Stress has been defined in different ways by different people. The business person may define stress as frustration or emotional tension; the air traffic controller may define it as a problem of alertness and concentration, while the biochemist may define stress as a purely chemical event (Ivancevich and Mattenson, 1990). Psychologists and biologists think of stress as any strain that interrupt the functioning of an organism (The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2007). Medical professionals think of stress as a factor that causes tension and disease (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 2003). From a layperson’s perspective, stress can be defined as feeling tense, pressure, and worry (Ivancevich, Konopaske and Mattenson, 2008). However, Selye (1956), a pioneering expert on the study of stress, defined stress as “the rate of wear and tear within the body at any one time because this is the immediate nonspecific result of function and damage” (p. 55). Bunge (1989), on the other hand, defined stress as “a person’s psychological and physiological response to the perception of a demand or challenge” (p. 93). According to Decenzo and Robbins (1999, p. 438), “stress is a dynamic condition in which an individual is confronted with an opportunity, constraint or demand, related to what he or she desires and for which the outcome is perceived to be both uncertain and important”. Ivancevich, Konopaske and Mattenson (2008), defined stress as
“an adaptive response, moderated by individual differences that is a consequence of any action, situation or event that places special demands on a person” (p. 224).
According to the Dictionary of Psychology by Ray Corsini (2002), performance is an “activity or behaviour that leads to a result such as a change in the environment”. In relation to job, Jamal (1984) defined performance as “an activity in which an individual is able to accomplish successfully the task/goal assigned to him, subject to normal constraint of the reasonable utilisation of available resources”
Studying stress is important to make the organizations aware that they have a moral and legal obligation to provide a work environment in which stress is kept to manageable levels (Jex, 1998). Being aware on the extent of stress in the library workplace, library administrators could design a necessary preventive technique for their staff to deal with stress. This can help the library staff to cope positively with different stressors in their workplace which may result in better performance and high level of well being. On the other hand, policy makers could formulate a guideline which is not too complex so that employees can follow them effectively without being stress.
Stress among academic librarians and library directors were the focus of study conducted by Wood (1989). The studies showed the potentially adverse impact of stress on individuals and organizations generally, and librarians and libraries specifically. The results of a study based on Hallberg’s “Stress Survey” was sent to the academic librarians in the Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET) region. Six types of stress criteria (time, task perfection, control over the job, competition, change, and physical symptomology) were used to evaluate such positions as library directors; acquisition librarians; catalog librarians; reference librarians; serial librarians; and others. The impact of technological, environmental, organizational, and other factors were also included in the study. Findings of the study found no evidence of unhealthy stress levels among the college librarians in the 40 academic libraries surveyed.
Caguiat (2001) studied the effects of stress and burnout on librarians in selected academic libraries in Metro Manila. The study was conducted to determine the level of burnout; identify the sources of job-related stress; determine the manifestations of stress; describe the level of burnout which affects job performance in relation to the following characteristics such as civil status, age, educational attainment, position/designation in the library, and length of employment in the library; and identify the individual coping mechanisms and stress reduction techniques provided by their organizations. A survey questionnaire was the main research instrument in the study. Results of the study revealed that academic librarians experienced very mild emotional exhaustion level. Low budget, overworked, low advancement, and working conditions were the most common organizational stressors on academic librarians. The most common manifestations of stress frequently experienced by librarians under study were backaches and headaches. With regards to their job performance (for the last six months), the respondents think that their overall function as librarians was excellent. On the other hand, librarians in academic libraries dealt with stress towards the positive way of coping, and the most common stress reduction techniques and remedies given to the librarians by their organizations were skill training programs, breaks during work, orientation programs, improved working conditions, and improved communications.
Job stress and burnout among librarians in selected special libraries in Metro Manila was another study conducted by Mohammad (2001). This study looked into the prevailing conditions of job stress and burnout among special librarians. The data were obtained through questionnaire. Majority of the respondents (59.5%) were found to be experiencing stress, while 27 percent were distressed or strained. Three (8.1%) respondents were found to be burned out.
