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Stress and Its Influence Employees’ Well-Being

The notion of well-being

Contemporary life requires people to worry about quite a lit of things. Questions of increasing globalization, rational approach to operations in any organization, terrorism became an integral part of everyone’s life as well as taking care about our parents, children, and relatives, health maintaining or work approval. The present-day tempo of life obliges people to have a lot of energy for quick thinking, working, changing according to new conditions and getting used to them. It is obvious that such state of affairs provokes psychological stress.

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Here arises a question: how may stress influence people’s well-being, especially employees’ one? Thus, our task is to explore this problem using empirical evidence and other previous researches to give the answer as absolute as possible.

Before discussing this problem, we should outline the notion of well-being at the working place and its components.

The notion of well-being at work can be influenced therefore by the psychological work conditions set by the leaders of the organization guided by the psychological system of the country. The psychological work condition factors recognizable in the individual are shown through the four components given below:

  1. Job support: Job resources, encouragement, social support, career opportunities and job security (both organizational and peer support).
  2. Job demand: Workload, performance demand, task requirements, mental burden, human contestability and emotional and social changes.
  3. Job control: Structure of workflow, autonomy, handling work assignments, and learning and feedback.
  4. Job environment: Positive working environment, understand their role in the organization, management of organizational change (Kanji, 2009, p.566).

Analysis of empirical evidence

Thus, we pointed out the definition of well-being at work and learned properly its components. However, in spite of all positive sides that can be found in well-being maintaining scheme not all of those directions are put into practice by employers. As a result, employees experience stress.

The word “stress” is derived from the Latin word stringere meaning to draw light. In common parlance, stress is considered to mean things like hardship, strains, adversity, affliction, force, pressure, strong effects, etc. Nowadays stress is defined as a pressure on the personal system, or environment of an individual and demands on the energy system of a person (Kanji, 2009, p. 564).

As Stranks points out, “according to the Health and safety Executive, workplace stress is now the fastest growing cause of absence from work” (Stranks , 2005, p. IX).

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As Lu highlights “the literature on occupational stress indicates that the understanding has evolved from simple stressor strain models to more sophisticated frameworks” (Lu, 1999, p.61).The current empirical evidence contains several approaches of investigation. We are going to consider several of them.

A research depicted by Daniels (1994) is devoted to investigation the links between employees’ stress and their well-being. The hypothesis implied the revealing of some stress factors at the working place and the nature of such stress premises was predicted to be altered.

Two thousand five hundreds of people working at the several organizations received special questionnaires. There were questions about stress factors, social support, locus of control and other points of well-being scheme mentioned above. The questioning was held two times with time interval of one month. The results of the experiment were more than expected. The regression in such indices as GHQ, pleasure, depression-enthusiasm, anxiety-contentment, task autonomy, participation, social support, stressors, WLCS was observed. As Daniels points out, “the results of both analyses support the hypothesis” (Daniels, 1994, p.1536).

The results also indicated: a) a consistent main effect of stressors upon psychological well-being; b) a consistent main effect of work locus of control upon psychological well-being; c) a main effect of social support upon psychological well-being; d) a floor effect, whereby an external locus of control and little autonomy/social support is associated with poor well-being, regardless of the levels of stressors (Daniels, 1994, p.1537).

The strength of this experiment consists in revealing the stressing factors at the working place. The questionnaires allowed to figure out the main points in situation “stress-well-being”. Its weakness is that it did not resolve the question posed in the hypothesis: how to eliminate or to eradicate stressful factors in organizations?

Another empirical experiment is described by Lu presents a cross-sectional survey. Six hundreds of working people were divided into two groups and questioned. Questions covered such points as demographic information, work stress, work motivation, social support, job satisfaction, and mental health. The employees were of different sexes, age, level of education, marital status, occupied positions. The results were following.

Scores of demand and interpersonal conflicts negatively correlated with ratings of colleagues’ support; interpersonal conflicts correlated positively with anxiety. Measures of stress did not correlate with either motivation or satisfaction. Social support positively correlated with satisfaction, but only support from families correlated negatively with satisfaction. Finally, within constructs of work stress, work motivation, social support, mental health and job satisfaction, multiple indicators all had reasonably high correlations (Lu, 1999, p.67)

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The strength of this method is that it revealed stressful factors at work and correlated them in order to see if they influence each other and how this influence results in the work quality. The weakness is that this research included people of different sexes, age, level of education, marital status, occupied positions. Thus, it did not show, where the stress is the biggest: in a group of men or women, married people or single ones, etc.

The third empirical evidence we are going to examine is depicted by Jamal (1999, p.153-158). It is also devoted to the investigation of links between job stress and employees’ well-being. The author of the experiment had three hypotheses: indicators of job stress would be similar in Canada as well as in Pakistan, “job stress would be negatively related to intrinsic motivation and job involvement in both countries” (Jamal, 1999, p.154), the turnover of both countries would positively affect job stress in both countries.

The procedure of investigation was the similar to the previous mentioned experiments: structured questionnaires were given to teachers of both countries. Such factors as job stress, burn out, intrinsic motivation, job involvement, and turnover intention were taken into account. The results were the following.

Job stress was significantly positively correlated with overall burnout, thus clearly supporting hypothesis 1. Job stress was found to be significantly negatively correlated with intrinsic motivation, thus partially supporting hypothesis 2. Job stress was also found to be significantly positively correlated with turnover intention, thus supporting hypothesis 3 (Jamal, 1999, p.156).

The strength of this method is that it the research was based on the hypothesis posed in the beginning of investigation. Thus, it proved or disproved mentioned points of the hypothesis. The weakness is that this research investigated only small part of working people: teachers and did not take into account employees of other organizations of two chosen countries.

Conclusion

In conclusion I would like to agree with the opinion of Kanji who noticed that “work well-being is defined as the long-term effects of the favourable job setting in which managers value and consider the feelings and well-being of their staff” (Kanji, 2009, p. 570).

Considering the empirical evidence in question, I would like to mention that in spite of their various questionnaires and people from different sides of the planet, all of them are aimed to examine and to prove the link between job stress and employees’ well-being. As we see according to the results of experiments, such link does exist. Only the proportions vary in some way. The most important thing is that they are a tool to reveal existing problems in the organizations that even do not suspect them to have. Tool that accelerates the problem resolving.

Reference List

Daniels, K. et al. (1994). Occupational Stress, Social Support, Job Control, and Psychological Well-Being. Human Relations, 1523-1544.

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Jamal, M. (1999). Job stress and Employee well-Being: a Cross-Cultural Empirical Study. Stress Medicine, 15, 153-158.

Kanji, G.K. et al. (2009). Psychological System for Work Well-being: on Measuring work stress by Casual pathway. Total quality Management, 20(5), 563-580.

Lu, L. (1999). Work Motivation, Job Stress and Employees’ Well-being. Journal of Applied Management Studies, 8(1), 61-72.

Stranks, J.W. (2005). Stress as Work: Management and Prevention. London: Butterworth-Heinemann.

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