International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –
  6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)
ISSN 0976-6502 (Print)
ISSN 0976-6510 (Online)
Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013), pp. 163-174
Journal Impact Factor (2012): 3.5420 (Calculated by GISI)                 ©IAEME

                        WORK STRESS: A STUDY ON

                                     Dr. Anukrati Sharma
                                       Associate Professor,
                             Faculty of Commerce and Management,
                            University of Kota, Kota, Rajasthan, India


          The common sayings like “Health is Wealth: and “Work is Worship” seems to be
  gone now a days because of the reason of stress. Stress is a crucial word in organizations in
  the present scenario. Without knowing the mental status and physical capacity and caliber,
  organizations are just assigning work to the employees. This is causing stress. Stress at times
  can be taken as a positive word also but maximum times it is taken in a negative sense. The
  present paper is an attempt to focus on the stress level and how to reduce that stress from the
  retail sector employees. This study highlights the reasons behind the stress and also gives
  suggestions to overcome from those stressful environments. Certainly this research is helpful
  for the companies as well as for the employees working in the retail sector.

  Keywords: Stress, Work, Environment, Physical Capacity, Retail


          Today no one can save himself from the word “Stress “.We can feel it at all stages of
  life. There were no specific reasons for stress. Lot many time people complain about this that
  they are in Stress, because of XYZ reasons. We truly need to focus on this word, actually we
  are living in a era of cut throat competition along with lots of expectations from ourselves as
  well as from our surroundings, and when we are not able to fulfill it or get it, we feel
  frustrated and it creates a stage of Stress. It is just like, to carry a problem 24 hours with us
  and then the same problem will create a situation and stage of stress in our minds. Here in
  this paper the researcher has attempted to focus on such factors which are responsible to
  create stress among the retail employees as well as it has been also analyzed what are the
  factors by which retailers can remove stress from the employees.

International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –
6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)

         Life is so complex that it is very much needed to make a balance and a fit between your
internal state and external environment in which you have to survive. We are living one life but we
have to work in different environments where we have to deal with different types of people so it is
very much required to implement the behaviors accordingly and to enhance the capabilities. Hans
Selye, one of the leading authorities on the concept of stress, described stress as "the rate of all wear
and tear caused by life." Lazarus and Folkman”s (1984) definition of stress reflects very clearly this
way of thinking. They say that stress is,” a particular relationship between the person and the
environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and
endangering his or her well-being.
         Based on the importance of Stress Management, an attempt is made in this paper to assess the
level of stress in retail sector employees. The paper identifies the range of issues and problems, which
are serving either to help or hinder stress development. It suggests the necessary actions for the
improvement of stress level in the retail organizations.
Stress is more defined through the help of model shown below:

                Figure 1: Model of causes and consequences of work-related stress

       Work                                     Stress                         Health

 Risks for work stress               Stress reactions                 Long-term consequences

 •   High work load                  •       Physiological            On the worker
 •   Low control                     •       Behavioral
 •   Low support                         o       Productivity         •   High blood pressure
 •   Job insecurity                      o       Reporting sick       •   Affective disorders
 •   Long working hours                  o       Smoking              •   Disturbed metabolism
 •   Low income etc.                     o       Making errors        •   Alcohol dependence
                                         o       Etc.                 •   Musculoskeletal disorder
                                     •       Emotional reactions
                                     •       Cognitive reactions      For employees and companies

                                                                      •   Increase absenteeism
                                                                      •   Lateness
                                                                      •   Decreased turnover
                                                                      •   Impaired performance and
                                                                      •   Increased costs
                          Individual Characteristics                  •   Etc.

                              •   Gender
                              •   Age
                              •   Education
                              •   Competitiveness
                              •   Over commitment
                              •   Self-confidence
                              •   Etc.
Source: Adapted from Kompier and Marcelissen, 1990

The above model shows that the individual characteristics influence one’s ability to cope up with
stress. Stress can affect your health, your work and it can create a imbalance in a person’s life.

International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –
6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)


       Workplace stress is the response people may experience when presented with work
demand and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which
challenge their ability to cope. It has been described as an emotional experience associated
with nervousness, tension and strain, brought about by factors related to work.

         Workplace stress is a concern for both employers with national and international
statistics showing the prevalence has grown steadily over recent years.

