Impact of Stress on the Performance of Construction Professionals in Nigeria
The research aims and objectives
The main objective of this study is to determine the impact of stress on the performance of construction professionals in Nigeria. The specific objectives are as follows;
(i) To determining the relationship between different stresses and their associated
effect to Nigerian construction professionals.(ii) To determine and rank the key stress factors that cause or increases the stress experienced by Nigerian construction professionals
(iii) To examine the influence of stressors on stresses (stress level) among Nigerian construction professionals.
(iv) To determine the level of effect of stress on coping behaviour of the Nigerian construction professionals.
(v) To determine the level of effect of stress on the performance of the Nigerian construction professionals.
(vi) To develop a model based on the review of literature on the stress management for construction professionals and final integrated Stressor–Stress–Coping behaviour– Performance framework for NG-CPs.
REVIEWED OF RELATED LITERATURE
The concept of stress has a long tradition in organizational and social literature (Somerfield and McCrae, 2000). However, evidence in contemporary literature shows that stress has been defined and viewed from diverse perspectives. Aitken and Crawford (2007) noted that the exploration of the concept of stress began with the work of Hans Selye in 1936. Selye in his work defined stress as the force, pressure, or strain exerted upon an object or a person that resists these forces and attempts to maintain its original state. He conceived of stress as a pathological human response to psychological, social, occupational and/or environmental pressures; and therefore concluded that stress is neither a simple nervous tension resulting from damage nor necessarily something to be avoided (Selye, 1978). Drawing from Selye’s submissions, Pulat (1997) and Martino and Musri (2001) opined that some amount of stress is necessary to generate enthusiasm and creativity for optimal productivity. They however cautioned that intense or too much stress in work environment poses great risk to workers’ safety, health and emotional stability. The foregoing submissions tend to suggest that stress is an unavoidable consequence of modern living and is not necessarily a negative phenomenon as long as it is within a tolerable level that can engender enthusiasm, creativity and productivity. Melia and Becerril (2007) on the other hand indicated that stress is an experience expressed in one’s feeling of being strained while the Health and Safety Executive (HSE, 2007) defined stress as the adverse reaction people have due to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them. Put differently, Lath (2010) was of the view that every person including a child, an adult, employed or unemployed faces stress in his/her everyday life. He defined stress as any challenge that exceeds the coping abilities of the individual. From the occupational perspective, stress has also been defined as the physical and emotional responses that occur when workers perceive an imbalance between their work demands and their capability to meet such demands. In other words, stress is a harmful physical and emotional response that can occur when there is conflict between job demands on a worker and his/her capacity to meet such demands (Brown, 2001; Lath, 2010). The general inference that can be drawn from the foregoing definitions is that stress can be considered as an inevitable and unavoidable component of life. It can also be inferred that occupational or work stress is the type of stress experienced as a direct consequence of a person’s occupation. Therefore, in this study, work stress is viewed as a human perception of conditions that scare, excite, annoy, threaten or strain individuals as a result of their occupation. In view of evidence in the literature on the negative consequences of stress among modern day work forces, a number of theoretical models on work stress have been developed. One such theory is the Person-Environment fit theory first proposed by French, Robert and Van Harrison in 1982. According to this theory, stress occurs as a result of an incongruity between the individual and the ambient environment (Melia and Becerril, 2007). The key elements of this model comprise objective and subjective variables that could be found in the environment or the person. Cox and Mackay (1979) were of the opinion that stress is a highly individual phenomenon which exists as a result of a person’s appraisal of his/her involvement in the environment. They pointed out that stress arises as a result of an imbalance between the person’s perception of the demand placed on him/her and his/her perception of ability to cope. Occupational stress may also be seen as comprising a three-dimensional syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment (Maslach et al., 1996). Stress in this context is seen as a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion due to long-term involvement in situations that are emotionally testing (Melia and Becerril, 2007). Maslach et al (2001) noted that individuals experiencing long periods of chronic job stress are likely to encounter physical and health problems, reduced productivity or effectiveness, lower levels of satisfaction and organizational