful because of the work challenges that workers in the sector face on a daily basis especially in recent times with workforce cutbacks which could have resulted in greater pressures on remaining workforces with increased work overloads or stress (Akingunola and Adigun, 2010).
The research is intended to be elaborate in order to gather diversified opinions on the subject matter and to allow for precision in the identification job related stressors for every individual respondent.

This project shall be divided into five chapters. The first chapter provides the background of the subject matter justifying the need for the study. Chapter two shall present related literature concerning job stress and its impact on workers’ performance. The research methodology shall then be stated in chapter three while data presentation and analysis shall be made in chapter four. Concluding comments in chapter five shall reflect on the summary, conclusion and recommendations based on the findings of the study.

Akingunola, R. O. and Adigun, A. O. (2010) Occupational Stress and The Nigerian Banking Industry. Journal of Economics and Engineering. ISSN: 2078-0346, pp. 14-21.

Akinnusi, M. (1995) Stress among a sample of Bank Executives in Nigeria. Management in Nigeria, April-June, pp.5-15.

Alam Z.; Gouhar, S. and Shafiq, R. (2015) The Impact of Job Stress on Employee's Performance: Investigating the moderating effect of employees motivation. City University Research Journal. 5(1), pp. 120-129.

Al-khasawneh, A. L. and Futa, S. M. (2013) The Relationship between Job Stress and Nurses Performance in the Jordanian Hospitals: A Case Study in King Abdullah the Founder Hospital. Asian Journal of Business Management. 5(2), pp. 267-275.

Amudha, R.; Alamelu, R.; Motha, L. C. S. and Badrinath, V. (2015) Manifestation of Workplace Stressors among Banking Personnel. Research Journal of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology. 10(8), pp. 932-937.

Arbabisarjou, A.; Ajdari, Z.; Omeidi, K. and Jalalinejad, R. (2013) The relationship between Job stress and performance among the hospitals Nurses. World of Sciences Journal. No. 2, pp. 181-188.

Asika, N. and Ade-Serrano, A. (1985) Executive Stress. Nigerian Journal of Management Studies. Vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 558-565.

Beheshtifar, M. and Nazarian, R. (2013) Role of Occupational Stress in organizations. Institute of Interdisciplinary Business Research. 4(9), pp. 648-657.

Cox, T.; Griffiths, A. and Cox, S. (1996) Work-related stress in nursing: Controlling the risk to health. International Labour Office Working paper. No. CONDI/T/WP.4/1996.

Dhankar, S. (2015) Occupational stress in banking sector. International Journal of Applied Research. 1(8), pp. 132-135.

Fako, T. T. (2010) Occupational Stress among University Employees in Botswana. European Journal of Social Sciences. 15(3), pp. 313-326.

Irene, L. D. (2005) “Work-related Stress”. European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.

Issa, B. A.; Yussuf, A. D.; Olanrewaju, G. T. and Oyewole, A. O. (2009) Stress in Residency Training as Perceived by Resident Doctors in a Nigerian University Teaching Hospital. European Journal of Scientific Research. 30(2), pp. 253-259.

Jungwee, P. (2007) Work stress and job performance. Perspectives. December.

Kazmi, R.; Amjad, S. and Khan, D. (2008) Occupational Stress and its effect on Job Performance: A case study of Medical House Officers of District Abbottabad. Journal of Ayub Medical College Abbottabad. Vol. 20, no. 3.

Luthans, F. (1989) Organisational Behaviour 5th edition. New York: McGraw Hill Publishing Company.

Mbadou, A. F. and Mbohwa, C. (2013) The Impact of Work Design and Stress on Employees Productivity at a Call Centre. In: International Conference on Law, Entrepreneurship and Industrial Engineering, April 15-16, Johannesburg (South Africa).

Narayanan, L.; Menon, S. and Spector, P. E. (1999) Stress in the Workplace: A comparison of Gender and Occupation. Journal of Organisational Behaviour. Vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 63-73.

Nilufar, A.; Zaini, A.; David, Y. G. F. and Syed, S. A. (2009) A Study of Job Stress on Job Satisfaction among University Staff in Malaysia: Empirical Study. European Journal of Social Sciences. Vol. 8, no. 1.

Nwaroh, J. U. (1991) Managing for Enhanced Quality Improvement. Management in Nigeria. Vol. 27, No. 4, pp.13-18.

Olugbile, A. O. B. (1982) The Executive and His Health. Management in Nigeria. July, pp. 10-15.

Ratnawat, R. G. and Jha, P. C. (2014) Impact of Job Related Stress on Employee Performance: A Review and Research Agenda. Journal of Business and Management. 16(iss. 11, Ver. 5), pp. 1-6.

Sabir, I. G. and Helge, H. (2003) Violence and stress at work in financial services. International Labour Office Working Paper. No. WP210, October.

Santiago, D. (2003) Cynicism and Job Dissatisfaction Negative Effects of Internal Stress on Police Performance. School of Police Staff and Command, September.

Shahu, R. and Gole, S. V. (2008) Effect of Job Stress and Job Satisfaction on Performance: An Empirical Study. AIMS International Journal of Management. Vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 237-246.

Sharma, A.; Verma, S.; Verma, C. and Malhotra, D. (2010) Stress and Burnout as Predictors of Job Satisfaction amongst Lawyers. European Journal of Social Sciences. 14(3), pp. 348-359.

Zafar, Q; Ali, A.; Hameed, T.; Ilyas, T. and Younas, H. I. (2015) The Influence of Job Stress on Employees Performance in Pakistan. American Journal of Social Science Research. 1(4), pp. 221-225.

Thesis Status
Number of Chapters
Number of Pages
Number of Words
Number of References
Thesis Level
N40,000 - Forty Thousand Naira (Non-Negotiable)
Abstract and Questionnaire Sample are included
How to Pay for this Thesis. . . .CLICK HERE

Keywords: job stress management, stress at work, stress in the workplace, stress and depression, employee productivity, increase employee productivity





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