Imapct factor(SJIF): 6.56
What Causes Stress among Academic Administrators: An Empirical Investigation
Dr. Seema Malik, Assistant Professor,
Department of Commerce
Bhaghat Phool Singh Mahila Vishwavidyalya, Khanpur Kalan.
Phone No.: 9466087757
What Causes Stress among Academic Administrators: An Empirical Investigation
Purpose : The administrators like principals, head of the departments, deans & chairpersons play a very important role in achieving educational objectives in their respective educational institutions. This paper makes an empirical investigation about the major causes of stress for the administrators and presents the overall level of stress.
Design/Methodology/Approach : A sample of 200 administrators was taken and different statements regarding causes of stress were asked. Factor analysis was applied to these statements to extract the main factor contributing to stress so that most important factors will be identified in order to make the effective strategies to cope up stress.
Findings: The study revealed that the factor Role conflicts & Role ambiguity is the main stressor contributing more towards overall stress. Staff related problems are the second dimension contributing to the stress level. Work overload is considered as 3rd stressor while High self expectations and poor working conditions are ranked as 4th & 5th stressor. The overall stress level is 3.762 which indicated that administrators are having high level of stress on their positions.
Paper type : Research Paper
Key words : Stress, Administrators, Work, Conflict.
A common misunderstanding among those who are not in academics is that working in the academic environment is relatively stress free burnout. Administrators in academics would seem to be experiencing the same pressure that is experienced by other peoples in other profession or business where they have to be efficient and productive.
Gmelch (1977) believed that educational leader in today’s world faces more change, more conflict and more pressure than in any other earlier decade in the 20th century. It was earlier supported by Toffler (1970) who rightly said that stress may be tolerable and even thought-provoking, but often administrators experience extreme strains on their mental and physical well-being as they deal with the social and technological changes while interacting with students, parents, and colleagues.
Beehr & Glazer (2001) discussed the situations when stress occurs. He said that Job stress exists because of stressors such as work demands, constraints, events or conditions cause strains and leads to poor health. Scott (2006) described the work place stressor which includes role overload, high stress times with no down times, big consequences for small failures, lack of personal control, lack of recognition and poor leadership. So, job stresses sometimes occurs when the requirements of the job are not in accordance with the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. However, some thinkers believe that differences in individual characteristics personality and managing style are most important and helpful in predicting whether certain job conditions will result in stress or not. So, it can be said that one thing which is stressful for one person may or may not be a problem for another.
Development in conceptual framework:
Giammatteo & Giammatteo (1980) pointed out that it is not necessary that stress is caused by some particular events but it can occur because of one's assignment of worth to the events that create stress. Miller (1979) concluded that stress is either self-imposed or occurs from a combination of situational factors. Self-imposed stress arises within the individual. On the other hand, situational stress originates from values conflict, as well as from the factors which are beyond control such as governmental requirements, organizational policies, inadequate salaries, and decreased job status. Wilson's (1962) identify the primary attitudes and habits that distinguished high tension principals and low tension principals. The major distinction between the two groups was related more to administrative attitudes, opinions, and perceptions than the personal health and living habits. High tension principals indicated they worked too hard, tackled excessive job demands, experienced feelings of insecurity and emotional strain. Vetter (1976) discussed that the principals experience job tension as a result of role pressure. Psychological stress, including lower job satisfaction and dysfunctional behaviour, often occurs when principals experience either role conflict (where differences exist among groups regarding appropriate role) or role overload (where an administrator recognizes there is not enough time and energy to do what is expected) or role competence (where a leader realises the lack of sufficient expertise to meet particular demands).
Vanderpool (1981) reported that trying to find the proper balance between the need to make quick decisions and the need to gather participation from those affected by the decision can produce stress and job tension. In today's educational environments the position of school leaders’ change from a unilateral decision making to actively working with subordinates to reach decisions. In a major stress study, Koff, Laffey, Olson, and Cichon (1979-80) determined the degree of stress associated with the management of elementary and secondary schools and revealed that the factors contributing to high level of tension were forced resignations, unsatisfactory performance, preparation for a strike, refusal of teachers to follow policies, threat to job security or status, and threat to physical security. The results of factor analysis showed that administrative events linked with administrator-teacher conflict were the most stressful.
