A Study on Job Stress of
Nationalised and Non Nationalised Bank Employees


Prof. Dileep Kumar. M
Sinhgad Business School
Sinhgad Technical and Educational Society
Kusgoan, Lonavala, Maharashtra-410 401


Hans Selye first introduced the concept of stress in to the life science in 1936. He defined stress as "The force, pressure, or strain exerted upon a material object or person which resist these forces and attempt to maintain its original state." Stress is ubiquitous in our society. It has become an integral part of everyday living. Researchers on stress make it clear that, to enter in to the complex area of stress, especially in to the area of occupational stress, is very difficult. Stress is an unavoidable consequence of modern living. With the growth of industries, pressure in the urban areas, quantitative growth in population and various problems in day to day life are some of the reasons for increase in stress. Stress is a condition of strain that has a direct bearing on emotions, thought process and physical conditions of a person. Steers (1981) indicate that, "Occupational stress has become an important topic for study of organisational behaviour for several reasons." 1. Stress has harmful psychological and physiological effects on employees, 2. Stress is a major cause of employee turn over and absenteeism, 3. Stress experienced by one employee can affect the safety of other employees, 4. By controlling dysfunctional stress, individual and organisation can be managed more effectively.

During the past decade, the banking sector had under gone rapid and striking changes like policy changes due to globalisation and liberalisation, increased competition due to the entrance of more private (corporate) sector banks, downsizing, introduction of new technologies, etc. Due to these changes, the employees in the banking sector is experiencing a high level of stress. The advent of technological revolution in all walks of life coupled with globalisation, privatisation policies has drastically changed conventional patterns in all sectors. The banking sector is of no exemption. The 1990s saw radical policy changes with regarding to fiscal deficit and structural changes in India so as to prepare her to cope with the new economic world order. Globalisation and privatisation led policies compelled the banking sector to reform and adjust to have a competitive edge to cope with multinationals led environment. The advent of technological changes, especially extensive use of computers in the sector has changed the work patterns of the bank employees and has made it inevitable to downsize the work force in the sector. The implications of the above said transformations have affected the social, economical and psychological domains of the bank employees and their relations. Evidence from existing literature states that more than 60% of the bank employees have one or other problem directly or indirectly related to these drastic changes. Along with other sectors the banking sector also leaning towards the policy of appointing contract labours while various compulsive as well as rewarding options such as VRS, etc. All the factors discussed above are prospective attributes to cause occupational stress and related disorders among the employees. Although a lot of studies have been conducted on the psychosocial side of the new policy regime in many sectors, there are only few studies, as far as the banking sector is concerned, while the same sector has been drastically influenced by the new policies.

In this juncture, the present study is undertaken to address specific problems of bank employees related to occupational stress. This throw light in to the pathogenesis of various problems related to occupational stress among bank employees. The study will be helpful to drawn up further policy on the related fields and act as a secondary data for further research.

Review of Literature

Beehr and Newman (1978) define occupational stress as "A condition arising from the interaction of people and their jobs and characterised by changes within people that force them to deviate from their normal functioning."

Cobb (1975) has the opinion that, "The responsibility load creates severe stress among workers and managers." If the individual manager cannot cope with the increased responsibilities it may lead to several physical and psychological disorders among them. Brook (1973) reported that qualitative changes in the job create adjustmental problem among employees. The interpersonal relationships within the department and between the departments create qualitative difficulties within the organisation to a great extent.

Miles and Perreault (1976) identify four different types of role conflict: 1. Intra-sender role conflict 2. Inter sender role conflict. 3. Person- role conflict; 4. Role over load. The use of role concepts suggests that job related stress is associated with individual, interpersonal, and structural variables (Katz and Kahn, 1978; Whetten, 1978). The presence of supportive peer groups and supportive relationships with super visors are negatively correlated with R.C. (Caplan et al., 1964).

There is evidence that role incumbents with high levels of role ambiguity also respond to their situation with anxiety, depression, physical symptoms, a sense of futility or lower self esteem, lower levels of job involvement and organisational commitment, and perceptions of lower performance on the part of the organisation, of supervisors, and of themselves (Brief and Aldag, 1976; Greene, 1972).

