People at work worry about all sorts of things like increasing competition for jobs, change in culture, globalization, terrorism, new technology looking after aging parent and relatives, annual performance appraisals, outsourcing of jobs along with increased demand of employer for higher productivity. At times, these and some other different factors make the employees to go through certain pressures when they have to meet deadlines, cope up with some kind of strange but critical situations. They need to become accustomed to the cultural changes of the organization, learn new procedures and timely attend meetings along with being innovative. Looking at these situations, at first hand, appear to be the integral part of any job but when we look deeper and closer at all these, they are nothing but stressors which cause hindrance to the performance thus causing damage to the productivity and performance of the organization on the whole. All the good organizations take necessary concern and exerciseextreme care and foresightwith reference to job stress. So they, in their own larger interest, take very good care of their employees, value them, invest in them and work extra mile to cope their problems and fulfill their needs.
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Work place pressure is growing day by day, people face changing economic and business situations, changing customer expectations and changing expectations from their own role and position in the organization (Moten, 2009). Therefore, there are three issues that arise in considering effect of job-related stress on individual organizations and the economy in general which are: how should work-related stress be specified, what determines its presence at the workplace and what is its importance as a predictor of individuals’ behavior?
Nearly everyone agrees that job stress results from the interaction of the worker and the conditions of work. Views differ, however, on the importance of worker characteristics versus working conditions as the primary cause of job stress. These differing viewpoints are important because they suggest different ways to prevent stress at work.
Performance is defined as the results and accomplishments cherished by the organization or system that one works in. It is natural that the working environment of the system where people work directly affects performance of human beings. People need work that motivates them with healthy working conditions, and the chance to play a part in social surroundings of work and to feel valued. Stressful working situations and conditions, arising from any of above mentioned factors, can directly or indirectly effect on job performance of the employee.
Work place pressure affects the performance at a greater extent and it need to be dealt with carefully. Stress at a greater level on the other hand is harmful and has a negative effect on performance of employees over the long term as it wears down an individual and underutilizes his or her energy resources. High levels of stress can cause, low morale at work, fatigue, late comings, absenteeism and trouble in getting along with other team members or co-workers.
Recently many organizations are becoming responsive towards increasing cost of occupational stress, not only in human and financial terms but also to the national economy in general. The cost of replacing an employee who is underperforming owing to stress is between 50 to 90 % of his salary (Personnel Management, Factsheet 7, July 1998). Job stress is as much a corporate business issue as it is a health issue for organizations. Job stress charge American businesses billions of dollars a year in employee burnout, low morale, turnover, higher absenteeism, lower performance and increased health care costs. The American Psychological Association estimates that 60 percent of all absences and late comings are because of issues related to stress, costing American companies about $57 billion in a year.
Thus the study aims to find the impact of job stress on employee’s performance. As it is obvious that no one can work to its optimum level when s/he is under stress. Under severe stress, an individual fails to take clear-cut decisions, reevaluate and reassess the priorities and lifestyles, and ultimately, tend to fall into unproductive distractions. This can be described as a classic case of ‘burnout’. The ‘burnouts’ often engage in reckless or risk-taking behaviors. Starting from glamour and sport celebrities to common men, ‘burnouts’ are found everywhere. Often burnout will manifest itself in a reduction in motivation, volume and quality of performance, or in dissatisfaction with or departure from the activity altogether.
Moten suggested that employee performance is declining due to the on the job activities and managerial policies.
On the basis of her findings we are researching that “Work activities and culture effect the work performance and behavioral performance in positive or negative way”.
RATIONAL FOR THE STUDY
The framework of this project is inspired by the work of Moten’s research conducted in 2009. Her work consisted of several variables and its effect on employees. Our aim to conduct the research is to verify the effect of work activities and culture on the work and behavioral performance of employees. These variables have several dimensions. Thus it will help PTCL, in particular, and other organization to find the reasons of the difference in actual performance and the expected performance.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The macro objectives of this study are:
The micro objectives are:
THEORATICAL FRAME WORK
Work activities and culture were the independent variable of the study. All the job conditions that may lead to stress are the result of stressors and can be used to measure the stress.
Includes multi-tasking, strict deadlines and work load on employees
It includes support from Boss/ Supervisor and Management style of Boss/ Supervisor.
Dependent variable for the study is Work Performance and Behavioral Performance of the employees. Performance is the outcomes and accomplishments of the employees that are valued by the organization. It determines the success of the organization or we can say that success of any organization depends on the performance of its employees. The different dimensions of work performance are:
And the dimensions of Behavioral Performance are:
For more clarity see the model (1.5.1) given below.
The study being conducted is descriptive in nature. Using this mode of analysis is favored to smooth the progress of study, establish and be able to describe the characteristics of a group in a situation. Descriptive study used helped to present and analyze the data in significant form. It also helped to understand the effects of job stress on the employee performance at PTCL.
The study is co-relational. The researcher identified the factors that cause stress among employees in PTCL and in turn how the performance of these stressed employees gets effect. Many factors were known as vital reason of the stress depending on the host as well. Any of these factors can cause stress but at times they all act as stressors.
Non-Probability sampling method was selected to collect the data from the population and the data gathered was qualitative in nature.
The study is about the performance of employees under job stress. The population for this study will be employees of PTCL. The sample size for this study is 100 employees of PTCL.
Research approach was basically qualitative. But data was analyzed by both quantitative and qualitative techniques. Research topic was related to the Employee Performance under Job Stress. The research type was quantitative because after getting the response from sample through questionnaire the results extended from data were in numerical form and presented in the form of charts and graph. The research type was qualitative since it included literature review industrial and organizational analysis along with survey analysis.