Schuler (1982) identified seven categories of work stressors. These are (1) job qualities; (2) relationships; (3) organizational structure; (4) physical qualities; (5) career development; (6) change; and (7) role in the organization.
Quick and Quick (1984) propose four categories of stressors. These are (1) task demands; (2) role demands; (3) physical demands (elements in one’s physical setting or environment); and (4) interpersonal demands.
Burke (1988) provides six categories of stressors in the work place. These are physical environment, role stressors, organizational structure and job characteristics, relationships with others, career development, and work- family conflicts.
Bunge (1989) cited the sources of stress in the library workplace such as: work overload; work under load; interpersonal relationships; lack of effective positive feedback from supervisors, co-workers and patrons; absence of clear policy guidelines; inadequacies in supervision and management; inadequate office space; role ambiguity; role conflict; and lack of resources.
Ivancevich and Mattenson (1990) categorize work stressors as: (1) physical environment stressors; (2) individual stressors; (3) group stressors; and (4) organizational stressors.
Decenzo and Robbins (1999) identified two potential stressors in the workplace. These are (1) organizational factors (task demands, role demands, interpersonal demands, organizational structure and organizational leadership); and (2) individual factors (family problems, economic problems and personality).
Dale (1959) classified components of job performance into four categories: Skill (includes education, experience, initiative, and ingenuity); Effort (includes physical demand, mental or visual demands); Responsibility (includes equipment or process, material or product, safety of others, work of others); and Job conditions (includes working conditions, and unavoidable hazards).
Myers (1964) confirmed Herzberg’s findings. His study showed that achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility, and personal advancement gave deeper lasting satisfaction and performance to the worker than policy, interpersonal relationships, and working conditions.
Campbell (1990, 1994) proposed a model whereby performance on all jobs can be broken down into eight dimensions, namely: job-specific task proficiency; non-job-specific task proficiency; written and oral communication task proficiency; demonstrating effort; maintaining personal discipline; facilitating peer and team performance; supervision/leadership; and management/ administration. However, Campbell (1990) argues that only three (core task proficiency, demonstrating effort, and maintenance of personal discipline) are major performance components of every job.
Balantac (1977) appraised the quality of the performance of women agriculture teachers in Los Banos, Laguna as perceived by the administrators, students, and by themselves. Specifically, the objectives were: (1) to determine the personal characteristics of women agriculture teachers; (2) to ascertain the job performance of women agriculture teachers as perceived by administrators, students, and the women agriculture teachers themselves; (3) to determine the relationship between selected personal factors and job performance of women agriculture teachers; and (4) to find out the relationship between selected job-related factors and job performance of women agriculture teachers. The data were collected with the use of an interview schedule. The findings showed that those who had rural backgrounds, had advanced masteral units, exposed to training programs, had lighter workloads, and were more satisfied in their jobs tended to exhibit high performance.
Niones (2001) studied the factors affecting job performance of the employees of the UP Diliman School of Economics. The factors were age, sex, civil status, salary, address, educational attainment, tardiness, hours-lost, rating by administrative offices, rating by faculty, librarian, and supervisor. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine which of the factors have a positive and negative relationship, and how significant are their effects on the job performance of the staff. Results of the study showed that tardiness, salary, and hours lost have a significant effect on performance.
An examination of the relationship between educational qualifications and the job performance of librarians in public and private schools in Los Banos, Laguna was the study conducted by Tasarra (2005). The main objective of this study was to examine the relationship between the educational and professional qualifications and job performance of public and private school librarians in Los Banos. The study used descriptive methods with the questionnaire as the primary research tool. Findings of the study showed that the job performance of librarians with Library Science units are 1.11 times more likely to be competent than those with no Library Science units. However, librarians with either a librarians certification or teachers certification are 1.25 times more likely to be competent than those without licenses.
Job Stress and Job Performance
Jamal (1985) examined the relationship between job stress and job performance among managers and blue-collar workers. Four types of relationships were proposed between job stress and performance: (1) curvilinear/U-shaped, (2) negative linear, (3) positive linear, and (4) no relationship between stress and performance.