Ivancevich and Matteson (1950) indicate,  "Lack of group cohesiveness may explain various physiological and behavioural outcomes in an employ desiring such sticks together." Workplace interpersonal conflicts and negative interpersonal relations are prevalent sources of stress  (Dewe, 1993; Lang, 1984; Long et al., 1992), and are existed with negative mood depression, and symptoms of ill health (Israel et al., 1989; Karasek, Gardell and Lindell, 1987; Snap, 1992).

Lack of participation in the decision making process, lack of effective consultation and communication, unjustified restrictions on behaviour, office politics and no sense of belonging are identified as potential sources of stressors. Lack of participation in work activity is associated with negative psychological mood and behavioural responses, including escapist drinking and heavy smoking (Caplan et al., 1975).

According to French and Caplan (1975), "Pressure of both qualitative and quantitative overload can result in the need to work excessive hours, which is an additional source of stress." Having to work under time pressure in order to meet deadlines is an independent source of stress. Studies shown that stress levels increase as difficult deadlines draw near.

Stress is often developed when an individual is assigned a major responsibility without proper authority and delegation of power. Interpersonal factors such as group cohesiveness, functional dependence, communication frequency, relative authority and organisational distance between the role sender and the focal persons are important topics in organisational behavior (Vansell, Brief, and Schuler).

Stress develops when an individual feels he is not competent to undertake the role assigned to him effectively. The individual feels that he lacks knowledge, skill and training on performing the role (stress, conflict management and counselling, p.283).

Occupational stress is an increasingly important occupational health problem and a significant cause of economic loss. Occupational stress may produce both overt psychological and physiologic disabilities. However it may also cause subtle manifestation of morbidity that can affect personal well-being and productivity (Quick, Murphy, Hurrel and Orman, 1992). A job stressed individual is likely to have greater job dissatisfaction, increased absenteeism, increased frequency of drinking and smoking, increase in negative psychological symptoms and reduced aspirations and self esteem (Jick and Payne, 1980). The use of role concepts suggests that occupational stress is associated with individual, interpersonal and structural variables (Kutz and Kahn, 1978; Whetten, 1978).

Studies on burnout found that, it is related to exhaustion and work over load factors in various organisations (Green and Walkey, 1988; Chermiss, 1980; Freudenberger, 1977, 1980).  Stress on the job is costly for employers, reflected in lower productivity, reduced motivation and job skills, and increased and accidents.

Because employees spend roughly one third of their lives working in an organisational goal setting, employee mental health is of particular importance. Two people exposed to the same threatening situation may differ substantially in the magnitude and duration of stress responses and stress related health problems might emerge in several contrasting ways both physically and mentally. Some of these variations result from differences in temperament, social resources and the effectiveness of the coping responses that the individual brings to bear on the stressful transaction.

The present study is an attempt to investigate and to compare the level of stress experienced by the employees of the Nationalised and Non- Nationalised banks in the Kottayam and Eranakulam district of Kerala. The study aims to ascertain the level of stress and coping strategies adopted by the bank employees (both Nationalised and Non Nationalised) in the Kottayam district.



The population selected for this particular study is employees of Nationalised and Non-Nationalised banks in Kottayam and Ernakulam district of Kerala.


The sampling population of this research includes 200 employees of nationalised and non-nationalised bank in Kottayam and Eranakulam district, of Kerala. Out of which, 100 employees from Nationalised and remaining 100 from Non-Nationalised bank.  This research followed the systematic random sampling method representative population. The population belongs to an age group of 30-40. Only male population considered in this research.

Tool of data collection

A multi dimensional analysis of job stress and coping patterns of employees is the primary focus of this research. A methodology adopted for this research is given below.

The variables selected for the study are: -

1.  Role Conflict
2.  Role Overload
3.  Role Ambiguity
4.  Lack of Group Cohesiveness
5.  Feeling of Inequality
6.  Lack of Supervisory Support
7.  Constraints of Changes, Rules and Regulations
8.  Job Difficulty
9.  Inadequacy of Role Authority
10.  Job Requirements Capability Mismatch


1. To analyse the level of occupational stress among the Nationalised and Non-nationalised bank employees.


1. Stress will be higher among Non-nationalise bank employees compared to nationalised bank employees

Analysis and Results

Table 1

Mean, SD and t-values of stress scores and coping scores of respondents with respect to their organisation.

Sl No.