Jaiyeoba, A.O., & Jibril, M.A. (2008) found that lack of autonomy in execution of responsibilities & problems in curriculum implementation are the major contributors to stress for academic administrators. In another study it is also argued by Olayiwola, S. (2008) that workload is a big stressor. In support of this Boyland, L. (2011) also reported that the majority of principals stated that the difficulty of “task overload” (having too many tasks to accomplish in a given amount of time) gives them the most job stress. The same results were also favoured by Shields, M. (2012) who conducted a study in which heavy workload was considered to be the most severe stressor by the majority of the principals in the study. At the same time Igharo, K.O.(2012) observed that 48.3% of the respondents (secondary school administrators in the Gambia) stated that their workload is heavy; while 39.6% agreed that their workload was just okay, only 2.1% stated they have light workload, but none indicated too light workload. Notably, 8.6% ascertained that they have too heavy workload.
Ngari, S.M., & Ndungu, A., & Mwonya, R., & Ngumi, O., & Mumiukha, C., Chepchieng, M. & Kariuki, M. (2013) also considered work overload as a major factor contributing high level of occupational stress. Stress becomes greater when work overload and pressure involves responsibility for people rather than responsibility for things like products. Majority of the principals reported that they often experience stress due to workload. Mbibi, U., & Oluchi, F. (2013) also considered that the excess work load as the main factor which creates stress. Owusu, G. A., & Tawiah, M.A. (2014) concluded that Organisational work has changed over the last few decades. This change occurs because of globalisation where there are high rates of mergers, acquisitions, increasing economic interdependence among countries, technological development, and restructuring. These changes in organisational work have resulted in excessive work demand is the cause of stress. Tawiah, M.A. (2014) also found that uncontrollable demand on their time & the negative impact of the amount of time that the job required on their personal lives is a source of stress.
After discussing the extensive review of literature, it is necessary to summarise the factors contributing stress. These factors are listed in table I given below:
Table I: Factors (contributing to stress) extracted from the Review of Literature
So, it is revealed that 16 major stressor are identified on the basis of existing review of literature. It is further revealed that Work attributes (Work overload and Difficulty of work) and Role conflict/Role ambiguity are the main factors which are studied in review of literature most of the time being followed by High Self expectations and staff related problems.
Objectives of the Study
After discussing the extensive review of literature on factors contributing to stress, this paper makes an attempt to bring empirical evidence of the factors that cause stress for the academic administrators. This would help the researchers in further empirical studies to find and confirm the major contributors of stress in their research work. The main objectives of the study are:
· To study the sources of job stress that affects the work performance of administrators.
· To study the level of stress caused by academic administrators job.
In the present study, questionnaire method was used for data collection. The target population comprised of administrators from National Capital Region (NCR) as administrators from different educational institutions of India assimilate in NCR region for one reason or the other. A sample of 200 administrators will be selected by random sampling method. Out of these 200 administrators, there were 81 Principals, 34 Assistant Principals, 76 Dean/ Chairperson, 9 Others etc. from both Government & Private Institutions like Schools, Colleges, and Universities.
The questionnaire was divided into two sections, i.e. Section I comprised of personal information of gender, age, education qualifications, occupation etc. Whereas section II comprised of around 25 statement related to various sources of stress measured on 5 Point Likert’s scale where 1 stood for strongly disagree, 2 for disagree, 3 for neutral , 4 for agree, 5 for strongly agree. The questionnaire was developed with the help of the statements used in earlier studies.
Analysis and interpretations
Reliability is the stability of the measurement; or the extent to which an instrument measures the same way each time it is used under the same condition with the same subject. In the present study Cronbach’s alpha (α) is used to measure the reliability of data. Cronbach (1951) gave a measure to that which is loosely equivalent to splitting data in two in every possible way and computing the correlation coefficient for each split. The average of these values is equivalent to Cronbach’s alpha (α) which is the most common measure of scale reliability. For a measure to be acceptable, coefficient alpha should be above 0.7 (Nunnally, 1978). Values substantially lower indicate an unreliable scale. The overall reliability of total statements of awareness is presented in Table No. II.
Table II: Reliability Statistics
It is important to note that coefficient alpha was computed separately for all the dimensions identified on the basis of factor analysis. This is presented in Table No. IV.
Exploratory Factor Analysis
In order to draw the results from the statement describing various sources of stress factor analysis is applied. Factor analysis is a data reduction technique used to reduce a large number of variables to a few meaningful manageable factors. Before proceeding further, there is a need to assess the appropriateness of factor analysis. For this, sample adequacy need to be examined. This can be done through Kaiser- Meyer-Olkin (KMO) statistic. Following table III shows the results of Kaiser-Mayer-Olkin (KMO) measures of sampling Adequacy of the data.
