The issues of stress and poor health at work have become the focus in several work places; as these have resulted in many dramatic and sometimes tragic incidents perpetrated by troubled or disturbed individuals. The problem of stress at work is slowly emerging as a new challenge requiring attention and sources of employers and employees.
Taken collectively, stress could be responsible for a great number of occupational hazards and health conditions leading to death, illness and incapacitation. There are considerable costs for the individual employees with regards to these problems in terms of physical and mental health and the risk of loss of job, for the organization; these problems result in more direct costs such as staff turn-over, absenteeism, reduced productivity as well as indirect costs such as low staff morale, reduced motivation, job satisfaction, creativity and human resources problems.
This research work will dwell or examine these basic areas or questions:
1. The nature of stress at work.
2. How does work stress affect the individual’s health or wellbeing?
3. How can these be remedied? Or how can work stress be managed in an organization?
Organizations exist in all areas of life as many people spend a good deal of their lives in these organizations. Hodge and Anthony (1984) said an organization can be thought of as a two or more people working co-operatively towards a common objective or set of objectives. The organization therefore exists to be productive and contribute to human development and benefits making. Productivity according to Ikechukwu (1995) is the ratio of useful result obtained to the resources expended in obtaining them. It is common knowledge that the productivity of an organization can be improved through greater incentives such as monthly reward, promotion bonus and a conducive work environment which will enable employees attain to greater psychological and physiological needs.
The term “work” in an employee’s consciousness brings about deteriorating consequences and the introduction of the above mentioned incentives will check these deteriorations. In the absence of these incentives to balance deterioration, work stress sets in; a by-product of work.
The concept of stress has an established place in a wide range of disciplines: banking, teaching, politics, law, nursing, criminology and psychotherapy. According to these disciplines, stress is understood to be the outcome of any number of innumerable potential stressors that affects an individual. Stress can be defined as perceptual phenomenon arising from a comparison between the demand placed on the person and his ability to cope (Cox, 1978). Palmer (1989) defined stress as the psychological, physiological and behavioral response by an individual when they perceive a lack of equilibrium between the demand placed upon them and their ability to meet those demands which over a period of time leads to ill health. Palmer (1999) simply defined stress as that which occurs when pressure exceeds your ability to cope. An imbalance to this mechanism of coping gives rise to the experience of stress and it is important to understand that stress is neither good nor bad. It could be a positive stimulus which results in challenging situations and may lead to greater level of output and creativity.
The concept of work stress is often confused with challenge but these concepts are not the same. Challenge energizes us physically and psychologically and motivates us to learn new skills to master our jobs. When a challenge is met we feel relaxed and satisfied. Therefore, challenge is an important ingredient for healthy and productive work. The importance of challenge in our work is probably what people refer to when they say “a little stress is good for the body”. Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety reports that too much stress over a prolonged period can cause negative effects both psychologically and physiologically. The negative effects can be categorized as internal and external factors which mitigate against the productivity and profitability of an organization. The external effects include the availability of adequate resources, political, economic, sociological and technological environments. The internal structure of the business is another important factor which is central to growth, viability and survival of an organization; be it public or private. The effective acquisition, utilization and maintenance of scarce resources and motivation of human resources are the contributing factors to the organization’s productivity. Human resources is so critical to an organization’s survival such that it has been judged by complex business environment as the most important resources available to any organization.
This study is investigating whether work stress actually has any effect on or reduces productivity level of an organization products and service; and if yes, what are the consequences. The study investigates the organization productivity which may mitigate against it when not properly managed by employees, Human resources and management. This understanding enables employees, Human Resources and Management to be better positioned to deal with or handle / manage the stressors. Another common problem in the industry are employees who hold right, inflexible belief about performing extremely well under all conditions as they are more likely to suffer from higher level of stress when compared to employees who holds more helpful, flexible beliefs and standards.
The ‘perfectionist’ is paradoxically less productive and attain lower standard of work due to their anxiety about failing. However, some employers assume that stressful working condition are necessary evil, that companies must turn up pressure on workers and set aside health concerns to remain productive and profitable in today’s economy, but research findings oppose this belief; studies shows that stressful working condition are associated with increase absenteeism, exhaustion increase heart conditions, headache, low morale, distrust insecurity, dissatisfaction and intentions by workers to quit their jobs. All of these have a negative effect on the bottom line.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Nigerian organizations over the years have been saddled with many problems that are attributable to motivation, productivity, trust confidence and credibility.
These problems are due to imbalance between the expectations of the employers (organization) and the employees. The Banking industry will be used as a study in this project.
Another issue of concern is the extent to which work stress affect the organization’s productivity especially with the objective of increasing customer base through setting of individual and group targets for its employees, working late, not being able to take time off for health issues; other issues of concern include very high targets. Long working hours, multiple responsibilities, inabilities to meet of with these responsibilities leave many employees worried.
1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY
Many banks for years design various kinds of developmental strategies aimed at creating richness for themselves in the industry. These strategies come in form of new products and services; some of which have start life span and the target market are high network individual’s e.t.c. These efforts effective as they may seem are usually not in the best interest of the employees due to the resultant pressures.
This study investigates whether stress has any impact on the productivity of an organization. A lot has been said about the effect of stress on the employee and their perception of the organization toward their well being. Hence, the purposes of this research are:
- Finding out if these are signs and symptoms for stress recognition.
