Organizational Role Stress Among Public and Private Sector Employees: A Comparative Study Bushara Bano and Rajiv Kumar Jha ∗ Abstract The aim of this study is to explore the differences in job-related stress, if any, between public and private sector employees, based on ten role stressors. It also examines the role of demographic variables on the stress levels of both public and private sector groups. Our methodology entails a survey of 182 public and 120 private sector employees in Uttar Pradesh, India, whose responses are measured according to an occupational role stress scale. We also use secondary data provided by the literature review. The sample was collected through convenience sampling. On applying the t-test and ANOVA test to the data, we find that both public and private sector employees face moderate levels of stress. While there is no significant difference overall between public and private sector employees in terms of total stress levels, certain individual stressors—such as work experience and educational qualifications—do yield differences. The major limitation of this study is that it was conducted in Uttar Pradesh alone, while the work culture of organizations other than in Uttar Pradesh may be different. Keywords: Role stress, public sector, private sector. Classification: M10, M12, M14 1. Introduction Stress has become a very common phenomenon of routine life, and an unavoidable consequence of the ways in which society has changed. This change has occurred in terms of science and technology, industrial growth, urbanization, modernization, and automation on one hand; and an expanding population, unemployment, and stress on the other. The term “stress” was first used by Selye (1936) in the literature on life sciences, describing stress as “the force, pressure, or strain exerted upon a material object or person which resist these forces and attempt to maintain its original state.” Stress can also be defined as an adverse ∗
Ms Bano is a research scholar at the Department of Business Administration at Aligarh Muslim University in India; she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr Jha is a quality manager at Medica Synergie Pvt. Ltd. in Aligarh, India.
Bushara Bano and Rajiv Kumar Jha
reaction that people experience when external demands exceed their internal capabilities (Waters & Ussery, 2007). Organizations are an important source of stress, and employees’ workloads and professional deadlines have increased manifold. These advancements have created stress among employees in the form of occupational stress, which Sauter, Lim, and Murphy (1996) define as the harmful physical and emotional responses that arise when the demands of a job do not match the worker’s abilities, resources, or needs. Occupational stress is further defined as a condition arising from the interaction of people and their jobs, and characterized by changes within people that force them to deviate from their normal functioning (Beehr & Newman, 1978). The perception of the effects of stress on an individual has changed. Stress is not always dysfunctional in nature, and, if positive, can prove one of the most important factors in improving productivity within an organization (Spielberger, 1980). If not positive, stress can create a number of physical and psychological disorders among employees, and can be responsible for frustration, haste, and job dissatisfaction. As a result, the lack of work may cause complacency within the organization. Stress is, therefore, multidimensional, and its results depend on whether employees perceive it as a problem or a solution. For our purposes, public sector organizations are considered those that are government-owned and -operated. Such organizations are considered to focus primarily on the administration of essential services and the control and maintenance of a country’s social and economic conditions. In contrast,...