A study to explore the extend to which Counter Productive Work Behavior is a shaped by Job Stress: Facts from the Financial Sector of Pakistan

Academic Paper 2013 245 Pages

Business economics - Accounting and Taxes


Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures



Thesis Statement
Purpose of the study
Importance of this study
Work Stress
Banking Sector of Pakistan


Work Stress

The Work Stress effects on individuals

Work Stress Causes

Employee Counter-Productive work Behavior (CWB)

Gap Analysis of Job Stress and Employee CWB

Research Methodology

Purpose of study

Research Design

Time Dimension

Data Collection Methods
Pilot Testing
Sample Frame
Sample Size
Unit of Analysis
Sampling Procedure

Operationalization of Variables
Variable 1: Job Stress
Conceptual definition
Operational definition
Dimensions of Job Stress
Variable 2: CWB
Conceptual definition
Operational definition
Dimensions of CWB


Reliability tests
Reliability test of job stress
Reliability test of employee CWB
Reliability test of questionnaire

Descriptive Statistics
Frequency and graphical presentation of demographical variables
Job Stress: Frequency and Percentages
CWB: Frequency and Percentages

Cross Tab Analysis

Advanced Statistical Tests
Two Independent sample test
Kruskal-Wallis Test
Mann-Whitney Test on Job Stress
Correlation Analysis
Regression Analysis



Limitations and Recommendations

List of Tables

- Reliability test tables for job stress and CWB
- Demographic variables: frequency and percentage
- Job stress: frequency and percentage
- CWB: frequency and percentage
- Cross tab analysis
- Mann Whitney test
- Kruskal Wallis test
- Mann Whitney test on job stress
- Correlation analysis
- Regression analysis

List of Figures

- What workers say about job stress
- Effect of stress
- Causes of stress
- Variable 1: Job stress
- Variable 2: CWB


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First of all I want to thank Almighty Allah who has always helped me in every path of life and gave me courage to complete this thesis. I want to thank my parents who have supported me throughout my life.

I also want to thank my supervisor, Miss. Hira Aftab without her sincere guidance it would not have been possible and because of her consistent help and assistance I would be able to complete this research thesis.


This research thesis aims to find out the impact of job stress on the counter-productive work behavior (CWB) of employees. Job stress is an important aspect and become a major challenge for the organizations because this job stress became the cause of employee negative behavior.

This research is a causal and a cross sectional one. A sample of 352 employees from the banking sector of Pakistan was used for analysis. Job stress has been measured through different factors and their effect on employee CWB is examined and the study results revealed that the job stress among employees lead them somewhat toward counter-productive work behavior and there is a sufficient positive correlation exist between job stress employee CWB. These results are also consistent with the previous researches that job stress lead the employees towards CWB.

This study reinforces the importance of employees work behavior which is essential for firms to be successful in the current era.


Job stress is been an important aspect that become a major challenge for the organizations. Workers who experienced stress have an effect on their work behavior in which they are working. It is understood that employees are not the machines rather they are the most important assets for the organizations as they play a very important role in running the organization effectively and successfully. Better managed employees are more cooperative and serve as assets for an organization but when their stress is ignored by the employer and when the needs of the employees are not catered by the organization properly and stress comes in the organization, then the results are increased absenteeism, cost, low productivity, low motivation and usually legal financial damages which eventually effect the employee work behavior and leads him/her towards the counter-productive work behavior (CWB).

“McGrath (1976) proposed a definition of stress; he defined the stress as a situation in which a person is required to perform the tasks that threatens to exceed the person’s ability and resources for meeting it, under conditions where he or she expects a large difference in the rewards from meeting the demand versus not meeting it”. (Walonick, 1993)

Job stress has becoming the most essential workplace aspect in the both developed and the developing countries but stress has turn into a massive challenge for employer mainly in developing nations where the employer doesn’t provide much weight to the impact of job stress on employee work behavior. There are a numeral workplace factors, called job stressors that make job demanding and complicated for employees in services as well as in other sectors. Other stressors include negative behavior at work, such as absenteeism, increased turnover of employee and employees involved in theft and aggression.

Stress at work have a considerable consequences on employee work behavior but it is made even bad when employee think that they have a little support from their supervisors and boss which inadequately affect the employee behavior inside the organization.

Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is “Impact of job stress on the counter-productive work behavior (CWB) of employees in the financial sector of Pakistan”. This thesis would tried to investigate that whether the job stress has an effect on the person who suffered from it or not and if he is suffered than can it lead him toward CWB. To support this thesis different research on it is also found and discussed.


The main hypothesis is the higher work stress will lead the employee toward CWB means that “higher the work stress, higher will be CWB in employees”

Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study is to find out that whether the job stress has an effect on the work behavior of employees or not, and if is it so, then how the stress damaging the employee and leads him to towards the counter-productive work behavior.

Importance of this study

This study and research is always been a concern for all those who are interested in understanding and knowing the role of job stress on employee behavior in the organization and also to identify that how job stress is been an so important and critical feature in the perspective of the employee behavior.