A random sample of 283 blue-collar and 227 managerial workers employed in a large Canadian organization were surveyed in questionnaires. Measurement was made of variables relating to job stress, job performance, and organizational commitment. Results showed a primarily negative linear relationship between job stress and measures of job performance. Limited support was seen for curvilinear or no relationship. No support was found for the positive.
Mathur et al. (2007) looked at the effects of stress on the performance of the employees working in different manufacturing organizations. The study also tried to find out the underlying factor responsible for stress as well as does stress affects the performance of the employees on the job. Data were collected from 110 higher and middle level employees through two separate questionnaires. First one was pertaining to stress and the second one was pertaining to job performance. The results came out with factors such as organizational culture, role conflict, and responsibility were responsible for stress. Regression analysis was used to check the effect of stress on job performance and it was found out that stress has an effect on job performance and job performance increases with the increase in stress.
Park (2007) investigated the levels, sources, and effects of work stress on job performance of different socio-demographic and occupational groups of Canadian workers. A cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis was applied to examine how work stress factors were associated with productivity. On the other hand, multivariate techniques were used to control for employment characteristics and protective factors such as social support and individual coping behaviors. To account for survey design effects, the bootstrap technique was used to estimate coefficients of variation and p-values and to perform significant test. Findings of the study revealed that work stress factors have significant cross-sectional and longitudinal associations with job performance.
Kazmi, Amjad and Khan (2008) investigated the effect of job stress on job performance of medical house officers of District Abbottabad. The data gathered were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Spearman’s correlation, and multiple regression. Results of the study showed that there is an inverse relationship between job stress and job performance indicating that there is high job stress in the house officers, resulting in low job performance.
Ongori and Agolla (2008) studied occupational stress and its effect on organizational performance of employees working in public sector organizations in Botswana. The data were analyzed using statistical package for social science (SPSS) version 15.0 and the use of simple descriptive statistics. To facilitate the analysis, the instrument used to analyze data on causes, symptoms, effects, and interventions were measured using Likert’s scale. The findings of this study showed that 68% of the respondents agreed that they work below par when they experience stress, while 24% of the respondents disagreed with the statement.
In the Philippines, studies were undertaken to identify work-related factor that affect stress which in turn affect job performance.
Cardona (1991) sought to determine the sources of job stress of school administrators in the Division of North Samar in relation to their job performance. Stress was defined as non-specific human relations to environmental stimuli. The hypothetico-deductive type of research was employed using a stress questionnaire and the Performance Appraisal System. Mean, standard deviation, variance and percentage distribution, multiple regression, analysis of variance, and stepwise multiple regression were the statistical treatment used in the study. Findings of the study showed that performance rating was negatively related with environmental stressors while performance rating and position on the other hand, and organizational stressor on the other were positively related. The relationship between job performance and job stressor of school administrator was influenced by such factors as school location, position classification, level of education which the school provides, and civil status of the respondents.
Manansala (2002) determined the level of stress, stressors, and stress management strategies of grade two teachers in District IV-Manila in relation to their job performance for the school year 2000-2001. Stress questionnaires were used to gather data from the respondents and these were processed and analyzed using SPSS for Windows. Weighted mean, standard deviation and Pearson r were the statistical tools employed. Results of the study showed that the level of stress among grade two teachers was significantly related to job stressors and home and family stressors, while the level of stress was not significantly related to job performance. On the other hand, among the stress management strategies used in this study, only “turning to religion” and “seeking social support” had significant relationship with job performance.
Muyo (2002) studied the factors related to work stress and performance among teachers of Romblon. A questionnaire developed and adapted from existing professional stress literature and various related stress scales was used to gather primary data from the target respondents. The data gathered were processed using SPSS. Appropriate statistical tests like chi-square test (x2), t-test, F- test or analysis of variance (ANOVA), and regression correlation were used to test the hypothesis. Results of the study indicated a positive relationship between the teacher’s level of stress and their performance which imply that the more stress manifestations of the respondents, the higher the performance level. However, the mean performance of the respondents categorized according to age, sex, and educational attainment did not register significant effects on performance. On the other hand, it was found that income, rank, and length of service were significant influencing variables on job performance.