commitment. This concept of stress suggests that long exposure to physically, mentally and emotionally testing activities could result in exhaustion which can lead to reduction in one’s level of productivity and accomplishment. The Demand-Control-Support Model developed by Karasek in 1979 is the most common approach to understanding stress and its effect on psychological and physical health. It focuses on the interaction between job demands and workers’ potential control over their work schedule. In line with this theory, Anderson (1976) noted that work stress is a consequence of man’s exposure to conflict with his fellow workers, disintegration of work process into isolated routines, shift work arrangement, automation, rapid technological change and urbanization. In essence, this model proposes that a combination of psychological job demands, decision making capacity, and social support in the work environment can help explain the various consequences of stress (Karasek and Theorell, 1990). This suggests that a combination of high job demand, low decision making capacity and social support, mechanization of work processes as well as routine jobs can be sources of occupational stress, which is detrimental to people’s health and productivity at work. From the above theories, it can be inferred that the concept of work stress is viewed as a behavioural attribute that varies from one individual and context to another. It can also be inferred that work stress is a result of the gap between demands of the work environment and the capacity to cope with the challenges thereof (Brown, 2001; Lath, 2010). Also as a common attribute of working life, stress can become a negative phenomenon if workers are unable to cope and lack social support. This can ultimately lead to a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion resulting in low productivity at work. Viewed from a different perspective, several authors have also argued that stress can occur whenever there is a change in the equilibrium in man–machine –environment interaction, which may result in the distribution of generated stress among the components of a production system. Since man is known to be the weakest component of the work-environment system, most common signs of stress are manifested in some notable human responses such as crying, smoking, excessive eating, drinking alcohol, fast talking, fear, anxiety, guilt, anger, grief, depression and disgust (Lazarus, 1966; Leung et al, 2005; Yip et al., 2005; Wahab, 2010). In Hong Kong for instance, high levels of job burnout have been identified among construction professionals. This has threatened their well-being and reduced industrial efficiency and long-term competitiveness of construction professionals in that country (Yip et al., 2005). Similarly, Stress has also been identified as one of the root causes of low productivity of construction site workers (Dainty et al., 1999; Lingard and Francis, 2004; Wahab, 2010). Moreover, recent studies show that construction workers experienced much more stress at their work place than at home, and this had negative effects on their health and productivity at work (Wahab, 2010; Halkos and Bousinakis, 2010). With regards to stress factors in the construction industry, Kenneth (2005) noted that construction project stress is the manifestation of factors that negatively erode values from the project, and thus make desired goal unattainable. Work overloads, working long hours and role ambiguity are known to be leading causes of stress amongst professionals in construction projects (Sutherland and Davidson, 1989). Statt (1994) asserted that multilevel subcontracting, time pressure; constant worker rotation and unstable work due to temporary contracts can contribute to psychosocial stress among workers. From a gender perspective, Loosemore and Waters (2004) found that male professionals in the construction industry suffer more stress in relation to risk taking, disciplinary matters and implications of mistakes, redundancy and career progression than their female counterparts while female professionals suffer stress due to opportunities for personal development, rate of pay, keeping with new ideas, business travel and accumulative effect of minor tasks. Previous studies shows that the general sources of stress among construction sector workers are quantitative work load, tight time schedule for work, lack of career guidance, poor communication among participants and bureaucracy. Others are inadequate room for innovation, unsatisfactory remuneration, ambiguity of job requirement, inadequate knowledge of project objectives, long working hours, tight schedules and unfavourable working conditions (Leiter, 1991; Ng et al., 2005). Also Lin and Chan (2009) found that temperatures above 30°C and relative humidity above 74% posed health threats to construction workers in Taiwan. They noted that physically overloaded construction workers were among the most vulnerable to the negative impact of temperature on their health and productivity. Most recently, it was found that noise, cold, conflict with one another, unintended and unforeseen phenomena, search for optimal solutions consistent with client’s budget and time frame, reaching comprises, moving and rearranging work schedules and other potentially intolerable conditions constitute stressors to workers in the construction industry in Nigeria (Wahab, 2010).