Nationalised Bank

Non ľNationalised Bank









Total stress








** Indicates significance at 0.01 level

The table (Table 1) indicates the significant difference between the nationalised and non-nationalised bank employees in their level of stress. The table (Table 1) indicates that the non-nationalized bank employees have high mean score (86.97) in relation to occupational stress compared to nationalized bank employees (75.84) in this particular research. This shows non-nationalise member's high-level stress compared to nationalize members.

Table 2

Mean, SD and t- values of stress scores of respondents with respect to selected occupational stress variables.


Nationalised Bank

Non-Nationalised Bank
























































































The above table (Table 2) indicates that among the selected occupational stress variables role over load has the highest mean value of (12.3) followed by role conflict (10.23) in the nationalized banks. In the non-nationalized bank category also these variables have the high mean scores with 16.15 and 11.56 respectively. Job difficulty has the lowest mean score in both categories (4.21 and 5.92 respectively) followed by inadequacy of role authority (5.83 and 5.72 respectively).


1. There is significant difference in the level of occupational stress between Nationalised and Non-Nationalised bank employees.
2. Occupational stress is found higher among Non-Nationalized employees compared to Nationalised employees.
3. Among different occupational stress variables Role over load, Role authority Role conflict and Lack of Senior level Support contribute more to the occupational stress among Non-Nationalized employees compared to Nationalised employees.


This section incorporates a short discussion, only on the first major four stress factors, widely recognised in this research finding, that in tune with the hypothesis; even though the study found significant difference at all variable selected for the study.

The findings of present research are in line with the hypothesis stated above. The hypothesis stated that Stress will be higher among non nationalized banks compared to nationalized banks. The findings of the present research accept the research hypothesis, as it observed significant difference between the two sectors, in the level of organisational stress. The findings clearly indicate that stress is higher among non-nationalised bank employees compared to nationalise bank employees. The analysis of stress among nationalised and non nationalised bank employees indicates that the in both sectors the Role over load, Role authority, Role conflict and Lack of Senior level Support are the major stressors in this research. The discussion here is in line with the significant variable selected for the study.

The study indicates that the non-nationalised employees have high workload compared to nationalise bank employees. The members feel that the work allotted is taxing to the employees and it is beyond their expertise and limit. Cobb (1975) has the rightly pointed out in the context that "The responsibility load creates severe stress among workers and managers." Member's confidence on his or her own performance expectations and contributions at work are affected because of hurry nature of work. A feeling of incongruity between the skills they have the workload given to them is the factor behind high stress among members in non-nationalised bank.

The study indicates that the non-nationalised bank employees have high role conflict compared to nationalise bank employees. This indicates that a set of expectations applied to the incumbent by the organisation and the role they perform within the organisation is not in congruence with each other. Lower the levels of role clarity members feel at work higher the level of stress. Cooper and Marshall (1978) rightly indicates in this context that indicated that "role conflict exists when an individual in a particular work role is torn by conflicting demands or doing things he or she really does not want to-do or does not think our part of job satisfaction". In the turbulent competition status of in banking sector existence is the factor than maintenance. Members have to work under pressure, to compete with other non-nationalised banks. Member having different work skill and expertise also have to tune their work in accordance with the demand. Here the chances of role conflict and its impact will be higher. McGrath (1970), rightfully pointed out that " stress is a substantial imbalance between the environmental demand and the response capability of the focal organism." The finding of Lazarus and Folkman (1980), also substantiate the discussion that stress will generate among human beings where a particular relationship between the person and the environment, that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his her resources and endangering his/her well being." The situation of non-nationalised bank employees is similar to the above-mentioned findings of eminent researchers. Where there is high uncertainty about their nature of work, develop high job stress among members.

The study indicates that the non-nationalized bank employees have high ambiguity compared to nationalize bank employees. Higher the ambiguity related to the work and work schedule higher the occupational stress. The role ambiguity results when there low congruity between the expectations of the work behaviour and the scheduled task. There is lack of clarity about what to do, when to do, where to do and how to do. Experimental and longitudinal studies of the effects of role ambiguity reveal that lack of clarity about behavioural expectations causes a great concern with own performance, lower actual and perceived group productivity, less concern or involvement with the group, lower job satisfaction, unfavourable attitudes towards role senders, and increased tension, anxiety, depression, and resentment (Caplan and Jones, 1975). The present research is in line with the above finding that the members of non-nationalised members are facing high role ambiguity at work because of lack of clarity about behavioural expectations on work. Higher the level of ambiguity, higher the level of stress experienced by members at work. Lack of free flow information all across the hierarchical level, is the problem lead to role ambiguity at work. Role ambiguity exists when an individual has inadequate information about his work role. 