        The stress process originates with exposure to stressors. Stressors are those elements
within an environment that cause stress and can be either physical or psychosocial. Physical
stressors include physical elements within an environment such as loud noise or physically
uncomfortable working conditions, whereas psychosocial stressors include pressures as tight
deadlines or job insecurity.

                                           Table 1
       Types of Stressors                             Examples
         Work factors               •   Excessive work hours
                                    •   Unreasonable performance demands
      Physical environment          •   Noise and overcrowding
                                    •   Health and safety risks
                                    •   Ergonomic problems
     Organizational practices       •   Lack of autonomy
                                    •   Poor communication
                                    •   Unclear roles and responsibilities
        Workplace change            •   Insecurity in job
                                    •   Poor chances for advancement or promotion
                                    •   High turnover
          Relationships             •   Office politics, competition and conflicts
                                    •   Poor relationships with superiors
                                    •   Bullying or harassment
   Source :,


        Stress has a great impact on one’s performance, when it comes to job or work stress,
then it becomes more important. Stress is all about how a person is dealing with it. To a
certain level stress is also positive and can motivate people to work but after reaching to the
“Hump” it becomes negative and starts damaging the whole personality. This is more
elaborate with the help of the following figure.

International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –
6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)

                                                  Figure 2

                                Good Stress                       Distress

                                           THE HUMP

                                        Zone                                     III health


                                 Arousal stress
            Source : The American Institute of Stress,

Factors Lead to Job Stress
The main factors which lead to job or work stress are as shown in the figure below:

        I                            II                              III                           IV
    Physical                       Work                        Organization                   Organizational
  Environment                     Factors                        Practice                        Factors
        |                            |                              |                               |
   Noise and                    Promotion /
  Overcrowding                   Demotion                      Rotating Shifts                 Life Changes
        |                            |                                |                              |
Poor Air Quality                 Workload                      Role Conflict                   Frustration
       |                             |                               |                               |
Health & Safety                                                 Occupation                    Technological
     Risk                       Job Security                     Demand                          Changes
                                     |                               |                               |
                                Meaningless                       Lack of                     Relationship at
                                   Tasks                       Participation                   Workplace
                                     |                               |                               |
                                                              Work Overload or
                                Harassment                      Under load                    Civic Amenities

International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –
6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)


The research paper consists of the following objectives:

   •   To study the stressful environment of the retail sector of employees of Jaipur.
   •   To analyze the effect of stress on employees.
   •   To identify the different methods and techniques to reduce work stress.


         Stress is a perceptional phenomenon resulting from a comparison between the
demand on a person and his ability to cope. An imbalance in this mechanism, when coping is
important, gives rise to the experience of stress, and to the stress response (Cox, 1978:25).
This transactional view highlights the importance of perception and the relationship of the
individual to the environment (i.e., work setting). If there is an improper fit between the
individual and the environment, the individual experiences stress.
Marshall and Cooper (1981) argue that stress is a different phenomenon from “pressure”
.Stress is something more than mere pressure. It carries strong overtones of the breakdown of
normal human performance . In an earlier work Cooper and Marshall (1978), concluded that
“stress is essentially individually defined and must be understand with reference to
characteristics of both the individual and his environment, as it is the outcome of the “two”.
         Holemes and Rahe (1967) defined stress as a stimulus event that presents unusual
demands . In the same context Weiten (1986) focused that stress is any circumstances or
transactions with the environment that threaten or are perceived to threaten our well – being
and thereby tax our adaptive capacities .
The views were also presented in( 1977)by Leslie and Lloyd that stress is the mental or
physical condition that results from a perceived threat of danger (physical or emotional ) and
the pressure to remove it .The International Labour Organization (ILO)(1986) define
psychosocial hazards in terms of the interactions among job context ,work organization and
management ,environmental and organizational conditions ,as well as the employees
competencies and needs .Those interactions which may prove hazardous influence employees
health through their perceptions and experiences .Cox and Griffiths (1995) provide an
alternative definition of psychosocial hazards .They define psychosocial hazards as ,”those
aspects of work design and their social and environmental contexts ,which have the potential
for causing psychological, social or physical harm .Wyatt and Watson (2002),in their annual
survey identified that mental health disorders can also put employees at greater risk of other
illnesses or increase the gravity ,duration and likelihood of recurrence of chronic illness .
         There are different causes of stress as Greenberg (2003) concluded that workplace
stress comes in many forms. Stress may be caused by occupational demands, role ambiguity,
role conflict or role judging. Moreover, illness is another major cause of stress. Catching a
cold, breaking an arm, and a sore back, all cause stress (Burns, 1990). Smith (1989) asserted
that environmental factors also can cause stress. Things such as very high altitude and very
cold climates can be stressful.
         Stress affects in numerous ways and can result in poor attendance, excessive use of
alcohol or other drugs, poor job performance, or even overall poor health (Mondy, Noe &
preneaux, 2002). High level of stress results in high levels of employee dissatisfaction,
illness, absenteeism, and turnover, low levels of productivity and as a consequence difficulty