Monge (2005) determined the perceived effects of job-related stress on job performance among the teachers in the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) in Bicol University, Legazpi City. His study tried to find out the effect of job-related stress to college teachers as perceived by them in terms of colleagues, job, and work environment; the level of job performance of the respondents with regards to teaching competence, teaching performance, and personal-social qualities; if there was a significant relationship between job-related stress, job performance, and socio-demographic characteristics of college teachers; and the proposed measures that can be undertaken to modify job-related stress and enhance job performance. This study made use of the descriptive-survey method as the primary structure of the research design in which a questionnaire was the main tool to gather pertinent data. The statistics needed were computed with SPSS 7.5 version. Mean, Pearson r coefficient of correlation, and t-test were the statistical treatment used in the study. Findings of the study revealed that CAL faculty was not much affected by the job-related stressors and they performed well in their job which means that job-related stress can affect job performance.
Taniajura (2007) determined the factors related to the job stress and job performance of Technology and Livelihood Education teachers in the Division City Schools, Pasay City. The descriptive method of research was used with the questionnaire as the data gathering instrument. The data were statistically analyzed employing the following statistical treatment: frequency, percentage, weighted mean, standard deviation, and the Pearson product moment correlation. Findings revealed that the personal factors such as the monthly salary, health condition, family condition, and the school-environment factors such as, workload and working conditions, are the teacher’s job stressors. Therefore, the independent variables (teacher’s job stressors) are significantly related to job stress and performance of technology and Livelihood Education teachers.
According to Cardona (1991), Muyo (2002), Mathur et al. (2007) and Taniajura (2007), job stress has a significant relationship with job performance. On the other hand, Jamal (1985), Manansala (2002), Monge (2005), Kazmi, Amjad and Khan (2008) and Ongori and Agolla (2008), revealed that stress has an inverse relationship to job performance. However, according to Park (2007), work stress factors have significant cross-sectional and longitudinal associations with job performance.
Likewise, according to the present research, stress has a curvilinear/U-shaped relationship with job performance. That is, when the stress is at high and low levels, performance in a given task is lower. But if the stress is at the moderate level, the person will be aroused to perform well while not being overstressed and unhappy. This means that either too much stress or too little stress is detrimental to an individual’s performance.
Theoretical/ Conceptual Framework of the Study
According to Mattenson and Ivancevich (1982, p. 45):
One costly result of a mismatch between expectations and reality is a lower level of job performance. Studies indicated that performance reaches an optimal point when stress is at moderate level.
The “moderate stress is optimal” theory presents what is called the inverted-U-stress/performance curve (Mattenson and Ivancevich, 1982) (see Figure 1). It exemplifies that if there is very little pressure on individual to perform any task, then performance will be low. However, when there is too much stress, performance will be low also. Either too much stress or too little stress will detract the individual to perform well (Mattenson and Ivancevich, 1982).
Level of Stress
Figure1. The Inverted U-stress/performance
Source: Mattenson and Ivancevich 1982, p. 46
However, at the moderate level of stress, there is an area of best performance which the individual has enough pressure to focus on his task and perform well.
The research paradigm (see Figure 2) shows the relationship of the independent and dependent variables of the study. The job-related stressors and level of stress are independent variables while the level of job performance is the dependent variables. The socio-demographic characteristics are the intervening variables of the study.
This study is based on the assumption that job-related stressors contribute to the level of stress of public library staff and that the level of stress may be influenced by the intervening variables. On the other hand, it was presumed that the level of stress and certain intervening variables are related to the level of job performance.
The variables of the study are the following:
A. Independent Variables
1. Job-related stressors
This study adapted the job-related stressors cited by Ivancevich and Mattenson (1982, 1990) and Ivancevich, Konopaske and Mattenson (2008). They are described as follows:
Physical environment stressors: These include the working condition in the library such as inadequate office space, crowding and lack of privacy in shared offices, inadequate lighting, noise, and extreme temperature in the workplace.