Table III: KMO and Bartlett's Test
So, from the above table it is concluded that our sample adequacy is .765, lies in good categories which is (0.7- 0.8) Bartlett’s measure tests the null hypotheses that the original correlation matrix is an identity matrix means the relationship between the variables is not significant. Here, this null hypothesis is rejected at 5 per cent level of significance Therefore; there is some relationship between the variables to include in the analysis. After checking the appropriateness of the factor analysis, the following table provides the SPSS output i.e. factor loadings and reliability statistics of data A factor loading is the correlation between a variable and a factor that has been extracted from the data.
Table IV: (Factor Loading and Reliability)
The variables in the respective category were independently subjected to Principle component analysis (PCA) with varimax rotation using. The items having factor loadings less than 0.5 were removed (Hair et al., 1995). Finally, five dimensions/factors comprising twenty-five items were extracted and all of them have the Eigen value greater than 1. Along with this, the communalities derived from the factor analysis were reviewed. These were all comparatively large (greater than 0.5), suggesting that the data set is suitable (Stewart, 1981).
The reliability of five dimensions gets confirmed from the above table since the reliability coefficients are higher than the standard minimum of 0.70 in each dimension. But here we check the combined reliability of role conflicts / role ambiguity (.677) which is a little bit less from the main standard. But all other factors are highly reliable and it is reflected in the overall composite reliability of the variables which is higher than the minimum limit of 0.7 that is 0.771 (Table No. II)
In order to achieve the first objective regarding various sources of job stress that impacts the work performance of administrators; descriptive statistics was used. Frequencies, Percentages, and Mean value of the sources of stress for all the factors were computed. It is shown in the Table No. V.
Table V: Frequencies, Percentages, and Mean value of the sources of stress
Frequencies & percentages were used to analyze the data. These are presented in Table given above in the form of frequencies, percentages, and mean value of the sources of stress among academic administrators. There are total 25 stressors which are divided into five categories/factors. These are 1) Workload, 2) Role conflict and role ambiguity, 3) High self expectations; 4) Staff related problems, 5) Poor working conditions. These stressors are identified from the existing review of literature and factor analysis.
Table V revealed that all the statements under Role conflict and role ambiguity have a mean value near 4 means majority of the respondents are agree that role conflicts creates stress. Ranking of various factors according to the mean calculated above can be presented as follows in Table No. VI:
Table VI: Stress level measured from various factors and overall stress level
It is clear from the above table that among the five dimensions of stress; the factor contributing more towards overall stress is the Role conflicts & Role ambiguity. Staff related problems are the second dimension contributing to the stress level after Role conflicts & Role ambiguity. Work overload is considered as 3rd stressor while High self expectations and poor working conditions are ranked as 4th & 5th stressor. It is clear that all these dimensions are going towards high level of stress. So, this is the reason that overall stress level is 3.762 which indicated that administrators are having high level of stress on their positions.
The higher school, college, university are the organisations which are managed by the principals, head of the departments, deans & chairpersons. These administrators play a very important role in achieving educational objectives in their respective organization. Therefore, great amount of responsibility is placed on the shoulders of these administrators to create an environment favourable for themselves, teachers, students and non teaching staff through their leadership styles and sound affinity. It becomes essential to study administrators’ stress because they perform dual responsibilities as an administrator they are busy in decision making and as a teacher they carry out all the teaching activities. Due to this, administrators face various types of stress like role conflict, workload, time pressure, high self expectations, family pressure, staff related problems, students indiscipline etc as identified by the extensive review of literature.
The results of the present study revealed that among the five dimensions of stress; the factor contributing more towards overall stress is the Role conflicts & Role ambiguity which supported the earlier findings of Andreyko, T.A. (2010), Akın, U. et al (2014), Owusu, G. A. & Tawiah, M. A. (2014) Makhbul, Z. M. (2013) and Katsapis, C. C. A. (2012). Staff related problems are the second dimension contributing to the stress level after Role conflicts & Role ambiguity. The results are in consistent with the findings of (Wisdom, B.L. 1984), Fields, L.J. (2005), Mbibi, U. & Oluchi, F. (2013) and Krzemienski, J. (2012). Work overload is considered as 3rd major stressor and favoured the findings of Peretomode, O.(2012), Owusu, G.A., & Tawiah, M.A. (2014), Boyland, L. (2011) and Shields, M. (2012) while High self expectations (supported Shields, M. (2012) and poor working conditions (supported Cartwright & Cooper, (2002), Makhbul, Z.M. (2013). Jaiyeoba, A.O., & Jibril, M.A. (2008) & Andreyko, T.A. (2010) are ranked as 4th & 5th stressor.
So, it is pertinent to mention that the overall stress level is 3.762 which indicated that administrators are having high level of stress on their positions. This study would be beneficial for the administrators so that proper strategies can be made and implemented regarding the factors responsible for high level of stress and accordingly stress may be reduced.
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