Data for this research was collected in two phases. Firstly data was collected for the use of literature review. For this purpose all the secondary sources like books, Internet, magazines, articles etc were consulted. Previous researches of many researchers regarding stress and performance were studied. Data was gathered from several journals, books, articles, reviews and Internet. Then a questionnaire was prepared to collect the data from the sample regarding the impact of these stress factors/variables on employee performance. The primary data was gathered from the sample personally. The permission from the organization was sought with reference to university. Questionnaire was distributed among the employees and was requested to fill it in within 3 days. Participants were free to inquire anything regarding the material on questionnaire or the research. This helped to trim down their doubts.
Regarding the limitations of the study, it may be reiterate due to scarcity of the resources and time constraints. A nationally representative sample could not be used. The study must cover the nation to obtain finding, which can be generalized with confidence.
The study is designed to focus on the employee performance under job stress in one organization it cannot be generalized on the whole industry. Due to the significance of the topic, research carried out should be on national level.
This part of the study provides the literature available on the research topic. It includes the citation from the previous works and theories done by different researchers. This helps to assist the research process and gains insight and in-depth knowledge about the subject and problems that are considered critical to this whole work. The sources of literature, studies, information, surveys and reports through articles have indeed enlighten and given us as a researcher proper direction to work and move into. By the help of the review the most important fact that came to researcher’s knowledge is that very little has been done in regard to cope with Job/workplace stress in Pakistan. To the researcher’s best knowledge, the current research is the first detailed and comprehensive study that shows the effect of job stress on employee performance in the business field of Pakistan.
Occupational stress can be defined as the “harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or need of the worker” (Sauter and Murphy. 1999).
Porter and Streers, (1973) presented the study of occupational stress and its health consequences. It constitutes a major area of research in the behavioral sciences. Studies of specific stress-related illnesses feature prominently in the medical literature, while in occupational psychology work-related stress has been linked to both physical and psychological health problems across a broad section of the working population. Individuals under stress are reported to suffer adverse personal health, including ulcers, high blood pressure, heart attacks or even death and studies in the behavioral sciences have shown that poor employee performance, absenteeism and high labor market turnover are all linked to worker stress.
According to James Tighe (June 2000) in his article “Stress affecting mental health and physical health” contributes that when people experience and feel under impossible pressure at work, meeting dead lines, unsupportive boss, being undervalued and lack of control over the work they lean to work harder and harder to try to close the gap between what they’re achieving and what they think they should be achieving. They stop taking breaks and lose touch with their own needs which creates stress not only in the organization but also disturbs their personal lives.
Due to the increased popularity of Call centers Ruyter, K. & et al. (2001) examined the causes and outcomes of role stress in a call center setting as a result of the conflicting demands of the company, supervisors, and customers. The participants of the study were 1200 employees of Insurance industry of Netherlands. The findings were that role stress is an originator of job satisfaction that, in turn, is an originator of poor job performance and turnover intention. Both empowerment/autonomy and competence were found to be antecedent conditions for role stress. They also found that while autonomy leads to role stress that leads to job satisfaction, competence has no direct impact on role stress. Another finding was that leadership had less impact in the model. So the researchers suggest that empowerment autonomy seems to have a relatively strong impact in terms of role stress reduction. Thus the employees should be given the freedom to influence pace, working method, and sequence of tasks in dealing with customers. In stressful work environments, it has been emphasized that job rotation and reinforcement of employees’ faith in their own competencies and skills are particularly useful in increasing job satisfaction. Employee recognition by management as well as strengthening employees’ confidence in their competence through task-related training programs may be the key to keeping high-performance call center employees.
Another research by Lambert, Alysa D. & et al. (2008) suggest that employees are so much strained due to different stressors that they readily give up some part of their salary even job. The study was conducted by taking 211 employees of two different organizations as sample. It was a two part on-line survey. Data was analyzed with the help of regression analysis. End results were that many work related factors induce employees to imitate the behavior of their co-workers to seek ways that can make the work schedule a bit flexible. The idea that people who are using flexible working arrangements were more productive is supported by this research also.
Mubashir T. and Ghazal, S. (NA) conducted a research identify role of different contributing factors of job stress and to investigate level of stress on those factors among different departments of Wall’s Unilever Pakistan. And also to find that how job performance is affected by job stress. The sample for the study consisted of 65 employees having different levels of job in five different departments of Wall’s ICF. The data from the sample was collected through questionnaires. They concluded that Workload, co-workers and repetitive work are the major factors causing stress however a strange finding was that there was no affect of stress on job performance in the selected organization.
Moten (2009) is of the view that workplace pressure comes from various factors and is expressed by employees in various behaviors. According to her, job stress is shaped through a range of ways such like interpersonal demands, role demands. Though the sources of these aforementioned types are different, their impacts are the same i.e. Low level of performance. She found out that employees are often thought to complete certain tasks which normally are not their job requirement. Most organizations impose multitasking upon their employees to cope with the recession and cut costs but unintentionally they are doing vice versa. Posing strict deadlines, requiring them attend meetings in very short notice, forcing them work late hours and making them prone to cut-throat competition and mounted work can lead to stress and anxiety. Workers may show signs of fatigue, absenteeism, and low morale. So at workplaces, friendly relations are very much important. Bosses should give their employees some space to help them cope with the pressure and determining success at work.
Stranks (2005) states in his book that stress is a pressure placed on a person beyond his ability to handle. It has a major hidden cost to employers. There are many direct and indirect causes of stress. Anxiety and depression is manifestations of stress so employer should be aware of the fact that employees experience certain types of stress in their lives. Particularly female workers can be subject to many stressors that male colleagues are not prone to. Changes in the organization can be a major reason for stress. There are techniques available for the measurement and evaluation of stress in organizations. So employers must give attention to various forms of human errors and violation at workplace and must find way to identify the traces of stress among their employees. This could be done by analyzing the standards of performance, staff attitude and behavior, relationships at work and sickness absence levels. His investigations in this line area brought out the fact that there is a direct relationship between stress-related human failure and accidents occurring at work. Strategies must be designed and considered at both individual and organizational level. Stress management programs and trainings should be introduced.
