1.1. Background to the Study
In this 21st century, the workplace is a fast-paced, dynamic, highly motivating environment that comes with a lot of benefits and opportunities to those who work within it. The dynamic and ever-changing demands of the corporate world leads to an increase level of stress, most particularly for individuals who are always working under pressure in organizations such as banks, hospital or clinic, etc. However, pressure on its own has its positive effect in enhancing performance, but too much pressure can result into stress which has negative effects.
Today, the concept of stress has turned out to be a global phenomenon, which takes place in diverse forms in every organization. In the work life of today, a lot of employees are working for longer hours, as the increasing levels of responsibilities require them to exert themselves even more strenuously to meet increasing expectations about job performance. Stress is a regular element in any type of job and every individual has to face it in practical every aspect of life. The concept of stress has been defined in several ways which are elucidated below. According to Volpe (2015) stress is a dynamic condition in which a person is faced with an opportunity, challenges, or demand related to what he/she desires and for which the outcome is perceived to be both uncertain and important. Thus, stress is an increasing problem in organizations and often causes negative effects on performance.
According to Warraich, Ahmed, Ahmad, and Khoso (2017), stress is defined as the negative psychological and physical reactions that happen in a person due to his or her lack of ability to cope with the demands being made on him or her. That is, tension from extra-ordinary demands on a person. It is however observed that, stress is not essentially bad; but it is an opportunity when it offers potential gain. It becomes aggravated when a person finds out that he or she can exercise little control over it. Owolabi, Owolabi, Olaolorun and Olofin (2015) highlighted the following as the causes of stress, which are not limited to: lack of time management, unclear job descriptions, feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, lack of ability to get things done, poor communication, poor personal relationships, quality and complexity of tasks. Corroborating the above, Dean (2015) identified stress-related illnesses as the major reason for low productivity levels among employees in an organization. An increasing pressure at work leads to stress, which made it the number one factor leading to illness.
Quite a number of empirical studies have shown mixed results in relation to the effect of job stress on employee performance. A number of these recent findings showed that work load, time pressure, role conflict, lack of motivation, role ambiguity, reduction of resources, harassment, and many other factors affect employee performance (Health Security Executive (HSE), 2015). Highest incidence of work related health issues on an average has accounted for about 23days of lost per individual. Productivity dropped as a result of the stress level and it mainly affect industries such as the defense, teaching, public administration and even social care accounting for 9.9 million days of medical or sick leaves from 2014-2015, (HSE, 2016). Job stress and employee performance should be recognized, as a collective issue with huge effects on the overall welfare of the employees, the organization, society and the economy of the country as whole (ILO, 2016).
Across Europe and America, the concept of performance has been confirmed to have a significant influence on both young and olds (Choi, 2017; Kumar & Bhukar, 2017); In Asia, stress was confirmed to have a significant influence on young individuals, poor, and old (Nanandumur & Gowthami, 2017). Studies conducted in Africa by Muthoni (2015) confirmed that, individuals were faced with a growing challenge of stress due to the nature of job demands and other factors like work load or pressure, lack of finance, role conflict, relationship failure, etc. In a similar study by Mwakughu (2016) among medical employees confirmed that in excess of 70percents of employees experienced stress in the course of carrying out their duties, which implied that, stress had negative impact on their performance.
Work load has turn out to be a serious issue among many organizations these days. Yet, only a small number of studies have dedicated their study on the impact of work load (Bamba, 2016) and findings revealed that work load resulted in leading to high efficiency costs due to being led significantly on high rejection rates of offers (Chigozie, 2017). Ayaz, Alamgir and Khan (2017) and Bamba (2016) revealed that with work load or pressure it has undeniable affected the attitude of employees towards risk. In addition, it increases the physiological stress of employees which ultimately would increase in risk taking (Daniel, 2019) and prevent employees from strategic thinking. Thus, an employee ability to cope relies on his or her personality and lifestyle externally.
In Nigeria, Orogbu, Onyeiugbe and Chukwuemeka (2017) claimed that an individual plays an integral role in an organization and as well as the family, for that reason, balancing role conflict in work and family is an imperative concept which is of great importance to both public and private organizations. Therefore, the employee ability to achieve satisfaction between work and other activities is an important factor in determining the performance of an employee at the workplace. In addition, organization policies on work life balance are key ingredients for the efficient and success of an organization that relies on its employees for the attainment and accomplishment of organizational goals (Uddin et al., 2018).