The study indicates that the non-nationalized bank employees have high feeling towards lack of supervisory support compared to nationalize bank employees. This indicates that the non-nationalized bank employees are not getting adequate support from the superiors in their work accomplishments and dissemination of functional duties.  Lower the level of support employees obtained from the organisation higher the level of stress experienced by the employees at work. The superior's contribution to buffer the effect of work stress is found less in this research. Anoopsingh et al. (1991) rightly indicates that "Greater support from supervisors and co-workers in the workplace is strongly associated with greater feeling of well-being and any undermining from their part put the employee under irritability, anxiety, depression, and somatic disorders." Inadequate support given by the superiors and their subordinates contribute considerable stress for employees in non-nationalized bank in this research.


1. Physical problems and health problems like heart diseases, ulcers, arthritis, increased frequency of drinking and smoking, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine and other stress related disorders
2. Psychological and behavioural problems: psychological problems like change of moods, inferiority complex, widespread resentment, reduced aspirations and self esteem, reduced motivation and job skills,
3. Organisational: job dissatisfaction, behavioural problems, production turn over, increased absenteeism, increased accidents, lower productivity,


To alleviate the negative consequences of stress more effort on the part of policy makers, practitioners, and organizational management envisaged. The author, there by making a few effort to suggest some effective measures, that can alleviate the stress of bank employees and leads to their better adjustment within the organisation. They can be detailed as follows:


Stress Management Program


Organize a Stress Management Program that focuses on different leave categories of employees at all hierarchical level.

Many situational observations of employee employer interaction identified within the organization can lead to stress at work. These include:

  • Relationships with co-workers
  • An unsupportive supervisor
  • Fear towards management
  • Lack of consultation and communication
  • Too much interference with employees private, social or family life
  • Too much or too little to do
  • Too much pressure, unrealistic deadlines
  • Work that is too difficult or not demanding enough
  • Lack of control over the way the work is done
  • Poor working conditions
  • Being in the wrong job
  • Feeling undervalued
  • Feeling Job difficulty
  • Insecurity and the threat of unemployment      Task


Organize Stress Management training programs' with specific human resource development goals in consultation with Senior Management.


A successful Stress Management training programs' requires the involvement and support of top officials and the cooperation from employees. It depends upon a clear plan, ongoing evaluations of progress, and clear goals for measuring success.

Stress management Strategies

1. Take adequate steps to redesign jobs, which are taxing to employees' abilities and capacities.
2. To reduce the workload role slimming and role adjustment process should be resorted to.
3. Encourage the cross-functional and interdepartmental work arrangements to reduce work related stress among low performers and low achievers.
4. Facilitate role enlargement, role linkage and role enrichment to manage role isolation, self-role distance and role erosion.
5. Adequate role clarification to be made whenever necessary to eliminate role ambiguity.
6. Introduce more job oriented training programs, which improve employees skill and their confidence to work effectively.
7. Do concentrate on career planning to manage role stagnation.
8. Encourage open channel of communication to deal work related stress.
9. Let the employee clear about hard work related reward and smart work related reward.
10. Adequate resources i.e., material, technical and human, should be extended to make employee feel safe and secure to perform their work effectively.
11. Undertake stress audit at all levels in the organization to identify stress area improving conditions of job and alleviating job stress.
12. Ensure justified use of grievance handling procedures to win trust and confidence of employees and reduce their anxiety and tension related to job related problems.
13. Encourage involvement of leaders and personnel at various levels in all phases of strategic interventions to ensure successful and long-standing interventions.
14. Formulate HRD interventions and individual stress alleviation program.
15. Introduce 'Pranayam' (Brain Stilling and control of Vital Force) as a holistic managerial strategy to deal with occupational strategy.
16. Provide counseling on work related and personnel problems and support from a team of welfare health and counseling staff.
17. Attractive system of reward and recognition of good work.
18. Ensure an organizational climate with career planning and career growth to ensure further the retention of talented employees.
19. Extent the counseling practices at employee family level including dependents and relatives.
20. Effective follow up should be made to different leave category absentee employees.
21. Organization should organize regular check up and those found suffering from very high stress should be subjected to stress management process.
22. Cut back excessive hours, which directly affect the employee's physical fitness.
23. Develop realistic self-concept among employees that is neither inflated nor deflated.
24. Encourage management to practice proactive approaches rather than reactive approaches as a strategic step.