- To determine when it is necessary to act on probably stress situations
- Ways or means of identifying stressors.
- Identifying solutions for controlling or combating stress.
- Evaluating and monitoring anti-stress intervention.
- To examine the effect of stress on employees and the productivity of the organization.
- To infer conclusion from findings through the gathering, collating, analysis of relevant data.
- To proffer recommendations based on the findings of this study.
1.4 TENTATIVE RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In order to achieve the objective of the research work, it will attempt to provide answers to the following questions:
1. What is Stress?
2. What is Work Stress?
3. What Causes Work Stress?
4. What is the relationship between stress and working condition of the organization and the conflicting expectation at work?
5. What role should the management of an organization play in reducing stress?
6. What strategies should management use to control or eliminate identified stressors?
7. What is the impact of work stress on the organization and productivity?
8. What resources are available for managing work stress?
1.5 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESISThis research work aims at testing the following hypothesis:
Ho (Null Hypothesis) – There is no significant relationship between work stress and organization productivity.
H1 (Alternative Hypothesis) – There is a significant relationship between work stress and organization productivity.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The ultimate aim of any organization is to ensure that productivity is optimized. To ensure this, the organization has to manage its human resources especially in the area of their working condition, this will enable the employees realize their potentials as individuals. It is necessary therefore, to see this research work from two major perspectives namely: the organization and the employees.
To the organization, this research work will show that to achieve optimal productivity, an organization has to give attention to its human resources in areas such as absenteeism, low-moral, distrust, insecurity, tardiness, dissatisfaction, exhaustion. The fact is emphasized that is the human factor/ element that will realize the organization’s aim of achieving optimal productivity, growth and profitability.
To the employees, this research work will enlighten them of the fact that they are the key agent s in their organization and their contributions as individuals/teams/a group in the organization affects the organization in one way or the other. They have to participate and apply anti-stress intervention methods that the organization may provide to manage the human resources challenges which usually arise due to work stress.
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
This research work will concentrate on the effect of work stress on organization productivity with special interest I the largest group in Platinum and Habib Bank (Bank PHB)- Centralized shared Services also know as Central Processing Group (CPG). Centralized Shared Services (CSS) is a centralized Processing system where most routine operational process are done centrally in a more efficient and effective manner with optimal cost.
This research work will be carried out in the Lagos area of the bank where CSS is located in Oregun part of Ikeja and this will involve the various categories of staff in the following units of the group:
Cheque Printing and Maintenance (cheque Management)
Collation and Outward
Inward Receipt and Allotment
1.8 HISIORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Bank PHB, a financial service institution in Nigeria is emerging icon for banking excellence. It emerged as one of the 24 banks out of 89 following the government’s banking sector reform in 2005 that saw 90% increase in minimum regulatory capacity of banks. Bank PHB was the result of the merger between Plantinum Bank Plc and Habib Bank Plc.
The bank’s corporate head office is located at Bank PHB Crescent, off Adeyemo Alakija street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria and its largest operation group ; which is the specific area of study- centralized shared services (CSS) also know as Centralized Processing Group (CPG) is located at 25 Kimbiat Abiola Way , Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos state. The CSS concept was borrowed from Axis Bank in India where a single operations group service all the branches of the bank from a centralized location. CSS of Bank PHB services its four regions with over 234 branches nationwide and staff strength of over 6,000, the bank is on the verge of finalizing full integration of its recently acquired bank- Spring Bank Plc which currently have about 200 branches and staff strength of 4,050.
Bank PHB offers a wide range of products and services, in the areas of retail banking, Electronic banking, Consumer finance, portfolio management, sales and management, sales of money transfer product among others.
As earlier mentioned, this research work will dwell on the largest operations group which serve or has sole responsibity of servicing branches of the bank nationwide – CSS (also known as CPG). The units housed by the group are:
i. Cheque printing and maintenance (cheque management)
ii. Collation and
iv. Account processing
v. Inward Receipt and Allotment
vi. Legal search
vii. E- Banking
viii. Help Desk
x. Document Review
THE CPG CONCEPT
Centralized processing is a Bank PHB strategic operating tool aimed at positioning the bank at frontier in;
- Customer Service
- Processing of high volume transactions
- High asset utilization
- Standardization of deliverables
- Optimizing earnings
- Staff growth and development
At CPG the following operations are carried out:
1. Opening of all liability accounts
2. Cheque book processing and dispatch
3. Welcome kit for new accounts / customers
4. Corporate search for eligible customers
5. Monthly bank wide statement printing and dispatch
6. Bank wide Manager’s cheque (MC) printing and dispatch
7. Credit and debit card processing and dispatch
8. Internet Banking configuration and other electronic banking services.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
1. Stress: the state that results when the body is faced with pressure which exceeds the body’s ability to cope.
2. Stressors: anything that cause stress.
3. Work Stress: is the harmful physical and emotional response that occurs when there is a poor match between job demands and the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker.
4. Challenge: a new or difficult task that test ones abilities and skills.
5. Productivity: A measure relating a quantity or quality of output to the input required to produce it.
6. CSS: Centralized shared services.
7. CPG: Centralized Processing Group.
8. AOF: Account Opening Form.
9. MC: manager’s Cheque.
10. DC: Debit Cards.
11. IB[email protected][email protected]