Glazer & Gyurak (2008) carried out a cross-cultural study to find the sources of stress among the nurses of various countries with respect to and free of the cultural influence. They filled a questionnaire regarding stress sources. Results were obtained by performing Chi-square analyses and t-tests. They found that quantitative workload might be a source of stress or anxiety in each country. Similarly leadership, lack of resources, low salary, negative rewards, certain patients and performing certain tasks can lead to stress. So there is a need to tailor occupational stress interventions to deal with the needs of nurses in a specific country, by addressing the specific stressors.
Stress management includes taking care of organizational issues like leadership, peer support, organizational culture and policies, work design and reporting arrangements as well as job analysis, staff selection and training to enhance role clarity such that there is a balance between the individual and his work environment. Effective systems for motivation and performance management are essential (Jennifer et al, 2006).
Kim (2002) conducted a research to show that participative management has positive effects on the job satisfaction and better communication can improve the performance of employees. The questionnaire was circulated among 4,097 employees of local government agencies. After running the regression analysis on the data collected, researcher found that employees who believe that their managers use participative style of management were more satisfied with their jobs. Also those mangers who applied strategic planning process found their employees to be more productive and easy to deal with. At the end, the researcher relates his findings with job stress and says that if employees are more satisfied they will eventually be less stressed and more productive.
Zahavy & Freund (2007) examined team effectiveness under stress. The author says that in case of stress team can lose cohesion, members may become dependent on others to avoid faults or lay off their burden or that they may become less effective. In order to avoid these troubles, team structure must be considered a vital aspect. For this purpose, data were collected from 643 members of 73 primary healthcare teams randomly selected from 1200 primary care clinics of the largest health maintenance organization in Israel. Participants filled the questionnaires as advised by the researcher. As a result this study differentiated among qualitative and quantitative stress, suggested that quantitative stress holds back team effectiveness, it also indicated that qualitative stress can enhance team effectiveness. In addition, the results also prove the fact that structure of the team really matters. Researcher suggests that organizations must support standardized routines to block the negative impact of quantitative stress on team commitment and effectiveness, and put into practice the ways that encourage self-sufficiency and a systems approach to enhance the positive effects of qualitative stress on team effectiveness.
Glazer & Beehr (2005) conducted a research to find out the correlation between stressors and how it leads to absenteeism or induce an individual to leave the job. These stressors can include workplace conditions, role ambiguity, role overload and role conflicts or any other issues that can cause anxiousness and strain among employees at workplace. The purpose of study was to observe the effect of these stressors from cultural aspect. So nurses working at hospitals of various countries were the population. Researchers distributed questionnaire among the sample through mail. After filling, nurses mailed back the questionnaires. The results supported the hypothesis that turnover is related to stress at some extent. However culture affects the tolerance level of the stress. Researcher is of the view that some cultures are more prone to stress but people take it for granted and as part of their job. But at some places stress has a great influence over employee and it affects their performance as well as expectations from their workplace. Whatever the reason may be to this fact, researcher suggests more investigation in this line.
Anxiety Disorders Association of America (2006) conducted a survey research and observed the effect of anxiety disorders and the level of everyday stress in the workplace also. Findings of survey showed that majority of Americans experience stress and anxiety on a daily basis. And this stress is not without impact. For the four in five working persons who say they experience it daily, job stress often takes a toll on performance, quality of work, relationships with bosses and interactions with coworkers. A number of factors were indicated by employees that cause stress. These include deadlines, interpersonal relationships (i.e., interacting with superiors, coworkers, subordinates), staff management and dealing with problems. They also explained that stress affects their performance, relationship with co-workers/peers, quality of work and relationships with immediate superiors. Survey results suggested that people found sleeping a common relief practice for stress. Others are eating, talking to friends, or/and taking drugs. The only thing that people avoid is talking and asking their bosses. This is due to fear of being perceived as incompetent person, poor performer.
Pearsall, M. J. & et al. (May 2009) investigated the situations where both challenge and hindrance stressors coexist. They took interest in this topic because on the grounds that the positive motivational effects of challenge stressors might to some extent balances the harmful effects of interruption stressors on team outcomes. In an extremely stressful situation, team members will be incapable to split a range of stressors into positive and negative facets, and take into account multiple methods of coping. They are also of the view that in the presence of challenge and hindrance at the same time, team members will appraise the situation as strongly threatening and withdraw to accomplish their task and team responsibilities, reducing their motivation, effort and emotional connection to the team. This response will further hamper the recognition and exchange of expertise- specific information within the team as communication channels shut down and team members struggle to manage their own responsibilities and demands. 332 students from Southwestern University participated in the research and were grouped into 83 four-person teams. Teams had to operate an integrated, computerized, multi-person Distributed Dynamic Decision-making (DDD) simulation task. The results supported the use of the challenge hindrance framework at the team level as well as the central role of transactional theories of stress. That challenge stressors and hindrance stressors stimulate different forms of coping. The results also imply that team members’ adoption of a collective coping response signifies the team-level techniques underlying the differential effects of challenge and hindrance stressors on behavioral, cognitive, and affective outcomes.
The aforementioned line of investigation supported the study conducted by Umiker (1992) which illustrated that “Individuals who feel that they are in control of their jobs and their futures, are better able to handle stress. Also that these empowered workers become more productive out of being in control”.
