The Relationship between Psychosocial Work Environment and Stress
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.0 Background of Study
This study aims to analyse the relationship between psychosocial work environment and the employee’s stress in the education industry. Although stress can be caused by several factors but psychosocial work environment are perceived as the most important factors. The phenomenon of the psychosocial work environment and its constituents have been described in several different ways and often include a multitude of aspects, such as organisational climate and culture, work demands, work control, leadership empowerment and support, and co-worker support and collaboration (Lindström, K, 1995). Furthermore, in the range of education industry, the focus of this research are secondary school teachers in Melaka State. The main reason this industry was chosen is because education is a very vital element to build up a person’s value, behaviour, attitude and personality.
Nowadays, employees either work in private sectors or public sectors are facing a lot of stress in their jobs because they are expected to do multiple jobs. When they are required to perform multiple jobs they will face a lot of stress. According to Hanna, T., & Mona, E. (2014), a poor work environment, has been found to create stress and burnout.
However, among all the professions, teachers are the one which report highest level of stress if compare with other occupation (McCarthy, 2009). Teachers have the responsibility to educate students become a good citizen and have to transfer their knowledge and information to students. According to the previous study done by Shirley and Kathy (2002) and Kyriacou (1989) their studies proved that teaching is a stressful job. The reason that leads to the increasing stress among all the teachers are role overload, increasing number of students, work overload and increase of the class size (Billehoj, 2007).
Moreover, according to Abdul (2005), he refers that teachers in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor areas are the most stressful teachers if compare with teacher in other states. Every week, all the teachers in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor will spend 74 hours in teaching and supervise students in curriculum activities. Nevertheless, due to the demand from parents towards teachers is increasing and the job requirement of Malaysia’s Ministry of Education towards teachers become higher, thus, it makes the stress level in teachers also become higher.
Psychosocial work environment can lead to teachers to high level of stress. Perceived stress is used to measure the degree to which situations in an individual’s life are appraised as stressful (PSS; Cohen et al., 1983; Cohen and Williamson, 1988). This is an important reason to measure the level stress of teachers toward their job because it will affect their job performance.
Stress bring effects in the educational industry because in “ETUCE-Occupational Health and Safety-European Trade Union Committee for Education” report(2011) had mentioned that, stress is one of the most significant hazards of working in the education sector. The increasing workload on teachers, the role overload, the increased class size per teacher and an increasing number of students behaving in an unacceptable way are some of the scenario found out in several European countries as leading to a rise in stress-related illnesses. Student is the one who will become a future leader in our country. In short, shaping students to become a knowledgeable and useful person, the country will have improvement in every aspect and become more prosperity.
However, during this few decades, the suicide rate in Malaysia keeps on increasing. According to our Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that the rate of suicide from 2007 to 2010 was 1.3 of every 100,000 people and he anticipates that it would be higher for the following year (Sipalan, 2012). Most of the reason that people commit suicide is due to stress or depression. When there has overloaded stress face by a person and he or she is not able to cope with it, thus, individual will commit suicide in order to solve everything (Ramis, 2013).
Stress can be defined as a phenomenon comprising all of those three aspects, involving a subjective view of psychological stress and emphasizing interplay in the environment and within the person (Lazarus, 2006). However, according to (Lazarus, 2006), the definition of stress have concentrated on three different aspects: the stressor or the stimulus, the response or the reaction caused by the stressor, and a transactional or relational focus.
1.1 Problem Statement
According to the Lam Thye(2018), 29% Malaysians have mental problems due to stress. It shown that depression will be a major mental health illness among Malaysians by 2020 as more people are expected to experience increased stress due to work and family pressure. Besides that, according to Kamalanathan(2018), teachers under ‘extreme stress’ need counselling. There are 450,000 teachers in Malaysia and there are some troubled teachers suffering from depression and stress. Therefore, about 200 teachers underwent counselling, including 2% who were instructed to do so. This issue has caused an incident occurs where a Year Two pupil sustained a head injury after being hit by a wooden chair thrown by a teacher at a school (The Star ONLINE, 2017). In short, it has been show that Malaysians stress is getting increases during recent year.
Teacher is playing important role in education industry because they transfer intellectual and knowledge to the student. Teachers are able to affect the teaching learning outcomes positively or negatively. This is because they are the person who affect the quality of education and determine the quality of instructional delivery. Therefore, teachers play a critical role in solving the issue improving students’ performance.
Stress usually found in human service professionals which including teachers. Teaching is considered as one of the ‘high stress’ professions (Kyriacou, 2001). According to president of National Union of The Teaching Profession (NUTP), Ismail Nihat claimed that level of stress among teachers in Malaysia keep increasing and become worrying because of teachers’ workload increase which result from too many changes that they need to face (Sapidin, 2005). According to Wann-Hansson, C. (2011), there are a signi?cant correlations between the psychosocial work environment variables of role clarity and organizational climate and perceived stress.
However, there are no specific studies concerning the level of stress among employees in education industry that can be found in the literature review. Therefore, this study will focus on determining the relationship between the psychosocial work environment and stress among teachers in Malaysia education industry.