International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –
6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)

in providing high quality service to customers (Organ & Bateman, 1989; Matteson & Ivancevich,
1987). Turner (2002) indicated that stress chemicals that stay in the body can obstruct the digestive
and immune systems, and also deplete human energy.
        Different strategies can be followed to overcome stress. Peterson (2003) found the
visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, spiritual growth and managing the worry time, as
techniques for dealing with stress. Simmons (2006) suggests that definitions of stress typically contain
one or more of the following four elements: stressors, adaptations (responses), perceptions
(cognitive/emotional), and effects (acute and chronic).

Research Methodology
        For the research a questioner has been developed and interview has been taken by the
researcher. The respondents selected for this study, are the employees from the retail sector units in
Jaipur of Reliance retail, More and Big Bazar. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire,
which was distributed at the workplace to the employees of Big Bazar, Reliance and More Retail in
Jaipur city. The study is explorative as well as descriptive. The sample size of the research is 100
employees being 50 from Big Bazar, 30 from Reliance and 20 from More Retail. The research also
includes secondary data which has been collected through various websites, newspapers, books etc.

                                    Table 2: Age of Respondents

           Response                Number of Respondents          Percentage (%) of Respondents
       Less than 20 years                   15                                 15
         21 – 30 years                      39                                 39
         31 – 40 years                      22                                 22
          41-50 years                       16                                 16
        50 years above                      08                                 08
             Total                         100

                                   Figure 3: Age of Respondents

The above table and figure shows that most of the employees who are working in the retail sector are
in the age group of 21-30 years.

International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –
6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)

                           Table 3: Gender of Respondents
                  Response                Number of              Percentage (%)
                                         Respondents             of Respondents
                     Male                      95                      95
                    Female                     05                      05
                     Total                    100

                            Figure 4 : Gender of Respondents
                                Number of Respondents



The table number shows that most of the employees who are engaged in retail sector are

Through the help of the structured questioner, the data was gathered and analyzed to
determine the stress level of employees. The data which the researcher gathered is presented
in the table form as follows -.

                            Table 4: Respondents in Stressed
                  Response                 Number of         Percentage (%)
                                          Respondents        of Respondents
                  Stressed                     98                  98
                 Not Stressed                  02                  02
                    Total                     100

                             Table 5: Respondents in Stressed
                              Number of Respondents

                                                                      Not Stressed


International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –
6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)

  Table 4 and Figure 1, indicates that 98% of the total respondents working in Retail sector
 were stressed, whereas only 2% felt that they were not stressed. This research helped to find
out that the stressed employees belonged to the lower management.

                                  Table 5: Reasons of Stress
                   Response                   Number of              Percentage (%)
                                             Respondents             of Respondents
              Being Overworked                         31                     31
             Being Underworked                         10                     10
                 Job Security                          20                     20
                 Progression                           06                     06
          Poor Working Environment                     15                     15
                   Bullying                            07                     07
               The Wrong Job                           11                     11
                    Total                             100

                                  Table 6 : Reasons of Stress

                             Number of Respondents

                                                                   Being Overworked
                      7%                   31%                     Being Underworked
                                                                   Job Security

                  15%                                              Progression
                                                                   Poor Working Environment
                                          10%                      Bullying
                                                                   The Wrong Job

Table 5 and figure 6 shows that the major cause of stress among the Retail sector employees
is overloaded work and work pressure. The retail employees felt that work assigned to them
is more than their capacity. Other than this, it is also observed that the working conditions are
also creating problems related to stress for the employees.