Results of another study presented by Bushe & et al. (1996) authenticate the positive and encouraging affects of employee empowerment which were congregated from increased customer satisfaction and innovation regardless of occupational grouping. Further he says that stress was reduced when a person did no longer have to report to someone daily. When employees are empowered, they take the control over their work which gives them a higher sense of accomplishment. The purpose of empowered work teams in Bushe et al. (1996) research was to reduce costs through fewer overheads and to speed up problem resolution. The organizational outcomes were increased productivity and efficiencies mainly because of quicker response rates through empowerment and removal of organizational barriers. The research also concluded that automation has left workers virtually on call 24 hours a day and has shortened the turnaround time from project conception to completion. Many workers work ten hours a day and corporate restructuring makes them anxious about their job security. Symptoms of these stressed workers included drops in productivity, changes in work attitude, low morale and increased absenteeism.
Reese (1997) Stress is a mental and physical condition, which have an effect on an individual’s productivity, effectiveness, personal health and quality of work. Job stress’s victims go through lowered quality of work life and job satisfaction. The harmful and costly consequences of stress demonstrate the need of strategies to limit stressors within the organization. Organizations that do not adopt strategies to alleviate stress may find their employees looking elsewhere for better opportunities. The impact of stress from overwork, long hours at work and work intensification has had a major and often devastating effect on organizations of developed nations. In America job stress alone costs American business an estimated $200 billion annually, the UK £63 billion and Australia $15 billion. This is the cost for compensation claims, reduced productivity, absenteeism, added health insurance costs and direct medical expenses for stress related illnesses. A recent American Management Association survey of 292 member firms revealed that per capita disability claims tend to increase when positions are eliminated. The survey, which dealt with layoffs between 1990 and 1995, found that the illnesses disabled workers sought treatment for gastrointestinal problems, mental disorders and substance abuse, hypertension and the like were stress related.
Shahu & Gole, (2008) have conducted a study to examine the effect of job stress and job satisfaction on performance. The participants for this study were those managers who either currently or previously held a manager’s post at different manufacturing companies. In total 100 managers from 15 private manufacturing companies completed assessments. The tools for this study were two different assessments. The first tool is job satisfaction instrument (developed by Mishra, R.S., Tiwari, and Manorama). The second tool is occupational stress index. The scale consists of 46 items with 5 alternative responses. The other instrument was a current (2005) performance evaluation that was completed by the executives of the each company. The participants were asked to fill the questionnaire and performance evaluation form. The analysis was conducted through multiple regression analysis and ANOVA. Results showed that job stress is negatively correlated to performance. He found working conditions and role overload to be major agreed upon stressors in various organizations and business sectors and low stressed employees tend to give maximum output as compared to high stressed groups. He laid great stress on organizations to seek remedies and work in this particular area in order to improve productivity.
According to Melissa Bushman (2007) the common causes of low morale include stress, negativity and gossip within the workplace along with lack of incentive programs. The projected solutions to deal with low morale is increasing employee attitudes and improving attendance. Stress is the most frequent cause of low employee morale. Numerous factors may increase the stress levels of employees, but the major reason that employees experience stress is their relationship with their manager, and it has been proved that highly authoritarian managers are likely to cause an increase in level of absenteeism. Therefore, when absenteeism rates are high in a certain department of company, poor employee relationships with the manager or bosses should be considered. For this purpose management training could be used resolve the issue and avoid problems.
Jamal (2005) observed the relationship of job stress and Type-A behavior pattern with employees’ personal and organizational outcomes in Canada and mainland China. It indicated that job stress is significantly related to burnout, low morale, health problems, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and turnover motivation. Findings also replicated the findings that job stress is related to personal and organizational outcomes. The results also indicated that job stress factors such as work overload, ambiguity and conflict were significantly related to overall burnout.
The economic aspect of job stress was studied by Leontaridi & Ward (2002). They discussed the factors that can have impact on the performance of employees in an economics context by bringing together all the relevant personal and socio-economic variables while working environment and employment conditions were considered to be contributing to work-related stress resulting in absenteeism, intentions of quitting behavior and turnover. Particularly, the stressful impact of occupation, hours of work and workplace relations on worker with focus on the labor market costs of stress by estimating the importance of work-related stress as a predictor of individuals’ quitting behavior and rate of absenteeism. The respondents were from 15 OECD countries. Results identify that certain physical and psychological job characteristics such as working hours, physical demands of the job, non-pecuniary advantages of the job, and working relations have an important role to play in determining work-related stress. Females report higher stress levels than men. Stress is significantly increasing with working hours, income, educational level, when married, when managing people, being a trade union member, but decreasing for public sector workers for all country groups and for both men and women while significant evidence exists that experienced stress levels vary by occupation. Those individuals reporting to undergo as a minimum some stress in their existing position are 25 percent more likely to hold intentions to quit and have taken periods of absence from work than those without, with the probability increasing with successively higher job stress.
Bakker, A. B. and et al (2004) explored the relationship between job characteristics, burnout, and performance by using a theoretical model. The main purpose behind was to investigate how exhaustion may be related to other ratings of performance that integrates the core dimensions of burnout and by employing adequate measures to capture in-role and extra-role performance. The participants were employees of several different sector and job position. A total of 274 questionnaires were distributed but 146 employees filled out the questionnaire. Than researchers performed structural equation modeling (SEM) analyses using the AMOS software package. The results supported their hypothesis and showed that job demands and job resources initiate two psychological processes, which eventually affect organizational outcomes. Therefore jobs with high demands and limited resources can increase fatigue and detachment among employees that is, burnout.
Khan, M.A. & et al. (2007) investigated the stress and job satisfaction level of Pharma’s at Korangi, Karachi. They also investigated the mechanism adopted by the individuals to cope the stress. They examined five potential workplace stressors (Task Demands, Role Demands, Interpersonal Demands, Organizational Structure and Organizational Leadership). The sample was of 93 supervisors from 17 pharmaceutical companies situated in Korangi and other industrial areas of Karachi. All the respondents completed a questionnaire to provide information regarding the research issue. They brought out the fact that people who try to improve their quality of life have high job satisfaction level and tend to be under low stress. They also found that supervisor’s job is tougher and cause high level stress. The researcher concluded that pharma industry should redesign the job, improve the organizational structures and interpersonal demands in order to prevent the stress among employees.