The productivity of the work force is the most decisive factor as far as the success of an organisation is concerned. The productivity in turn is dependant on the psychosocial well being of the employees. In an age of highly dynamic and competitive world, man is exposed to all kinds of stressors that can affect him on all realms of life. The growing importance of interventional strategies is felt more at organisational level. This particular research was intended to study the impact of occupational stress on Nationalized and Non ľNationalized Bank employees. Although certain limitations were met with the study, every effort has been made to make it much comprehensive. The author expects to draw attention from policy makers and men of eminence in the related fields to resume further research.

References and Bibliography

Beehr, T.A.& Newman, J.E. (1978). "Job Stress, employ Health and Organisational Effectiveness- A fact analysis model and literature reviews." Personal Psychology, 31, pp.665-669.

Caplan, R.D., & Jones, K.W. (1975). "Effects of work load, role ambiguity, and type A personality on anxiety, Depression, and heart rate." Journal of Applied Psychology, 60,713-719.

Chermiss, C. (1980). "Staff burnout: "Job stress in human service." Beverly Hills: Sage.

Dewe, P.J. (1989). "Examining the nature of work stress: Individual evaluations of stressful experiences and coping." Journal of Human relations, Vol.42, No.11, pp.993-1013.

Ivancevich, J.M.& Matteson, M.T. (1980). "Stress and Work: A Managerial Perspective." Scottforesman & Co., Glen view Illinois.

Ivancevich, J.M., Matteson, M.T. and Preston. (1982). "Occupational Stress: Type A behaviour and physical well being." A.M.J., 25,2, 373-391.

Kahn et.al. (1964). "Organisational Stress: Studies in role conflict and ambiguity." Wiley, New York.

Portello, J.Y. and Long, B.C. (2000). "Appraisals and Coping with work place interpersonal Stress: A model for women managers." Journal of Counselling Psychology, Vol.48, No.2, pp.144-56.

Selye, H. (1974). "Stress without Distress." Harper and Row Publications, U.S.A.

Selye, H. (1936). "A syndrome produced by diverse noxious agents." Nature, 138:32.

Selye, Hans. (1978). "The general adaptation syndrome and the disease of adaptation." Journal of clinical endocrinology.

Shailendra Singh. (1990). "Organisational Stress and Executive Behaviour." Sreeram Centre for Industrial Relation and Human Resources, New Delhi.

Shailendra Singh, (1990). "Executive under stress- Exploration in the Structure and Dynamics." Classical Publishing Co., New Delhi.

Vansell, M., Brief, A.P. and Schuler, R.S. (1981). "Role conflict and Role ambiguity: Integration of the literature and directions for future research." Journal of Human relations, Vol.34, No.1, pp.43-66.

Additional Readings

Ahmed, S.  Nurala, B.S. (1985). "A Study of Stress among executives." Journal of personality and clinical studies,Vol.1, No (2), pp.47-50.

Bajpai, B.L. (1992). "Stress management." Financial Express, Bombay, June.

Halt, R.R. "Occupational Stress." (1982). In Handbook of Stress: Theoretical & Clinical Aspects. Leo Golberger & Shlome Breznats (Eds.), Free Press, London.

Pestonjee D.M. (1992). "Stress and Coping the Indian Experience." Sage Publications, New Delhi.

Sreelatha, P. (1991). "Stress: A Theoretical Perspective." Stress: Sources, Effects, and Resolution Strategies and Stress Research Indian Perspective in Organisational Stress. V.S.P.Rao Eda. Sage Publishing House, New-Delhi, pp6-163.

Prof. Dileep Kumar. M
Sinhgad Business School
Sinhgad Technical and Educational Society
Kusgoan, Lonavala, Maharashtra-410 401

Source: E-mail January 13, 2006


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