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Editorial Board A Refereed Monthly International Journal of Management
Prof. B. P. Sharma
(Editor in Chief)
Prof. Mahima Birla
(Additional Editor in Chief)
Dr. Khushbu Agarwal
Ms. Asha Galundia
(Circulation Manager)

 Editorial Team

Dr. Devendra Shrimali
Dr. Dharmesh Motwani

A Critical Review on Occupational Stress Factors Affecting Faculty Members Working in Higher Educational Institutions in India


Alka Shrivastava1, Dr. Narendra Shukla2

1Research Scholar, University Institute of Management (UIM), RDVV, Jabalpur (M.P.),

2Professor & Head, Department of MBA, Gyan Ganga Institute of Technology & Sciences and

Dean, faculty of Management, RDVV, Jabalpur (M.P.)






The research in the area of stress in general and occupational stress in particular is wide and varied. Historically, working in higher educational institutions has generally been considered relatively stress-free and highly satisfying. However, fast growing global education industry has affected educational processes in India with the same pace. There is increasing demand in various academic and non-academic activities from faculty members working in higher educational institutions in India, which is leading to rise in occupational stress among them.


The aim of this paper is to present a critical review of the existing literature on occupational stress of teaching faculty of different streams of higher educational institutions in India and explores its findings to identify the stressors and develop new insights for further research in this direction. 30 research resources including research papers, thesis and books have been selected for the review and their findings are presented in a comparative tabular format for the clarity. The common stressors are discussed critically. Recognizing that the job of teaching in higher education is no longer a “low stressful occupation”, occupational stress management should be taken as a primary strategic and operational concern for successful outcomes.


Keywords:Occupational Stress, Stressors, Stress Management



1. Introduction


In highly dynamic and global competitive work environment, occupational stress is experienced in almost all types of work environments. Globalization, technological advancement and complex nature of work have brought new challenges as well as new stressors to employees. Based on survey of the literature on occupational stress, it is found that work related stress and mental fatigue affect the Indian employees at all level to a great extent.


The global education industry has become more complex due to global competition, open market, privatization of higher education and technological advancement. The fast changing work environment forces universities and institutes of higher education to become internationally competitive which leads many challenges to faculty members. These challenges are leading to increase work stress among teaching staff of higher education.


Today there is too much knowledge. The increase in the body of knowledge and advanced ICT has produced an acceleration of working life changes worldwide in education system. Recent studies confirmed that university faculty is among the most stressed occupational group. According to Ravichandran and Rajendran (2007), Stress has become a major dilemma amongst teachers due to quick changes in education system during 1980-1990.


Therefore, it is a major area of interest for educationists/researchers throughout the world to find out the factors affecting stress. In developed countries like in USA, UK, Australia, sufficient research has been done in the area of work stress. A study conducted in USA, observed 26 occupations and furnished that teaching was one of the most stressful occupation (Johnson et al., 2006). There is a shortage of information about academic stress specifically in developing and underdeveloped world. Keeping this in mind, the present paper focuses on occupational stress of faculty members of higher educational institutes in India.


Occupational stress in academia is due to imbalance between job demands and their ability to respond. Ordinarily, academic staff involved in research and teaching activities that need energy and concentration. Academic faculty is under pressure due to heavy workload and other factors related to individual and organizational level. However the level, causes and effects of stress can be diverse for different people even under the same workplace. Hence it is essential to investigate this fact critically. Therefore, this critical literature review analyses and presents these factors in Indian academic context.




Stress has been defined and conceptualized in different ways over the years from various researchers and scholars based on their studies and personal experiences.

Stress: The term stress has been derived from the Latin word "Stringer" which means 'to clutch', 'compress', or 'bind'. In 17th century, this term was referred to mean hardship, strain, adversity or affliction. In 18th and 19th centuries, it was used to mean force, pressure, strain or strong effort with reference to an object or person.