Siu & Cooper (1998) found how locus of control affects job stress, quitting intentions and job satisfaction. The target population for the study was employees in Hong Kong industrial firms owned by different nationals. 170 questionnaires were distributed to employees of several trading firms. They found that there can be many causes of stress that can also effect job satisfaction. They further discuss that those who think that the reason for the problem is out of their control, they don’t approve interpersonal relationships. Similarly they will get direct effect from the stressors which can be seen from their outcomes. So we can say internal locus of control helps cope with stress. It was also found that people with low locus of control are mostly dissatisfied with their jobs but not with their employer.
Regardless of the slow overall economic growth, the telecom sector registered positive growth in terms of teledensity, revenue and subscription. The sector was able to attract US$815 million in the year 2008-09. However most of the operators are foreign who have a pessimistic outlook of the economy due to the global financial crisis. Most of the operators adopted cost cutting measures to overcome negative impact of the economy. Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) is assigned with the task to regulate the sector and formulate policies to promote investment and encourage competition in the industry. The strategy adopted by PTA is that of a light regulatory approach with ensuring that all operators, large or small, have level playing field. The outcome of this strategy is a transparent and deregulated sector (PTA, 2009).
The Telecom sector remained the single largest receiver of the FDI receiving one fourth of the total FDI. Pakistan attracted US$ 19 billion in FDI in the last 5 years of which 34% was in the telecom sector (Fig 3.1). Teledensity in the country stood at 62% in 2009 (see Fig 3.2). Despite increasing the taxes and falling exchange rates, the revenue of the sector grew by 19% in 2009 and stood at Rs. 327.8 billion (see Fig 3.3). The sector also contributed Rs. 112 billion in to the national exchequer as taxes. Basic services such as fixed local loop (FLL), Wireless local loop (WLL), Long Distance & International (LDI), and Broadband services also witnessed growth in revenues and its contribution to the sector revenue stood at Rs. 121 billion (about 26%).(PTA, 2009)
The telecom sector in Pakistan is constituent of a lot of services which include Mobile sector, Fixed Line sector, Wireless local loop sector, Payphone Sector and Internet Sector. The telecom industry in Pakistan is growing since the inception of cellular networks in 90s. The major reason was the strong marketing campaigns Cellular companies carried out. These campaigns increased the awareness level in general public and the utilities that were available in other parts of world. Cellular sector gave indirect boost to internet sector, payphone sector and wireless local loop sector. However, Fixed Land Line sector, being the direct competitor, is still struggling to break the new grounds.
Fixed Line sector
PTCL being the only landline provider in Pakistan enjoyed the monopoly for a long time but they still were not able to compete with the latest cellular companies. On 13th July, 2003 PTA announced a Deregulation Policy. The obvious reasons, for not being able to compete, are the different managerial styles, huge marketing campaigns, expansion strategies and the obvious globalize trend of using mobiles. There are other factors related to both sectors like convenience of use, value added services etc. PTCL, however, tried to maintain the market share by entering into Mobile sector. PTCL collaborated with Etisalat (UAE) and came up with a cellular company Ufone. Still the fixed line sector in Pakistan is not in good shape. According to board of investment the maximum subscribers Fixed Line services ever had was in 2006, when there were 5.24 million subscribers. This trend was steadied till 2007 but at the end of 2007 it declined to 4.8 million subscribers and it is declining ever since. One of the reasons for this decline was the inception of Wireless local loop sector in 2006. The WLL sector is growing ever since, with Fixed Land Line sector losing its place and Cellular sector maintaining its position.
Wireless Local Loop Sector
Wireless Local Loop services were introduced in Pakistan after deregulation of local loop sector in 2004. There were17 WLL licenses were issued out of which PTCL, World call, Telecard, Great Bear, Burraq, Mytel and Wateen are operational. WLL subscribers have shown rapid growth since 2003, Initially it was being predicted that WLL sector’s growth might be slow but it is steadily growing and it will attract a foreign investments internationally. But the WLL operators like Wi-tribe and Wateen shifted their investment towards the Broadband expansion and investing new technologies like WiMax. This gap provides an opportunity for investors to invest in fiber networks to secure a position in this segment of the industry.
The most profit making sector in Pakistan is the Mobile sector. It has grown with an average of 90% over the last few years. . According to Pakistan Board of investment, report published in 2008 mobile services are available in 7011 cities/towns and villages all over Pakistan. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority released a report in February 2010 Pakistani cellular Market concluded 2009 with 97,579,940 subscribers. PTA also released stats of the total number of subscribers of each operator and their respective market shares. The details are
Mobilink being the top service provider has 32% of market share and total 30,800,354 subscribers.
Telenor comes in second position with 23% market share and total 22,500,789 subscribers.
Warid and Ufone are neck to neck in the competition and hold 19% of market share with 18,847,315 and 18,510,175 subscribers respectively Where as Zong, after the reestablishment of management, hold 7% market share and 6,920,234 subscribers.
The competition and survival in Pakistan cellular services is cutthroat and to survive companies had to cut down the tariff, come up with latest value added services. The prices were cut down to such extent that Pakistan cellular services were considered one of the cheapest all over the world.
Card payphone services in Pakistan were deregulated in 1990s. Telecard is the first to commence this service in Pakistan. Growth of fixed line PCOs remained impressive till 2004-05 where it was going at an outstanding pace. However after the technology boom, Payphone sector’s position seems to be in jeopardy. According to the statistics released by PTA 90% of Pakistani population owns a cell phone.