Aisha (2015) opined that the work environment in which employees are surrounded plays an important role in influencing their satisfaction and convenience and eventually their job performance. Similarly, Taylor and Vest (2015) stated that the quality of the workplace environment impacts on employees’ job performance. However, a KPMG survey (2015) observed that employees in the insurance industry have made the point that working in insurance companies is stressful with a high output demanded from employees and a lot of times long hours of shifts well beyond the stipulated working hours also demanded of them without any overtime payment. According to Ajala (2016) this has affected the job performance of employees in insurance companies.
Employee performance refers to an employee accomplishment of something or mere working effectiveness. In an organization, performance is realized at the levels of organization, process and individuals and the interrelationships among these will define the vantage points of the organization. Employee performance is seen as a key factor that contributes significantly to an organization performance. In this contemporary corporate world, with growing competition in the business arena, organizations are dedicated to enhance employee performance so as to improve organization profitability, market reach and brand recognition.
Based on the above, there is barely any inclusive study focusing on stress on employee performance in the education sector. Thus, this study seeks to bridge this gap in knowledge by examining the effect of stress on employee performance in Babcock University, Ogun State.
1.2. Statement of the Problems
The issue of stress among organizations has been hovering for a lot of years. However in recent time, there has been a wide range of studies conducted on stress among employees generally. Stress is not always negative or harmful and indeed, the absence of stress is death (Arbabisarjou, Ajdari, Omeidi, & Jalalinejad, 2016). Luthans (1989) affirmed that at some point in human lives, we all need some degree of stress to function normally. From his perspective, mild stress level may not be entirely bad for employees as a means of improving their job performance. However, empirical studies conducted on the rate of stress among Nigerian workers by Ajayi (2018) and Asika and Ade-Serrano (2015) have revealed that regular high stress level coupled with other factors (such as socio-political and economic) has contributed to the drop in performance and productivity of the Nigerian workers (Ajayi, 2018). Aside from the severe national economic effects of such declining performance and productivity, job stress as well poses serious health problems (Ajayi, 2018).
The present turbulent business environment in Nigeria requires employees and organizations to reexamine their practices. For instance, banking is a very stressful job with long working hours, severe competition, ethical issues, regulatory bottlenecks and troublesome customers. Shahriari, Mehdi, Pirhossein and Jamshid (2015) opined that individuals in human service profession like banking are regularly required to spend extensive time engaging with other people and when customers’ problems are not solved instantly, the situation may turn out to be more uncertain and frustrating.
Another study on the existence of stress in the service sector by Akingunola and Adigun (2015) showed the existence of stress causing factors in the service sector with higher level of stress found among the executive than the non-executive. The issue of stress among employees could be better solved if only the factors leading to stress were properly identified and assessed. The question of how stress affects employees’ performance is a significant one given the nature of contemporary and competitive corporate world and the challenges faced by employees in Nigeria.
Quite a lot of studies have been carried out to examine the effect of stress on employee performance in Nigeria, however, as far as the researcher know, there is no work done on the effect of stress on employee performance in the educational sector, using Babcock University. This is a gap this study seeks to fill by examining the effect of stress on employee performance in Babcock University.
1.3. Objective of the Study
The main objective is to assess the effect of stress on employees’ performance in Babcock University. In order to achieve the main objective, the following specific objectives are:
- To assess the effect of work load on employees effectiveness
- To examine the effect of working environment on employees efficiency
1.4. Research Questions
The following research questions are poised for the study.
- What is the effect of work load on employees’ effectiveness?
- How does working environment affect employees’ efficiency?
1.5. Research Hypotheses
The research hypotheses for this study are formulated in their null form.
- Ho1: Work load has no significant effect on employees’ effectiveness
- Ho2: Working environment has no significant effect on employees efficiency
1.6. Operationalization of the Variables
The dependent variable is employees’ performance, represented by Employee Effectiveness (EEF), Employee Efficiency (EE), Job Output (JO) and Employee Performance (EP). On the other hand, stress, being the independent variable, is proxied by Work Load (WL), Working Environment (WE), Domestic Challenges (DC), and Stress (ST).