The objectives of this study are as:

- To determine the association between stress at work and employee counter-productive work behavior.
- To what extent the job stress leads the employee to counterwork productive behavior.


Over the years stress at work has become one of the most extensively studied constructs in organizations. This study primarily aims to illustrate the relationship between work stress and its impact on employee work behavior. “In work stress is so aversive to employees that they will try to avoid it by withdrawing either psychologically (disinterest or lack of involvement in the work etc.), physically (frequent late coming, absenteeism, laziness etc.) or by leaving the job entirely”. (Muhammad Mansoor; Sabtain Fida; Saima Nasir; Zubair Ahmad., 2011)


Work Stress

“Since 1956, when stress was introduced into the American vernacular, the concept has been whole heartedly embraced by popular culture. Today, the cultural connotations of stress often overpower its actual definition. By 1956, Selye had added to the developing ideas about stress by putting forward a three stage process. According to him, stress is a phenomenon in response to some external stressor we first react by mobilizing our physical resources to deal with or escape from the stressor. The second stage, called ‘resistance', involves ways of coping with the alarm stage by trying to reverse it. Thirdly, the stage of ‘exhaustion' occurs if an individual is repeatedly exposed to the stressor and is unable to escape. Over the 30 years there are different researchers and different researches on it.” (Kennard, 2008)


“The domain of counter productive work behavior (CWB) is quite abroad prior to the early 1980 there was a considerable amount of research on individual counter productive behaviors in the workplace such as employee theft, sabotage, slow and sloppy performance, tardiness and absenteeism. However due to lack of accepted theory or framework for looking at such behaviors, these studies were each seen as an investigation into a specific type of behavior rather than an effort to explore CWB in a more general sense. Robinson and Greenberg in 1998 reviewed a wide variety of definitions on the counter-productive work behavior that are found in the literature. However the most recent definition was been given by De Vore (2001) as: any intentional behavior on the part of an organization member viewed by the organization as contrary to its legitimate interests. This definition is considered the most relevant and important because with this definition of CWB the focus is on the behavior itself rather than on the results and consequences of the behaviors.” (Gruys & Sackett, 2003)

Banking Sector of Pakistan

“A sound and well functioning financial sector is essential to support economic growth of a country. Pakistan possess a wide range of financial institutions; commercial banks, specialized banks, national savings schemes, insurance companies, DFI’s, investment banks, stock exchanges, corporate brokerage houses, leasing companies, discount houses, microfinance institutions, SME’s and Islamic banks. They offer a whole range of products and services both on the assets and liabilities side. Pakistani banking sector has witnessed drastic changes over a period of 63 years. Today, the Banking sector of Pakistan is playing pivotal role in the growth of country’s economy. In accordance with the State Bank of Pakistan Act, the banking system of Pakistan is a two-tier system including the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), commercial banks, specialized banks, Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), Microfinance banks and Islamic banks. As of June 2010, the banking sector comprised 36 commercial banks (including 25 local private banks, 4 public sector commercial banks and 7 foreign banks) and 4 specialized banks with a total number of 9,087 branches throughout the country. Among the banks, there are 6 fully fledged Islamic banks as at end of June 2010.” (Pervez, 25th feb, 2011)

Literature Review

There are several studies that have tried to determine the effect of job stress on employee behavior in the organization.


There are two variables in the study which is work stress and employee work counter-productive work behavior and there are many researches that have been done in the area of work stress.


Hans Selye view in 1956 about the stress was “stress isn’t necessarily something bad – it all depends on how you take it. The stress of exhilarating, creative successful work is beneficial, while that of failure, humiliation or infection is detrimental.” (Sanvee, 2009)

“In the words of Richard S Lazarus, basically stress is a feeling that is experienced when a person started thinking that the demands exceeds the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize."

Work Stress

“Work-related stress occurs when one’s job demands are incompatible or mismatched with the mental regulation processes, such as information processing, planning, and movement execution”. (Greiner, 1998)

In the words of Westman "Job stress arises when demand of job exceed abilities, while job-related strains are responses or outcomes resulting from the experience of stress." (Westman, 2005)

Stress at workplace has a severe safety and healthiness hazards that can have destructive effects. Stress is a major cause of psychosocial sickness; such as tense muscles can aggravate ergonomic injuries. The workers who experienced stress can be more vulnerable to injury, health and disease. (Enough Workplace Stress: Organizing for Change, 2003)

Generally it is believed that some stress has positive effects on individuals which is referred to as “Challenge or Positive Stress” but when stress goes beyond the amount which you are not been able to handle then both physical and mental alterations may arise. Work related stress then arise as a result of differences between employee job demands and an employee amount of control over gathering these demands which can cause a harmful impact on employee physical and emotional responses. In short the amalgamation of very high demands in a job and the employee low amount of control over the situation is a major cause of stress. Stress at workplace can be come from multiple events or can be from single events and it has a huge impact on employers and employees alike. According to “Canadian Mental Association” job redundancy. Layoff fears in an economy which is uncertain, excessive workload due to staff cutbacks are the major negative stressors and the employees who are starting to feel the pressure to perform get involved in a negative and downward spiral of highly increasing efforts to meet increased expectations with no increase in job satisfaction. The unyielding requirements to work at optimum performance leads to the increase in toll in employee job dissatisfaction, turnover of employees, reduced efficiency and employee illness. Absenteeism, lack of involvement, lack of participation in decision making, apathy and indifference, lack of creativity or motivation are all by-products of the workplace which is over stressed. (Workplace Stress - General, 2008)

