The effects of stress on the performance of employees

This research project is basically about stress in organizations. The purpose of the research was to determine some causes of stress, the effect stress has on the productivity of workers in a particular organization and how it can be managed. These were achieved through the use of questionnaires and structured interview schedules. The research highlights more on what stress is, the common types of stress and how it can be reduced or managed. It was revealed that, stressful working conditions are actually associated with increased absenteeism, tardiness, and intentions by workers to quit their job – all of which have a negative effect on the output of workers or individuals in an organization. Some recommendations were given on how to reduce worker stress and job dissatisfaction which included; Addressing work related stressors, such as inadequate work space, unreasonable work load, lack of readily available resources, inadequate and unsafe equipment, Improved communications –reduce uncertainty about career development and future employment prospects and also jobs should be designed to provide meaning, stimulation, and opportunities for workers to use their skills.

1.1 Background of the Study
This report dwells on the need to understand the importance of recognizing stress as a major factor impeding the efficiency and mental equilibrium of individuals in an organization. This is achieved by listing out the causes and negative effects of excessive stress of individuals in organizations. Finally, it gives out the practical easy to use techniques to combat or manage stress effectively in one’s life in general and at the workplace.

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Stress is a question of maladaptive personal lifestyles and poor “person-environment fits”. (Neal, Singer, Schwarz And Schwarz, 1982). According to International Labour Organization [ILO] (1992), stress is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope. Stress occurs in a wide range of work circumstances but is often made worse when employees or individuals feel they have little support from superiors or supervisors and colleagues and where they have little control over work or how they can cope with its demands and pressures. In fact it’s good and healthy in many situations but excess of stress is harmful and dangerous. The positive face of stress can help people determine ways to make the workplace healthier and a source of greater fulfillment for individuals (Kugelmann 1992). Stress is mainly categorized into acute (your body’s immediate reaction to a threat) and chronic stress (stress over a prolonged time period). Everyone suffers from stress in varied stages and its cause can be anything that varies person to person. Consequences of stress are both individual (behavioural, psychological, medical) and organizational (job performance, turnover, absenteeism, etc.). Stress management techniques mainly involve changes in thinking, behaviour, and lifestyle. Individuals and organizations should design and use their stress management strategies to cope with the fast paced modern world, healthily and actively. The bottom line is that, there is the need for one to ignore negative thoughts and emphasize on positive thinking.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
Stress occurs whenever one must adapt to change. Stress is a real factor in a person’s life, but it is not just an objective condition. This study is to determine and analyze the effect of stress on the productivity of workers in an organization and seek to advance ways of managing it at the workplace.

1.3 Objectives of the Study
Understand workplace stress.
To study various factors causing stress
To know the consequences/effects of the stress and how to overcome or manage it in the workplace

1.4 Research Questions
The study explores the following questions:
What is the meaning of stress and its comprehension?
What are the factors causing stress in the organization?
What are the effects of stress and how can it is managed?

1.5 Significance of the Study
The study proposes to evaluate stress level of employees who are currently pursuing in organization. Most of us are aware that employee stress is an increasing problem in organizations. We hear about postal workers killing coworker and supervisors and then we learn job related tensions were a major cause. Friends tells us they are stressed out from greater workloads and having to work longer hours because of downsizing at their company. We read surveys where employees complain about the stress created in trying to balance work and family responsibilities. In the modern competitive world of industry, trade finance, banking management and information where changes are taking place, tension stalks every individual. Business and executive life becomes a never-ending race against time, technology and target; this rate race creates tension, which leads to dissatisfaction and frustration. Eventually it manifests itself as psychological, physiological stress, mental and emotional drain.

1.6 Scope of the Study
This study shall explore issues on the causes of stress among workers in an organization and how it can be managed. The study shall only be limited to employees in the administrative and operational areas of unilever Ghana ltd.

1.7 Organization of the Study
The study is organized as follows:
Chapter one will include background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, significance and scope of the study. Chapter two will constitute literature review in relation to the study; it focuses on the theoretical framework of the study. Among some of the issues which will be discussed includes the in-depth meaning of stress, how it comes about and its management. Chapter three will capture research methodology which describes the research design, the study of the population, sample and sampling procedures, the research instrument, pilot testing, the sources of data, data collection procedure and the data analysis procedure

Literature review is an essential task done in order to acquaint the researcher with the available knowledge in the area of the interest. Literature review is a part of the entire research process and it makes valuable contributions to every step of the research. Reviewed literature for the study is aimed at bringing focus to the research problem, broaden knowledge and also improve methodology. 2.1 Stress

Stress is the number one problem for working people, many of whom are juggling work, home, and the care of children and often times aging parents. The stress faced by workers is substantial. For many professionals, it is intrinsic to the job itself, where competing demands and pressure cannot be escaped. The sheer volume of work can also be overwhelming at times. Stress can develop into a living nightmare of running faster and faster to stay in the same place, feeling undervalued, and feeling unable to say ‘no’ to any demand but not working productively. Job stress poses a threat to the health of workers and in turn, to the health of organizations. Job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Stress can lead to poor health and even injury. These are any situations in the workplace that leave a feeling of depression, anxiety, or pressure. They are commonly categorized as: overwork, ambiguity, workplace conflicts and responsibility. One way to minimize the stressors is to know your limitations and set realistic goals. To properly perform a job function, a certain amount of stress is required. Beneficial stressors are motivation, energy, alertness, and a positive attitude. The concept of job stress is often confused with challenge, but these concepts are not the same.