1.2 Research Questions
For this study, the following research questions were addressed:
1) What is the relationship between the empowering leadership and stress?
2) What is the relationship between the role clarity and stress?
3) What is the relationship between the support from supervisors and stress?
4) What is the relationship between the control at work and stress?
5) What is the relationship between the organisational climate and stress?
1.3 Research Objectives
This study was designed to address the objectives that follow:
1) To study the relationship between the empowering leadership and stress.
2) To examine the relationship between the role clarity and stress.
3) To explore the relationship between the support from supervisors and stress.
4) To determine the relationship between the control at work and stress.
5) To analyse the relationship between the organisational climate and stress.
1.4 Scope and Significance of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to provide more understanding to the psychosocial work environment and stress of the teaching profession. The target industry will look into the government higher secondary schools teachers in Melaka State.
Several media reports have indicated that teachers in Malaysia are facing high stress level and job demands. According to the news reported by National Union of the Teaching Profession of Malaysia (“Teachers under huge”, 2012), teachers in Malaysia are facing huge pressure to deliver in classes. Teachers are reportedly facing insomnia and stress and this had led to serious distraction and unable to focus in daily lives. It was also reported that young teachers nowadays are suffering from serious burnout and many had diagnosed with serious illnesses such as cancer and heart diseases (“NUTP links illness”, 2006). This study will be able to provide some statistics of the current teachers’ stress level in Ipoh.
This research will study the relationship between psychosocial work environment and stress. The relationship among these components of independent variables must be identified to seek for way to lower the level of stress. Stress can be caused by many factors, psychosocial wok environment should be considered as an important elements as these will affect the emotions and mentality of individuals. This research will highlights a new insight into psychosocial work environment and stress together. Furthermore, it will also presents some psychosocial work environment issue among teachers in schools and help them to lower the level of stress.
It is significant to have high level of stress among teachers. Stress has been cited as a major factor in teachers’ decisions to leave teaching. Cotanch (1984) pointed out “that job dissatisfaction and burnout probably have contributed to high rates of teacher absenteeism and turnover as well as to increased student apathy, negativism, and misbehaviour, others are affected with lethargy, cynicism and despair”. They are not merely educators, but also served as role model to the younger generations. Job stress has an impact on employee’s turnover intentions (Xu, T., Wu, T. J., ; Li, Q. Q., 2018).
This research will analysis education industry and focus on teachers. Education has always been among the top priorities of policies development and international cooperation. Besides being the universal right, education has been perceived as the major factor of economic run (Aiglepierre ; Wagner, 2013).
This research will be able to provide some tips in enhancing performance of teachers through the study of psychosocial work environment and stress among teachers.
1.5 Definition of the Key Terms
For consistency of interpretation, the following terms were defined:
Key Term Definition Sources
Psychosocial Work Environment A compound system that includes the work, the workers, and the environment. Lindstrom et al(1995)
Empowering Leadership Research on leadership has concentrated strongly on leaders’ face-to-face influence on the lower levels of an organization. Hunt(1991)
Role Clarity It was involved in how the work role was understood by the staff, whether the staff perceived they had clear goals for the work they were to perform, and whether the staff knew what was expected from them.
Gibb, J., Cameron, I. M., Hamilton, R., Murphy, E., & Naji, S.(2010)
Support from superiors The exchange of resources between at least two individuals perceived by the provider or the recipient to enhance the well-being of the recipient. Westlander(1993)
Control at Work The External Demands and Restrictions factor addresses outer circumstances that influence a person’s work and lead to a troubled conscience. Glasberg, A. L., Eriksson, S., ; Norberg, A. (2007)
Organisational Climate It assesses perceived levels of encouragement, support, rewards, relaxing and comforting climate, and communication within the organisation and among co-workers. Hanna, T., ; Mona, E. (2014)
Stress A phenomenon comprising all of those three aspects, involving a subjective view of psychological stress and emphasizing interplay in the environment and within the person. Lazarus(2006)
1.6 Organisation of Research
This research consists of five chapter, which are introduction, literature review, methodology, results and discussion, conclusion and recommendations.
Chapter 1: Introduction
This chapter presents an overview of the whole study, problem statement, research question, research objectives, scope and significance of the study, definition of key terms, organisation of research and summary.
Chapter 2: Literature review
In this chapter show the current literature that are related to this study which includes psychosocial work environment and stress. Furthermore, show relevant theoretical frameworks and models. Next, develop conceptual framework which to show the relationship between these variables in this study.
Chapter 3: Methodology
This chapter outlines how the research is carried out, producers involved I data collection and how samples are designed and how analysed data collection. It highlights the data gathering process.
The purpose and the research topic will be stated and explain in this chapter. It outcomes the objective of this study is to examine the relationship between psychosocial work environment and stress. Furthermore, problem statement that included in this research is important to study. The problem statement stated that 29% Malaysians have mental problems due to stress and this expected to experience increased by 2020 because of family and work pressure. By the research questions, research objectives, scope and significance of study, and definition of key terms, the readers will have a better understanding and the basic theory of this topic.
In following chapter, the established journals articles which are related with this topic will be study and analysis. In that chapter, the topic will examine in more details and further explain about it.
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