Prof. Hans Selye is known as the father of stress research. Selye’s first definition of stress was “the non-specific neuroendocrine response of the body”. Later on he dropped “neuroendocrine” because he realized that in addition to the involvement of the neuroendocrine system, almost every other organ system (e.g. especially the cardiovascular, pulmonary, and renal systems) is affected in one or several stages of the stress response (in Szabo et al., 2012).

Occupational Stress: According to the current World Health Organization's (WHO) definition, occupational or work-related 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”. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) wrote in 1999, “Work stress as being the harmful and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker”.


Academic Stress: Teaching related stress commonly termed ‘teacher stress’ is defined Kyriacou (in Bakshi Poonam and VeeranKochhar (2012) as the teacher’s experience of “unpleasant, negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, tension, frustration, or depression, resulting from some aspect of their work as a teacher”. Like other forms of occupational stress, it can have serious implications for the healthy functioning of the individual as well as for the organisation in which the individual serves. (Suganthi and Lakshmi, 2013).


Stressors: The factors causing stress in a person are called stressors. The common stressors on employees may generate action from individuals, groups and organizational sources. Individual, group and organizational stressors constitute work stressors.

3. Similar Review Work in Indian Context

In their paper, Gupta et al. (2015) presented an extensive global literature review with special reference to India. The paper identified various common stressors amongst faculty members. It also focused on individual as well as organizational interventions adopted by faculty members to cope with occupational stress.

Pandey and Saxena (2015) critical reviewed the existing literature on occupational stress of a teacher. After reviewing the different studies, the researchers found few similarities in factors responsible for occupational stress in teaching environment in Indian and international scenario i.e. working environment, age factor and job security besides that paid leave role conflicts and technological changes.

Singh Neha (2015) identified role stressors for faculties of higher education in India based on literature review. In their paper, Jadeja and Verma (2016) presented a systematic literature review from various literature and empirical studies to highlight the prevalence of stress in Healthcare, Banking, IT and Education Industry in India and to identify the major sources of stress affecting the employees in these industries.


Bhuin (2016) presented a review of literature on global higher education sector aimed at identifying the nature of occupational stress prevalent in higher education sector in India and abroad. Suganya and Rajkumar (2016) explored the pertinent factors relating to Job Stress among Teachers by reviewing the relevant literatures from the previous studies. The review of studies related to job stress, revealed that stress among teachers are very high level in the present scenario.


4. Search Strategy

A comprehensive literature review was conducted of available literature on occupational stress among faculty of higher education. The literature was searched using the keywords: academic stress, stress in academics, teaching faculty stress, faculty stress, occupational stress, work or job related stress. Papers were limited to only English language. The selection of papers was refined according to inclusion criteria to restrict the retrieved studies related to Indian universities and colleges. Some papers were deleted because they obviously didn’t match the purpose of the study and did not provide any significant statistical analysis. A detailed data extraction was used to reveal relevant information from each paper. The papers, which have been published only in last 10 years, are considered and presented in the following table.


5. Results and Discussions


Table – 1 Different Factors of Occupational Stress in National Scenario

S. No.

Author & Publication Year

Scope of the study

Sample size

Identified Stressors

Key Points


Singh Tripti et al. (2007)

Dual career teacher couples from universities of the north eastern states of India


Both genders with high work-family conflict and work-role stress have lower levels of job satisfaction. Females facing high ‘family roles stress’ experience higher job satisfaction than those facing low ‘family role stress’.

The results indicate that female members face more stress than the male members.




Degree colleges of Dharwad, Karnataka


Work stressors, Role stressors, Personal development stressors, Interpersonal relation stressors, Organizational climate stressor.

Stress affects the efficiency of the individual. So it is necessary to provide proper environment and support to each to maintain individual stress.


NemaGeeta et. al (2010)

Degree Colleges of Indore (M.P.)


Changing job environments, Insecurity of job, Poor salary, Biasness in promotions, Work overload, Role conflict, and Working hours.

The results show that the teachers are unsatisfied with their job due to stress.


Kumar Dhrub and Deo JM (2011)

Bihar and Jharkhand


Role Overload, Working Environment.

