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TOPIC : IMPACT OF JOB STRESS ON EMPLOYEES' PRODUCTIVITY IN THE BANKING SECTOR
(CASE STUDY OF ZENITH BANK PLC.)
OF THE STUDY
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. 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
Stress at work is a relatively new phenomenon of modern
lifestyles. 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
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
OF THE PROBLEM
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).
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
OF THE STUDY
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
1. To examine the nature of job stress in Nigerian Banking
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.
QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES
The research questions that would guide this study are
1. What is the nature of job stress in Nigerian Banking
2. How does job stress impact on employees’ productivity
in Nigerian Banking Sector?
3. What are the factors that cause job stress in Nigerian
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.
That job stress adversely affects the performance of
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
That job stress positively affects the productivity
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.
That there is trade-off between job stress and employees’
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
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
OF THE STUDY
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.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
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.
OF THE STUDY
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.
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and Questionnaire Sample are included
stress management, stress at work, stress in the workplace,
stress and depression, employee productivity, increase
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