Imapct factor(SJIF): 6.56
A Refereed Monthly International Journal of Management
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.), email:firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
Table-2 Common factors of occupational stress in teaching profession in India
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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