Findings revealed that junior college teachers experienced significantly more stress on most of the dimensions of stress as compared to seniors.


Kumar Anita S. (2011)

Management institutes of PUNE


Role Stressors, Personal inadequacy, Resource inadequacy.

To balance both roles (the work role and the family role), the faculty experiences stress.


Bakshi Poonam and VeeranKochhar (2012)

Professional Institutes of Haryana


Work stressors, Role stressors, Personal development and Interpersonal relation.

The result shows that stress is already there in educational institutions but maximum number of faculty members feels low stress.


Aggarwal Ritu (2012)

Panjab University Chandigarh and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar

131 and 112

Role overload, Role insufficiency, Role ambiguity, Role boundary, Responsibilities and Physical environment.

Results show that training workshops on self-efficacy will help the teachers to cope up with stress due to role insufficiency and role ambiguity.


Manvel Raj et al. (2012)

Self-financing Engineering Colleges of Chennai


Pupil misbehaviour, Professional demands and responsibility, College Management and Time pressures.

The causes of teacher professional stress are the combination of internal and external causes.


Satya Raju R. and Roopa Rani E. (2012)

Degree college lecturers of visakhapatnam


Management’s control over work, Role conflict, Job security, Poor HR policies, Pay structures, Relocation, Finance related, Transportation, Long hours of work, Little control over work environment.

The stressors are major causes of stress factors.


Singh PablaManinderjit (2012)

Teachers of professional colleges of Jalandhar


The Occupational Stress Index (OSI) of college teachers (By Srivastava & Singh).

The result show there is a significant difference between the male and female teachers with respect to their occupational stress levels.


Reddy and Poornima (2012)

University teachers of nine state universities from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh


Increased work pressures and reduced support are the factors of stress.

The results of the study revealed that majority of the university teachers are experiencing moderate and high levels of occupational stress and 86% of teachers have professional burnout.


Vijayadurai and Venkatesh (2012)



Factors such as job insecurity, long hours, continuous change and unrealistic deadlines can cause serious problem for them.

It was found majority of respondents always have heavy work load within the organization and they have much pressure to take up the result.


NagraVipinder (2013)

College of Educations, Hoshiarpur, Punjab


Occupational Stress Index-

Occupational stress in relation to gender, subject streams, and nature of job.

The results showed that educators experienced moderate level of occupational stress.


Merchant Zoha A. and ShastriShailaja (2013)

Engineering Colleges of Bangalore


Psychological factors, includes personal and familial factors. Organisational factors, which include infrastructure, organisational policies, role definition and reward and feedback.

Inter-personal factors, which include factors related to colleagues, students and their wards.

Faculty experience the highest amount of stress on additional factors and the lowest amount of stress on psychological factors.


Senthil Kumar et al. (2013)

Engineering and Technology faculties of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu


Gender, type of institution, location of the college, current working status and average number of working hours are causes of stress.

The study identifies the teachers in the engineering colleges are highly stressed.


Suganthi G. and Lakshmi M. (2013)

Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu


less staff, shift work, lack of co-operation, lack of facilities, amenities, lack of advanced technology.

The maximum effect of stress is on the psychological aspect, physiological is the next and the behavioural aspect is the last.


Sindhu K.P.


Degree college teachers of Palakkad, Kerala


Work Stressors, Role Stressors, Personal Development Stressors, Inter Personal Relationship Stressors and Organisational Climate Stressors.

It is clear that the college teachers are affected by stress specially, work stress.


Kennedy Vijila and LathaPrema (2014)

Aided and Self Financing Colleges of Coimbatore and Tirupur


Inter–Role Distance

The reasons for occupational stress are Inter Role Distance, Organizational responsibilities.


Singh Indoo (2014)

Private medical and Engineering colleges of Uttar Pradesh


Factors intrinsic to the job, Relationships at work, Career development Organizational structure and climate, Organizational interface with outside, Role in the organization.