In this chapter, we described the research procedure for this study. A research methodology is a research process adopted or employed to systematically and scientifically present the results of a study to the research audience viz. a vis, the study beneficiaries.
Research designs are perceived to be an overall strategy adopted by the researcher whereby different components of the study are integrated in a logical manner to effectively address a research problem. In this study, the researcher employed the survey research design. This is due to the nature of the study whereby the opinion and views of people are sampled. According to Singleton & Straits, (2009), Survey research can use quantitative research strategies (e.g., using questionnaires with numerically rated items), qualitative research strategies (e.g., using open-ended questions), or both strategies (i.e., mixed methods). As it is often used to describe and explore human behaviour, surveys are therefore frequently used in social and psychological research.
POPULATION OF THE STUDY
According to Udoyen (2019), a study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitutes of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description.
This study was carried to examine impact of stress on the performance of construction professionals in Nigeria. Selected constructions firm Lagos state form the population of the study.
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
This chapter presents the analysis of data derived through the questionnaire and key informant interview administered on the respondents in the study area. The analysis and interpretation were derived from the findings of the study. The data analysis depicts the simple frequency and percentage of the respondents as well as interpretation of the information gathered. A total of eighty (80) questionnaires were administered to respondents of which only seventy-seven (77) were returned and validated. This was due to irregular, incomplete and inappropriate responses to some questionnaire. For this study a total of 77 was validated for the analysis.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain impact of stress on the performance of construction professionals in Nigeria. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in impact of stress on the performance of construction professionals in Nigeria
This study was on impact of stress on the performance of construction professionals in Nigeria. Five objectives were raised which included: To determining the relationship between different stresses and their associated effect to Nigerian construction professionals, to determine and rank the key stress factors that cause or increases the stress experienced by Nigerian construction professionals, to examine the influence of stressors on stresses (stress level) among Nigerian construction professionals, to determine the level of effect of stress on coping behaviour of the Nigerian construction professionals, to determine the level of effect of stress on the performance of the Nigerian construction professionals and to develop a model based on the review of literature on the stress management for construction professionals and final integrated Stressor–Stress–Coping behaviour– Performance framework for NG-CPs. A total of 77 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents were drawn from selected construction firms in Lagos. Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS).
In conclusion, understanding and addressing the impact of stress on the performance of construction professionals in Nigeria is a critical step towards creating a healthier and more productive work environment within the construction industry. By acknowledging the challenges posed by stress and implementing effective interventions, stakeholders can foster a sustainable and thriving construction sector that benefits both professionals and the nation’s economic growth.
Based on the findings of the study on the impact of stress on the performance of construction professionals in Nigeria, the following recommendations are proposed to address and mitigate the issue:
Implement Stress Management Programs: Construction companies should establish comprehensive stress management programs that prioritize the well-being of their employees. These programs should include workshops, seminars, and training sessions on stress reduction techniques, time management, and coping strategies to help professionals effectively manage stress in their work and personal lives.
Foster a Supportive Work Environment: Employers should create a supportive work environment that encourages open communication and feedback. Promote a culture where construction professionals feel comfortable discussing their stress-related concerns without fear of judgment or repercussions. Establishing support systems, such as employee assistance programs (EAPs) or counseling services, can provide a valuable outlet for addressing stress-related issues.
Encourage Work-Life Balance: Recognize the importance of work-life balance and actively promote it within the construction industry. Encourage professionals to take breaks, utilize their vacation days, and set reasonable working hours to avoid burnout. Companies should also consider flexible work arrangements, when possible, to accommodate personal and family needs.
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