Stress and organisational citizenship behaviours in Indian business process outsourcing organisations

Topics: Sociology, Organizational citizenship behavior, Management Pages: 9 (5729 words) Published: May 16, 2014
IIMB Management Review (2012) 24, 155e163

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Stress and organisational citizenship behaviours in
Indian business process outsourcing organisations
Ajay K. Jain a,*, Cary L. Cooper b

Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Lancaster University Management School, Dean’s Suite, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YW, United Kingdom Available online 23 August 2012

Organisational stress;
citizenship behaviours;
BPO industry in India;
ASSET (an organisational
stress screening tool)

Abstract This study investigates the direct effect of organisational stress (as measured through ASSET) on organisational citizenship behaviours (OCBs). A sample of 402 operators was taken from business process outsourcing (BPO) organisations located in northern India. The authors hypothesised that there is a negative relationship between organisational stress and OCBs. Results of multiple regression analysis showed that stress had significant negative impact on OCBs. The implications for managers are discussed. ª 2012 Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. Production and hosting by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

This paper is based on a study aimed at examining the
strength of the relationship between organisational stress
and organisational citizenship behaviours among operator
level employees working in Indian business process
outsourcing organisations (BPOs).
Evidence from the field suggests that the hours of work
and working conditions in the BPO sector lead to the stress

* Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses:, (A.K. Jain).
Peer-review under responsibility of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

syndrome, which in turn contributes to a 25e30% attrition
rate among BPOs. Most of the young people who join BPOs
attracted by the salaries, find it hard to cope with the long and irregular working hours (Data Quest, 2004). A metaanalysis conducted by Lee and Ashford (1996) on job burnout showed that several of the job demands (e.g., role

conflict, workload and role stress) were strongly associated with higher levels of stress and emotional exhaustion.
Studies in the area of working hours and mental wellbeing
highlight the adverse impact of working longer hours on
personal happiness, job satisfaction, workplace accidents,
irritability, exhaustion, depression and relationships (Giga, Jain, & Cooper, 2009; Green & Tsitsianis, 2005). According
to Head, Martikainen, Kumari, Kuper, and Marmot (2002)
there is a higher risk of employees suffering from a psychiatric disorder if they are required to work at a constant fast pace, or are regularly faced with conflicting priorities. With increasing evidence of the impact of organisational stress

(through sickness absenteeism, rising compensation
payments and employee dissatisfaction) on businesses, it is
important to meet the challenge by dealing with specific

0970-3896 ª 2012 Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. Production and hosting by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

issues that cause excessive and long-term pressure (Cooper,
1999; Head et al., 2002).

BPO sector in India
India had a closed economy and monopolistic market
conditions in the pre-liberalisation era. Post 1990, India has substantially liberalised and globalised its economy. With
its large English speaking workforce, the country has
become one of the most attractive destinations for business
transactions. In addition, India has a large, young workforce with the appropriate educational background which makes
it one of the most suitable destinations for outsourcing
(Jain & Saini, 2009). The term outsourcing here refers...

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