It was found that there is no significant difference of stress across gender or between medical and engineering faculty members.


Sharma Ekta (2014)

Faculties of various institutes of India, UAE, Africa, US


Organizational Role stress instrument by Pareek, 2004 was used to collect data.

The research shows that the role stress is prevalent amongst the faculty members of the H.E.I.


Tandon J.K. et al. (2014)

Professional colleges of NH-2 Agra Mathura Highway


Age And Gender

The results showed that male teachers experience higher occupational stress than females.


Areekkuzhiyil Santhosh (2014)

College teaches in Kerala


Interpersonal relationship, professional development, recognition in the organization, work environment, work autonomy, work family interaction, role conflict, job security and remuneration.

The findings of the study confirmed all the stressors as mentioned.


SabherwalNaina and et al. (2015)

Faculty members of Pune


Time pressures, Lack of infrastructure, Student‘s indiscipline and Poor pay prospects.

Low to moderate level stress But not affecting the performance of educator.


Soujanya and Anitha Devi (2015)

Faculty members of Intermediate, Degree and Post Graduate courses of Krishna & Guntur, AP


The Faculty Stress Index (FSI) developed by Walter Gmelch was used.Reward and recognition, Time constraints, Departmental influence, Professional identity, Student interaction.

faculty members have a moderate stress


SoubhariTushar and Kumar Yathish (2015)

College teachers of Chennai and Mangaluru


Dishonest Work Schedule, More Responsibilities with Less Authority, Better Job with more Time, Lesser Recognition for more work done, No Job Satisfaction, Repeated Discrimination at Workplace, Unsafe Work Environment, Family Interference in Job, Frequent Arguments with Superiors and co-workers, Less control on Work life.

College teachers in Mangaluru are highly stressed and teachers at Chennai city are stressed much higher to those in Mangaluru.







Singh Partap and Rani Sangeeta (2015)

Self -financing colleges of Panipat, Haryana


Job Insecurity, Poor students behaviour and their negative attitude towards Study, Ineffective leadership at Department Level, Management Politics, Lack of Motivation, Negative Attitude of Colleagues, Excessive Additional duty, Involvement in non-teaching work, Lack of Research & Personal Growth Opportunities, Work-home conflicts.



Sharma and Nair Manju (2015)

Jaipur, Rajasthan


Long working hours, various family and official responsibilities, job security

Stress creates various problems such as prolonged headaches, frustration and anxiety.


Veena G. et al. (2016)

Mangalore University, Mangalore



Results show that majority of teachers are satisfied with their current job.



Suma Devi S. and Sumitha P. (2016)

Arts and science colleges of Coimbatore


Socio-economic variables

The Faculties having lot of work stress due to their work and students performance.


ZaheerAsma, et al. (2016)

Female faculty of Central Universities of Delhi


Occupational Stress

Work-Life Balance.

The results of the study shows there is a moderate level of occupational stress among the female faculty.


Table-2 Common factors of occupational stress in teaching profession in India


Number of papers

Agreeability Index

Organizational structure and climate



Role Stressors



Career and Personal Development



Work Load



Leadership and Management Style



Student Interaction



Work-life balance



Relationship with Management and Peer



Job Insecurity



Socio economic variables



Time Pressure



Poor Infrastructural facilities



Recognition and Reward



Inadequate Pay structure




6. Conclusion


Almost all the studies included in this review clearly confirm that there is occupational stress at all types of higher academic institutes in India and academicians from various steams are working in stressful conditions in current scenario. The above table and agreeability index related to job stress, revealed that major facots are: Organizational structure and climate, Role Stressors, Career and personal Development, Work Load and Leadership and Management Style. Other factors like student interaction, work-life balance, Job insecurity, Poor infrastructural facilities, Conflict with management and peer, Inadequate salary are also identified as stressors.


The paper concludes that policy makers should effectively design and frame policies to minimise the level of stress on the teaching community by applying appropriate coping strategies at personal and organisational level and ensuring maximum facilities and good environment in Institutes for achieving better productivity.




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