Where Y= Dependent variable
X= Independent variable
X = f(x1, x2, x3, x4)
x1= Work Load (WL)
x2= Working Environment (WE)
x3= Domestic Challenges (DC)
x4= Stress (ST)
Y= Employees’ Performance
Y= f(y1, y2, y3, y4)
y1 = Employee Effectiveness (EEF)
y2 = Employee Efficiency (EE)
y3 = Job Output (JO)
y4 = Employee Performance (EP)
The four specific objectives are operationally expressed as:
To determine the effect of work load on employees effectiveness.
Y1 = f (x1)
Y1 = b0 + b1x1 + u
To investigate how working environment affect employees efficiency
Y2 = f (x2)
Y2 = b0 + b1x2 + u
To examine the effect of domestic challenges on job output
Y3 = f (x3)
Y3 = b0 + b1x3 + u
To find out the effect of stress on employee performance
Y4 = f (x4)
Y4 = b0 + b1x4 + u
1.7. Scope of the Study
The study is limited to the effect of stress on employee performance in Babcock University, Ogun State. The unit of analysis of the study is the entire employees (academic and non-academic) of Babcock University, Ogun State at Junior, Middle, Senior, and Management level positions. The population is given as 1,500, while a sample of 315 was selected from the study using the Yamane formula. The simple random sampling technique will be adopted to administer the questionnaire, in order to ensure that both male and female employees have equal chance of being selected for the study, while data gathered will be analyzed using the regression and ANOVA analysis. The geographical location for this study is Babcock University, Ogun State, Nigeria. The time frame for the study is employees working in Babcock for a period of 5years and above (2015 till date).
1.8. Significance of the Study
The outcome of this study is important to management as they cannot ignore the influence of stress in attaining academic or organizational goals. The goal of every organization is to achieve optimum result, and this can however be achieved when the employees work and add value to the organization at their best. In addition, it will help management in designing and putting in place together welfare incentives for the workforce in order to spur employees towards job satisfaction.
This study will as well be significant to industry in the sense that it will help provide knowledge in adjusting or modifying the factors leading to stress so as to improve the performance of the employees as well as that of the organization. In addition, it will help industry management to have a structured and policy in place that will be of benefit to both organization and employees going forward.
The study is important to the government since they have the capacity to formulate policies and guidelines that will be of positive interest to employees.
The findings will be of significance to University authorities as it will provide them with enough information that can be used to respond to the issue of stress as it concerns staffs. In addition, the information gathered will enable University authorities set up a center for guidance and counseling and the need to create awareness for both students and staffers experiencing stress to visit for counseling and further assistance.
The findings will be of benefits to the society at large in order to identify the factors leading to stress and how best to manage these factors. In addition, it will enlighten the general society on the reason to give employee welfare a priority since they are the driver of an organization to goal accomplishment.
1.9. Definition of Operational Terms
Conflict: refers to the factors that lead to job conflict with personal life which affects the performance of an employee (Chandra, 2017).
Employee Effectiveness: refers to the degree to which an employee achieved desired results in line with organizational goals and objectives (Yesufu, 2016).
Employee Efficiency: refers to an employee 'doing the right things or occupying oneself with the right things towards task accomplishment (Sheehan, 2015).
Employee Performance: refers to the accomplishment of a given task by an employee which is measured against preset known standard of accuracy, completeness, cost and speed, (Dessler, 2015).
Job Output: refers to the work carried out by employees using equipment over a certain unit of time (Sheehan, 2015)
Stress: refers to the various stressors or events that affect the performance of employees in Babcock University such as work load, work demands, working environment and conflict (Sohail, 2017)
Stressors: are demands made by both internal and external environments affecting the physical and psychological wellbeing of an individual (Mwakoghu, 2016).
Working Environment: refers to the conditions or situations (such as, physical aspects, legal rights, job hours, etc) that surrounds the environment where employees operates (Kotler, 2016)
Work Load: refers to when an employee is faced with loads of jobs to carry out within a given time frame (Bravendam, 2014).