International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –
6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)

                                   Table 6: Factors of Stress

                   Response                       Number of        Percentage (%)
                                                 Respondents       of Respondents

             Communication Gap                         14                     14
                 Lack of Skills                        05                     05
             Work Life Imbalance                       46                     46
              Work Environment                         14                     14
           Unmatched Expectations                      08                     08
               Economic Status                         07                     07
             Resource Inadequacy                       06                     06
                     Total                             100

                                   Figure 7: Factors of Stress

                              Number of Respondents

                                                                 Communication Gap
                    8%                            5%             Lack of Skills
                                                                 Work Life Imbalance
                                                                 Work Environment
                   14%                                           Unmatched Expectations
                                                                 Economic Status
                                                                 Resource Inadequacy

Table 6 and Figure7 depict the various attributes of stress; work life imbalance is one of the
major attributes which contributes to stress for an employee. This can be regarded as a factor
in building up stress, because 52 employees complained that they were unable to balance
their personal and professional fronts successfully. Other major attributes found was the work
environment as per 204 employees.

International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –
6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)

                                            Table 7
                    Response                   Number of            Percentage (%) of
                                              Respondents             Respondents
           Interpersonal Relationship               14                     14
            Lack of Communication                   15                     15
              Lack of Job Security                  12                     12
              Work Life Imbalance                   46                     46
            Bullying or Harassment                  04                     04
              Excessive Workload                    07                     07
          Physical Work Environment                 02                     02
                     Total                         100

                                           Figure 8:
                                  Number of Respondents

                             7%    2%
                                                                Interpersonal Relationship
                                                                Lack of Communication

                                               15%              Lack of Job Security
                                                                Work Life Imbalance
                                                                Bullying or Harassment
                                            12%                 Excessive Workload
                                                                Physical Work Environment

The above table and figure shows that by improving the working environment, companies can
reduce the stress level of their employees. Based on the responses of the respondents, it is also
clear that motivation and encouragement also help out the employees to reduce the stress at

                Table 8: Methods and Techniques to Reduce Work Stress
               Response                 Number of        Percentage (%) of
                                       Respondents         Respondents
         Modification in Work               38                  38
       Meaningful Communication             12                  12
        Meditation/Yoga Practice            06                  06
           Freedom to Work                  07                  07
            Motivation and                  25                  25
          Time Management                   10                  10
                 Total                     100

International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –
6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)

                Figure 9: Methods and Techniques to Reduce Work Stress

                              Number of Respondents

                                                                 Methods and Techniques
                              2%                                 Environment
                                                                 Meaningful Communication

                                               38%               Meditation/Yoga Practice

             25%                                                 Freedom to Work

                                                                 Motivation and Encouragement

                                                                 Time Management
                     7%             12%
                             6%                                  Physical Work Environment

And from Table 8 and Figure 9, it is interpreted that Good working environment has a direct,
positive impact on the mind, giving it the strength and power to resist stress and therefore
maximum employees, that is, 30 thought of adopting it, to overcome stress. Moreover, 20
percent of the respondents expected that they required recognition, as acknowledging
people’s value / work is very important in times of stress. Based on the analysis; the
initiatives taken by the retail owners to reduce stress are - by providing good working
environment, continuous training, proper communication and conducting effective stress
management programmes.


        The research paper reflects that the maximum number of employees is in the age
group of between 21-30 years, who are working in the retail sector. Other than this most of
the male genders are working in retail outlets. The research also elaborates that 98 employees
out of 100 are in stressful condition and the reason of their stress is excessive workload at the
workplace. The most important factor behind facing stress is the work life imbalance between
the employees. The study reveals that by changing the work environment, and techniques
such as motivation, could be helpful in reducing their stress levels. Research findings show
that the most stressful type of work is that which includes excessive demands and pressures
that are not matched with employee’s knowledge and abilities.

International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –
6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)


   1. Organizations have to focus on finding out the stress levels of their employees.
   2. Working environment must be adequate to make a healthy and safe environment.
   3. Job participation must be given to the employees.
   4. Workload must be assigned to one’s capacity and caliber.
   5. New techniques to reduce stress must be adopted in the organization.
   6. Communication gap must be reduced and unwanted interference in the work must be
      stopped. Work freedom is also essential for the employees.
   7. Employees feel lack of work stress only when demands and pressures of work are
      matched to their knowledge and abilities.


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