Business Administration & Management

The Effect of Stress on Workers’ Productivity

The Effect of Stress on Workers’ Productivity




It has been acknowledged that job stress plays a role in employee performance. This nation has its root in what is called attention theory. Simply put attention theory asserts that the experience of stress has the effect of reducing on individual ability to concentrate on multiple tasks. Anyone who has worked feverishly to meet a deadline understands this relationship intimately. It has been “standard fare” in basic management training to point out that there exists some optimal level of stress below which employees are unmotivated and above which they are overwhelmed. Unfortunately, managers who attempt to find an optimal stress level for their workgroup frequently find their effort inconsistent result or downright negative results.

Stress is a universal element and persons from nearly every work of life have to face stress. The universality of stress is such that it is experienced by employees all around the globe and has become a major problem facing employers, particularly in developing nations where employers do not realize the impacts of stress on employee productivity.

Workplace stress is indeed a costly epidemic, Rebecca Maxan in her article published by FDU magazines in 1999 noted that three out of every four American workers described their work as stressful and the problem is not limited to those shores, in fact occupational stress has been defined as a “global epidemic” by the united nations international labor organization.

Stress is a factor in every one’s life. Particularly during major events such as marriage divorce or buying a home. But according to the Holmes-Rachs life event scale, which rates the level of stress caused by such event, many of the most stressful events are related to the workplace firing business readjustments, change in financial status line of work, trouble with the boss, varieties in work hours or conditions retirement and vacations.

Surprisingly, stress is not always a bad thing. It can stimulate creativity and productivity. According to Robert Osterman, professor of psychology at FDUS Tecnneck-Hackensack campus, “No one reaches peak performance without being stressed whether an athlete, an office worker or a manager” the natural pattern of human behavior is to experience a stress-causing tension and then return to a normal realized state. The problem occurs when stress is so overwhelming or constant that this pattern is broken and that is to say that stress leads to old age. An internationally applicable measure of occupation stress develop by Osterman, named SWS for Situation (s) work (w) and self (s), encompasses all three dimension because Osterman says survey that only look at work factors are not giving the full picture” for factory workers, stress such as dealing with dangerous heavy equipment or working in an uncomfortable environment in contrast office workers are more likely to experience stress that is related to interpersonal relationship on job “people pressures” such as under supervision, tension among team members and fear aversion of conflict can cause stress “for many people, the core of their social life is the people with whom they work with” explains Ostermam” but work is not a socio situation to good relationship such as rumors and power play among executive who are comparing for the next promotion”.

Occupational stress is not related only to what goes on at work conflicts between the demands of the workplace and home life are increasingly common. According to a survey completed for the US department of labor, ten percent (10%) of people who are married or living with children less than 18 years experience several work-family conflicts and an additional twenty-five percent (25%) report moderate levels of conflict. Every problem has a corresponding solution, hence some techniques can be implemented to prevent or reduce excessive stress. These techniques and their implementation constitute the process involved in stress management.


There has been increasing amount of talk about “employees stress” over the decades. Despite the availability of other companies within the environment of Afikpo North Local Government Area, the employees or the workers experiences a lot of stress on workers’ productivity in an organization or firm. This research is aimed at understanding and bringing out an encompassing view of stress and its relationship with employees’ performance (productivity). The researcher thus will give an overview of work stress, productivity, and their inter-relationship in an organization. Hence, the effects of stress on workers’ productivity. Lawal (2006:10) this is the type that leads to anxiety depression, frustration, fatigue, and low self-esteem.

Behavioral effects: This is the type that leads to accident proneness, substance abuse impaired speech, restlessness and forgetfulness. Cognitive effect: this is the type of stress effect that affects our through process lead to difficulty or fear of meaningful discussion forgetfulness hypersensitivity mental blocks and difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly and this may be intensified by substance abuse.


The study is aimed at an in-depth analysis of workplace stress. Hence, understanding its effects on productivity.

Therefore the objective of the study include:

  1. To have a dept understanding of work stress
  2. To know the various types of stress
  3. To evaluate the negative effects of stress on workers
  4. To evaluate the positive effects of stress on workers
  5. To understand how stress affects productivity
  6. To understand the various strategies and methods of effective stress management.


The questions that will be asked in this research to enable the collection of the required data for the study will include:

  1. Is stress a necessary condition for the attainment of optimum productivity?
  2. Does stress encourage productivity in organization?
  3. Does high stress beget high productivity or otherwise?
  4. Does low stress beget low productivity or otherwise?
  5. Does mild stress hurt workers’ productivity?
  6. Does mild stress have positive effect on workers’ productivity?


  1. This study will be of great use to students who want to know about the topic.
  2. It will also serve as reference material for future study
  3. This study will enlighten managers in all fields of work and employees all around the globe to add knowledge on this that is studied
  4. It will widen the horizon and increase the level of understanding of the effects of stress in the area of study,


The researcher narrowed down the study to a particular organization, Edwin and Emmanuel table water Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.


The study is not without limitations, the limitations include the following

  1. TIME: among all, time is the highest possible limitation to the study. The time available for the study was limited the horizon to which the researcher may wish to expend the study. He will confine all his activities within the given time available for the research.
  2. FINANCE: the fact that the researcher is still a student who has no external financial assistance; he was faced with a financial challenge. The researcher is still a student and has no external financial support from any institution, this limits the extent he may wish to research as he will not exceed his financial capabilities.
  3. QUESTIONNAIRE ADMINISTRATION: in the cause of administering the questionnaire, the researcher was not be given adequate attention. This posed a challenge to the efficacy of the study.
  4. LEVEL OF LITERACY OF RESPONDENTS: in the area of study, majority of the employees are just SSCE holders, this posed some limitations to the researcher as it limited the questions to the level they can possibly answer.


  1. STRESS: a physiological and emotional response to stimulate that which places physical or psychological demands on an individual.
  2. STRESS MANAGEMENT: this refers to the wide spectrum of techniques and psychotherapies aimed at controlling a person’s level of stress, especially chronic stress to improve functionally on daily basis.
  3. MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES: these are special methods and procedures professionally designed for application to managerial problems by managers in their managerial functions and duties.
  4. PERFORMANCE: this refers to individuals’ output at a workplace.
  5. PRODUCTIVITY: this refers to an organization output calculates thus total production per total input calculated thus: total production per total input (man, materials, money and machines).
  6. EMPLOYEE: individual employed to work in an organization or any given business establishment.
  7. PSYCHOTHERAPIES: these are techniques or procedure that is used as palliatives to any mental-emotional or behavioral disorder like those caused by stress.

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