Internet service is becoming a fundamental part of life in Pakistan particularly in urban areas where large portion of the businesses are using it for different uses. According to estimates of ISPAK (Association of Pakistani ISPs), currently there are about 3.5 million internet subscribers all across in Pakistan whereas total users crossed 17 million marks. Currently around 3,002 cities are linked to internet. Broadband services are being offered with the help of various technologies, however the growth rate is not increasing as it was expected, Cost of service is considered to be major reason for this slow growth. PTCL has started providing its DSL services in the year June 2007 in different cities for home users with free installation services. It is predicted that different steps that had been taken by PTA in partnership with Industry will make certain better and economical broadband services. This action not only helped PTCL to gain market share but it also helped sustaining the Fixed Land Line Sector.
These all drastic changes were made after the deregulation policy announced by PTA in 2003. It opened a window for the investors all over the world and there was a clear boom in telecom sector of Pakistan. Even when the whole world was suffering from the economic depression, Telecom sector in Pakistan not only survived but showed a growth trend. This growth acceleration is steadying down and this whole sector has entered into the maturity phase, which might be concern for some of the major vendors operating in Pakistan. Nonetheless, an incipient trend is arising in the market powered by first movers, which have started to re-focus on profitability, applying cost reduction programs and strict control over their capital expenditures to face the negative economic conditions. Therefore, margins would start to recover from bottom peaks. The impact of deregulation on tariff would be significant. Market forces will ensure that consumers pay prices that are reasonable. If the market would be effectively competitive, suppliers would be few in number and their price and output decisions will impact market conditions. Any price increase not justified by market forces (e.g., higher costs or shifts in customer demand) will be counterproductive.
When Pakistan came into being at that time Pakistan’s Telecom sector inherited the British Post, Telegraph & Telephone [PTT] Departments. It had a miniscule base of 7000 telephone lines at that time. In the year 1962 this PTT Department was divided into the Telephone & Telegraph Department. It also included Postal Departments. By 1991 this was further re-organized thorough the PTC Act 1991 opening this public sector to the private sector companies. These were Data Network Services, Paging, and Manufacturing of Small Telephone Exchanges. (Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd Project Report)
PTCL became the company limited (Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited) in 1994 by six million vouchers issued exchangeable into 600 million shares of the PTCL in two separate placements. The par value for each of the share was Rs. 10. In mid-1996 these vouchers were converted into PTCL shares.
In 1995, Pakistan Telecommunication (Reorganization) Ordinance shaped the basis for PTCL monopoly over basic telecommunication sector in the country which paved the way for the founding of an independent regulatory regime.
The year 2006-07 in the telecom sector was marked by the exceptional growth in the mobile sector in Pakistan, which doubled its subscriber base to 60 million. The teledensity increased from 26% to 40%, helping to extend the benefits of communication technology across the country. PTCL’s mobile phone subsidiary Ufone’s subscriber base grew by more than 87%, from 7.49 million to 14 million. The year also witnessed the entry of major telecom companies, most notably China Telecom and Singtel, into market.
The privatization of the company was completed in the FY06 following the purchaser of 26% ‘B’ class ordinary shares by Etisalat International Pakistan L.L.C. EIP took over management control on 12th on April 2006.
According to Babar Bhatti (2009) the senior management of PTCL controlled by UAE based Etisalat, has been playing a cautious role with its employees and union labor after its privatization. It has gone through different changes like voluntary separations, policies, change in regulations, lay offs etc. Recently there were protest by the employees of PTCL and other labor unions. The company reacted to that in an unethical way by providing some carrots to the employees that were enclosed in a press conference. The main topic of discussion in this press conference by HR seniors was efficiency of PTCL, performance level, increase in the salary, other nationals working for company and the relationship with employees and union workers. (PTCL Management Responds To Union Protests _ State of Telecom Industry in Pakistan)
In short PTCL has been working energetically to meet the dual challenge of telecom development and socio-economic boost up of the country. This is characterized by a clearer approval of ongoing telecom scenario wherein convergence of technologies continuously changes the profile of the sector.
A measure of this understanding is progressive measures such as establishment of the company’s mobile and Internet subsidiaries in 1998. As telecommunication monopolies head towards an imminent end, services and infrastructure providers are set to face even bigger challenges. Pakistan also entered post-monopoly era with deregulation of the telecom sector in January 2003. PTCL is in full awareness of the same, and future policies feature a strong conviction of healthy competition
TECHNICAL AND OPERATIONAL MILE STONES
PTCL is continuously growing by improving its set of networks. Comparing with the year 2007 PTCL installed capacity (4940154) has increased by 100% digitalization in current year.
This feature of PTCL is used to improve network & is being used to register & repair land line defects in a computerized way. Before, this system was working only in few cities but now it is accessible all over the Pakistan.
To expand the capacity and bring in additional value added services PTCL launched a new Intelligent Network (IN) Platform in October 2003. The main benefit of this feature is that it has higher capacity for prepaid calling cards and provision for introduction of new services.
To further hold the launch of new latest services the optical fiber junction access network has been in the phase of implementation. This system further provides supports the future upcoming project of PTCL WLL (wire less local loop), Broad Band Services & IPTV.
Products and Services
PTCL is in a perfect position to redefine the conventional boundaries of the telecommunication industry and is shifting the productivity boundary to new heights. Due to increase in technology and innovation millions of people demand instantaneous access to new products and ideas. PTCL is going to be first and foremost choice for its customers in the upcoming years.
PTCL is retaining and enhancing its customers’ satisfaction by providing them with innovative features and services which include proper network coverage, better performance, validity, reliability & security at their respective locations. It is providing services to two types of clients including customer as well as corporate services.