2.2 Types of Stress
Dr. Karl Albrecht, a management consultant and conference speaker based in California published his model of the four common types of stress in his 1979 book, “stress and the Manager.” These are: Time stress

Anticipatory stress
Situational stress
Encounter stress
1. Time Stress
One experiences time stress when you worry about time, or the lack thereof. You worry about the number of things that you have to do, and you fear that you’ll fail to achieve something important. You might feel trapped, unhappy, or even hopeless. 2. Anticipatory stress

This describes stress that you experience concerning the future. Sometimes this stress can be focused on a specific event, such as an upcoming presentation that you are going to give. However, anticipatory stress can also be vague and undefined, such as an overall sense of dread about the
future, or worry that “something will go wrong.” 3. Situational Stress

You experience situational stress when you are in a scary situation that you have no control over. This could be an emergency. More commonly however, it is a situation that involves conflict, or a loss of status or acceptance in the eyes of your group. For instance, getting laid off or making a major mistake in front of your team are examples of events that can cause situational stress.

4. Encounter Stress
Encounter stress revolves around people. You experience encounter stress when you worry about interacting with a certain person or group of people – you may not like them, or you might think that they are unpredictable. Encounter stress can also occur if your role involves a lot of personal interactions with customers or clients, especially if those groups are in distress. While everyone experiences different physical and emotional symptoms of stress, it’s important to understand how you respond to each one. When you can recognize the type of stress you are experiencing, you can take steps to manage it more effectively.

2.3 Stress, Health and Productivity
Some employers assume that stressful working conditions are a necessary evil – that companies must turn up the pressure on workers and set aside health concerns to remain productive and profitable. But studies show that stressful working conditions are actually associated with increased absenteeism, tardiness, and intentions by workers to quit their job – all of which have a negative effect on the bottom line. The national institute for occupational safety and health (NIOSH) research has identified organizational characteristics associated with both healthy, low stress work and high levels of productivity. Examples include: Recognition of employees for good work performance

Opportunities for career development
An organizational culture that values the individual worker; and Management actions consistent with organizational values.

Some general methods that have successfully reduced worker stress and job dissatisfaction include: Address work related stressors, such as inadequate work space, unreasonable work load, lack of readily available resources, inadequate and unsafe equipment. Establish stress management programs.

Provide more flexibility and worker participation in scheduling. Improve communications –reduce uncertainty about career development and future employment prospects. Design jobs to provide meaning, stimulation, and opportunities for workers to use their skills.

3.1 Introduction
According to Dawson (2002), Kothari (1985) and Kumar (2005), research involves finding answers to questions which implies the processes to be used within a framework or set of philosophies, methods and techniques tested for validity and reliability, and designed to be unbiased. It is the theory of how research should be undertaken including the theoretical and philosophical assumptions upon which research is based and the implications of these for the method or methods adopted. (Saunders et al, 2007). According to kumekpor (2002), methodology relates to the procedures, techniques, ideas and thought processes that the researchers used in carrying out this study in order to achieve intended objectives. The methodology used for the study include the research design, population of the study, sample and sampling procedure, sources of data, research instrument, pilot testing, data collection procedure and data analysis procedure.

3.2 Research Design
The study is a descriptive one. It attempts to describe the identified problem or situation and provides additional ways of dealing with the problem. The study is partly quantitative in that research processes such as objectives, design, sample and the questions are predetermined.

3.3 Population of the Study
The population of the study can be defined as the group of individual, objects or items from which samples will or are taken for measurement (Sparta 2003). Staffs at the administrative and operational levels of unilever Ghana ltd will be used as the population for the study. The total number of staffs will be approximately 400. 3.4 Sample and Sampling Procedures

The sample is a segment of the identified population of the study to represent the population as a whole. To determine the number of respondents that will be asked to participate and give information regarding the study, convenience sampling will be used. Convenience sampling means to collect or interview individuals who actually experience the phenomenon.

3.5 Research Instrument
A combination of questionnaires and interviews will be used to gather the primary data.

3.6 Data Collection
Primary and secondary sources of data would be used for the study. The primary data will be collected through the use of questionnaires and in-depth interviews. Secondary data will be obtained through; Internal Sources – These are within the organization. If available, internal secondary data may be obtained with less time, effort and money than the external secondary data. In addition, they may also be more pertinent to the situation at hand since they are from within the organization. Example is internal experts. These are people who are heading the various departments. They can give an idea of how a particular thing is working

3.7Data Analysis
In analyzing the collected data, the method to be used for data analysis and presentation is through the use of data presentation on table analysis of figures and graphs.

Neal, Singer, Schwarz and Schwarz, (1982), “Stress Management in Work
Settings”. Kugelmann (1992), “Stress: The nature and history of engineered grief”. Sabine Sonnentag (2002), “Psychological Management of Individual Performance”. Baum, Revenson & Singer (2001), Handbook of Health Psychology, 2nd Edition – Routledge Ann Edworthy (2000), Managing stress.

Stephen Williams, Lesley Cooper (2002), Managing Workplace Stress: A Best Practice Blueprint

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The effects of stress on the performance of employees. (2016, Aug 17). Retrieved from