In 1990s, the restructuring of organizations and the trend of downsizing and rightsizing further engraved the situation for IT professionals with a fear of losing their jobs (Glass, 1997). Various studies in Japan were conducted to measure the stress among software programmers, and the studies concluded that programmers’ stress was not only common but more problematic to the organizations (Glass, 1997).
2.1What is Stress?
Stress is defined as ‘the pattern of emotional states and physiological reactions occurring in response to demand from within or outside an organization’ (Greenberg & Baron, 2003; Singh, 2003). A stressor, on the other hand, is considered to be ‘a condition or situation that elicits a negative response such as anger, frustration, anxiety or tension’ (Rajeswari & Anantharaman, 2003). Workplace stress is quite common and can be measured through different sources. Workload, time pressure, role ambiguity, role conflict, career progress and communication are considered as major sources of pressure in the life of an Information System professional (Ivanchevich, Napier and Wetherbe, 1983). Pressure ultimately causes the stress that leads to different types of strain and finally hampers the performance of the employees. Stress, not just affects the efficiency of the employees, but also causes ailment and other physical or emotional problems as well (Singh, 2003).
2.2Stress in Different Occupations
There is a belief that some occupations are sources of greater stress than others. However, it would be unwise to attribute stress, and its fatal consequences like employee burnout, health issues etc. only to professionals and executive groups (McKenna, 2002). There is a view that occupational stress is more likely to be found among blue-collar and routine white-collar workers because often they work to meet the difficult deadlines or the heavy burden of work does not give them time to relieve the pressure (Fletcher, Gowler and Payne, 1979). A survey of senior managers in 112 financial organizations conducted in 1986 in London, showed that 64% identified stress as their main health concern and worst affected were accountants and building society managers. Those who worked in the city identified ‘too much work’ as the biggest single factor in causing stress. Other causes mentioned were long hours, competition, pressure to perform, over-promotion, conflict between work and private life, and job insecurity (McKenna, 2002). The most frequently mentioned symptom of stress was deterioration in the employee’s performance. Other symptoms identified were irritability, absenteeism, problems with making decisions, difficulties with drinking and depression (McKenna, 2002). A report by the UK Health and Safety Executive (Cox and Ferguson, 1994) calls into the problem of stress at work, as well as advocating training for employees. The report identifies excessive periods of repetitive work, lack of management support, and over demanding work schedules as contributory causes of stress. Additional factors were low pay, poor relationship with management, lack of variety, job insecurity, and conflicting demands of work and home.
Journal of Independent Studies and Research (MSSE)