The study at hand was aimed to examine if any relationship exists between job stress and employee performance. To check this, PTCL was selected as organization for the study. The employees were to be tested out for the effects of stress on their performance. The main reason behind this was to highlight the importance of stress management in business community. Employees are more critical and crucial resources of any organization. The whole entity is dependent on the efforts made by them for the organization. Thus it is in total benefit of the organization that its employees must be happy and contended while at workplace in particular or on any setting in general. A happy and psychologically sound employee can be proved a valuable asset for the organization. Wright, T. (2009) has found that when employees have high levels of psychological well-being and job satisfaction, they perform better and are less likely to leave their job ultimately making satisfaction a valuable tool for maximizing organizational outcomes. In the west, various researches are being conducted off and on for the betterment of employees. This helps give proper attention and care to employees and to find ways to improve the outcome which results in satisfaction and improved performance of the organization on the whole. But unfortunately a very little has been done in this aspect. And there is a need to do some more research to help improve employee performance and as a result the economic condition as a whole.
As the research was mainly focused on the employee performance under stress, employees were asked several questions in this context. The results indicated that there is a negative effect of stress on employee performance. The finding is that performance is negatively affected by ambiguous job description, work roles, poor working environment, poor management style, job insecurity and unfriendly culture of the organization. However it was found that strong communication among employees, support from the supervisor and/or co-workers is very important to determine the thriving performance of the employee. Thus stressors are one of the main factors that result in reduced performance of employees.
Results brought out the point that currently in the organization some of the employees are habitually late and they were aware of the fact that performance can be influenced by the stress at job. Literature review supported this finding. Hill, E. J & et al (2001) indicated that employees with chaotic work-timings and inflexible work-location had depressing impact on outcomes of both work and family life. This reduces a person’s performance and leads to poor coping up with his occupational as well as family problems. And eventually results in more stressed and unhealthy life.
Work activities can be major source of stress for any one at the workplace. A person has to spend whole day at workplace performing his supposed duties and accomplishing the task given to him. If these activities become hectic the person can become apprehensive. At PTCL the work activities are a source of stress to a certain extent. Employees are badly informed of their work roles. Ambiguous job descriptions help mounting their frustration and agony. Bakker, A. B. and et al (2004) also argue that job demands and job resources initiate two psychological processes, which eventually affect organizational outcomes. Therefore jobs with high demands and limited resources can increase fatigue and detachment among employees that is, burnout. And employees respond to this disturbance in many ways. Another research by Lambert, Alysa D. & et al. (2008) suggest that employees are so much strained due to different stressors that they readily give up some part of their salary even job. Moten (2009) is of the view job stress is shaped through a range of ways such like interpersonal demands, role demands. Though the sources of these aforementioned types are different, their impacts are the same i.e. Low level of performance. Employees are often thought to complete certain tasks which normally are not their job requirement. Posing strict deadlines, requiring them attend meetings in very short notice, forcing them work late hours and making them prone to cut-throat competition and mounted work can lead to stress and anxiety. Workers may show signs of fatigue, absenteeism, and low morale. So at workplaces, friendly relations are very much important. Bosses should give their employees some space to help them cope with the pressure and determining success at work. Moreover employees at PTCL have sufficient control over input, can co-ordinate with each other satisfactorily and are appreciated to develop new skills. This ultimately helps employees to perform well. A research by Froiland (1993) has shown that “where employees are empowered where they have more control over how they perform their work reduces the risk of stress and burnout considerably”.
It is the quality of the employee’s workplace environment that most impacts on their level of motivation and performance. Their error rate is influenced by how well they engage with the organization, especially with their immediate environment, , level of innovation and collaboration with other employees, absenteeism and, ultimately, how long they stay in the job. Many studies have revealed that most employees leave their organization because of the poor working environment and conditions. Ruyter, K. & et al. (2001) suggest that employees should be given the freedom to influence pace, working method, and sequence of tasks in dealing with customers. In stressful work environments, it has been emphasized that job rotation and reinforcement of employees’ faith in their own competencies and skills are particularly useful in increasing job satisfaction. Employee recognition by management as well as strengthening employees’ confidence in their competence through task-related training programs may be the key to keeping high-performance call center employees. A research by Glazer & Beehr (2005) supports the argument that stressors like workplace conditions, role ambiguity, role overload and role conflicts or any other issues can cause anxiousness and strain among employees at workplace. However culture affects the tolerance level of the stress. Some cultures are more prone to stress but people take it for granted and as part of their job. But it has great influence over employee and it affects their performance as well as expectations from their workplace.
Management style is also a source that can cause stress among employees. If manager is more of an autocratic chic, he can get on the nerves of his subordinates. So mangers must stay in touch with their sub ordinates, must tell them their goals, coach them, become a support for them, share his experiences and listen to their views. Employers can offer a range of different programs and initiatives, such as flexible working arrangements in the form of part time, casual and telecommuting work. More proactive employers can provide compulsory leave, strict maximum hours and foster an environment that encourages employees not to continue working after hours.
Another finding is that employees feel vulnerable regarding their jobs. At times they are given certain assignments and tasks that are difficult for them. Or they are unfamiliar with the nature of the assignment. Thus they find themselves unable to cope with demanding jobs and accomplish and meet deadlines. This ultimately results in low morale and stressed conditions.
End results of personal tolerance level of employees indicate that employees are relatively more prone to stress. Reason is that they have not much strong network of support, have less control over their emotions and lose hope when stressed. These ultimately lead to poor performance. As they are not aware of how to cope with the stress plus they are not being provide by any stress management program, they often get baffled by the situation and fail to figure out the solution.
With the help of the findings of the research and the support of the literature review it is evaluated that Job Stress should be taken into consideration and efforts should be made to enable employees handle the stressful situations better in order to give optimum performance. This will help them achieve high job satisfaction level making their performance in the workplace smooth and improved and thus maximum organizational goals and targets can be achieved.
PTCL is making efforts to provide a better environment that is conducive to perform at ones maximum level. In this regard they have provided the employees with better working environment to work in. To compete in the market they are now moving towards new technology and are trying to make their processes more efficient and effective for gaining best possible outcomes from their employees. However gaps between best possible setting and present setting can be observed. Employees seem dissatisfied with their culture, management style, roles and responsibilities, lack of flow of information, support from the employer and/ or supervisor and lack of availability of any stress coping strategies, training, policies and support. From the results and analysis conducted in this research there are certain recommendations that should be considered by the management and implemented by PTCL in order to reduce the stress level of employees and in turn cutting down their invisible costs.
Job descriptions and roles must be clearly defined to the employees. They should only be dictated bound and made responsible for their work. Instead they must be give appropriate freedom and control over the inputs of the tasks.
Employees want to have rotations in their jobs. The repetitive, same tasks make them lose interest in their job and diminish their motivation. For the better utilization of their skills, employees must be given chances to work in several departments. This would help them retain their motivation level as well enhance their skills and interest in the job.
Employers must help reduce the concerns of employees regarding their satisfaction level. In addition they must be given career advancement opportunities.
Employees must be given the task and assignments according to their capabilities they must be provided with proper equipment and resources as well as support the guidance from supervisor to complete the task. Short notices and strict deadlines must be reduced. And flexible working hours, vacations and certain incentives must be given to the employees as a reward for the accomplishment of the tasks.
The culture of the organization must be made friendlier. Employees must be given freedom to communicate freely as and when required. While undergoing any change process employees must be prepared. They should be aware of the fact that they are about to enter in a transitional phase.
Management should devise a policy regarding job stress and make it known to employees. This policy must be revised regularly, improved and implemented effectively and recommendations made by employees to reduce stress must be taken in to account. Employees should be encouraged to report and consult whenever they feel stressed. The procedure could be made confidential if the need be. And employees must be advised on life style factors such as smoking, health eating, and weight control, personal hygiene and need for physical activities. This would not only make the employees feel important but also will help the organization to keep its employees health, motivated and productive.
Management must off and on check if there are any traces of stress found among employees. It must provide its employees with orientation and training to help them stay stress free and healthy. It will also help the employees to cope with any stressful condition tactfully and avoid any sever consequences.
Management must involve employees in setting meaningful goals and performance measures for their work. This can be done informally between the employee and their immediate supervisor or as part of an organization’s formal performance management process. The key here is that each employee is actively engaged in the goal-setting process and takes ownership of the final agreed goals and measures.
Employees must be provided with feedback regularly on how they are performing. This should consist of both positive feedback on what the employee is doing right as well as feedback on what requires improvement. The feedback needs to be as objective as possible and delivered with the appropriate interpersonal and conflict resolution skills. It can be a mix of both informal feedback and feedback delivered as part of a formal performance management cycle.
Employees must be encouraged to modify the job situation. If they feel that their job has become too stressful (or too boring), it could be tailored according to their skills. And if they get promoted into a more stressful position that they are not able to handle, give them an option for a lateral transfer.
Management must organize training sessions for employees to help them understand what job stress is and how to prevent it. The training could include formal a well as informal sessions.
A formal and/ or informal procedure must be devised for the purpose of effective reporting and prevention of stress at workplace.
Management must have realistic expectations for nobody is perfect. Having unrealistic expectations for what they can accomplish sets up for failure and increased stress.
It is strongly believed that if the management of PTCL considers these recommendations, the output of the employees would definitely be increased and they will give high performance. It seems obvious that when employees are given importance and due value, and healthy and motivational environment is whenever emphasized, they will integrate individual goals with the organizational goals. They will feel themselves as a part of the organization. Will devotedly work for it and will take pride in being associated with it.
After analyzing the data collected, it is concluded that performance of the employees at PTCL is affected by stress. It has also been analyzed that personal tolerance level has an effect on a person’s intensity to be troubled by any stressful situation and trying to find the way out. So work load, dead lines, management styles and work place culture turned out to be sources of stress for employees and cause hindrance to the best possible performance of employees.
Some people at PTCL feel they are undergoing some stress. But they are not being given due attention for this issue. Job stress is taken for granted there and is not thought to be a critical problem to be taken care of. Management style is not appropriate and the culture is somewhat inflexible for the workers. Moreover the most important concern of the employees is that they are not satisfied with their job. It seems that they are living with the fear of losing their job at any minute. Historically, stress has been viewed as an inevitable consequence of work life or /and a health care issue. But no view is about how costly this problem is to employers. Stress interferes with human intellectual, emotional, and interpersonal functioning and the whole business industry is being impacted by the way people are affected by stress. Because Job stress comes in different forms and affects the mind and body in different ways. Small things such as a copy machine that never seems to work when in need or phones that won’t quit ringing can make you go wild. Mostly stress comes from having too much or not enough work or doing work that is not up to the satisfaction level. Conflicts with the boss, coworkers, or customers are other major causes of stress. Job stress not only affects the work life but damages the personal/ home life and health badly.
Job stress is negatively related to the performance of employees. Wright (2009) said psychologically well employees consistently exhibit higher job performance, these findings are practically relevant as well. Although some employers feel that workers should reduce their own stress by simplifying their lives and making a better effort to care for their health, it has been feel that the chief responsibility for reducing stress should be management because when people get worked beyond their capacity, companies pay the price. Thus unless management does not pay proper attention to the issue of job stress, employees can never perform efficiently and they cannot be satisfied with their job. This could lead to certain counterproductive activities such as absenteeism, being late from office, incomplete tasks, staying behind the schedule and deadlines, failing to achieve the targets and meeting the expectations of the management, adapting to the culture, damaging, stealing and misusing the equipment at workplace, working at slower pace, physical illness, and turn over. All these responses to stress make the employer pay for them and the organization suffers. So Job stress is as much a business issue as it is a health issue. And employers must give proper attention to the issue.
In this regard the research at hand calls attention to the due need of further research in this aspect. Thus the present study is an attempt to open doors to future researches in this area.
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