The journal article on “Stressful work, job satisfaction, intention to leave and organization citizenship behavior: examining the mediating role of job satisfaction” was conducted to examine the relationship between job stress, employee intention to leave means employee turnover and OCB. In the research it is found that increased stressful work and stressful environment increased the employee desire to leave the organization so the work stress was correlated positively with employee intention to leave the employer or negatively correlated with OCB and that job dissatisfaction increases in employees who experienced work stress. This job dissatisfaction among employees motivating them to increase absenteeism and to quit the organization. Stress can cause health problems for employees and loss of profits for employers. The results found in this study are consistent with the previous researches that stressful work causes job dissatisfaction among employees. Finally the results of this study proved that unsatisfactory employment act as a bridge between employee work stress and his intention to leave the employer. (Paillé, Stressful Work, Citizenship Behaviour and Intention to Leave the Organization in a High Turnover Environment: Examining the Mediating Role of Job Satisfaction., 2011).

The research paper on “Impact of job stress on employee job satisfaction” investigated the effects of job stress on employee job satisfaction. In this paper a sample of 134 employees from the telecom sector of Pakistan. The job stress has been measured by three important dimensions which are work conflicts, employee workload and physical environment. The study revealed that all the three factors of job stress effect the job satisfaction of employee negatively. The study results also been supported by the prior studies results that employee who feel excessive stress found their job dissatisfying. It is also found in this study that the subjects who have experienced more stress by the factors including work conflict, excessive workload and physical environment was found to be less satisfying as compared to those employees who experienced less stress. (Mansoor, Muhammad; Fida, Sabtain; Nasir, Saima; Ahmad, Zubair, 2004).

There is another study to examine that whether the organizational stressor variables had contributing to manager’s job stress or not. In this study sample of 285 respondents were taken. The organizational variables taken in this study were role conflict, no advancement opportunities for employees, extreme work load and unfavorable workplace environment. The regression analysis were done on this and the results revealed that out of all organizational stressors, three of the stressors which are role conflict, no advancement for opportunities and work environment were been the major cause of job stress among managers. (Aizzat Mohd Nasurdin; T. Ramayah; S. Kemaresan).

According to different surveys conducted by “American Psychological Association (2008)” more than half of the respondents reported that stress is a significant reason of their poor performance and almost three of half reported that stress is a major cause of their bad health. Another survey study conducted by “Multi employer, multi-site employee” exposed that employees who have high level of stress, their health expenditures were 46% higher as compared to the employees with no stress. Job stress costed US economy about 300 billion a year in the form of employee absenteeism, low employee productivity, employee turnover and medical and insurance costs. (Research roundup: Work stress, 2010)

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Figure 1:What Workers say about stress on job

“According to this report workers at different places do report that they have to face stress and do report that their job is extremely stressful”. (NIOSH: stress at work, 2010)

According to different researches, “Job stress has become a common and costly problem in the American workplace, leaving few workers unaffected. For example, studies report the following:”

- “Almost one-fourth of employees in different organizations view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.”
- Northwestern National Life
- “Almost three-fourths of employees in different organizations believe they have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago.”
- Princeton Survey Research Associates

Mismatch with the organization in the way that employees are given no rights in decision making were found out to be the main reason of work stress as well as if employees does not have any control over work environment, personality characteristics and unclear rules and policies and unclear roles effect employee performance. (Meneze, 2005).

The data of “Bureau of Labor Statistics” showed that stress and anxiety are the major causes of workers absenteeism and that the workers who take their time off due to stress or anxiety or any other related problem will not be on a job for about 20 days. (NIOSH - U.S. Department of Health and Services.)

Workplace stress effect employees over the past many years. This workplace stress occurs due to increased workload and clients demands. The increased level of stress in employees affects not only the employee health but also ends up costing the economy in the shape of employee absenteeism, employee loss of productivity and turnover. The clients are also decreasing because the more stressed the workers is feeling, the less likely they are been able to perform their jobs at full potential. (Klink & al., Work-related Stress in Division of Youth and Family Caseworkers: Determining Whether a Cognitive Behavioral Intervention Will Decrease Stress., 2001).

Stress is often a end-product of poor boss attitude and poor workplace environment and have a serious effect on organizational productivity and growth. Therefore organizations that have effective stress management programs, talk on regular basis with their workers and have efficient system, procedures and policies to deal with employee stress related issues like employee absence and workplace discipline are much more able to avoid stress situations and to cope up with employee problems as they arise. (Working together to reduce stress at work. A guide for employees., 2008)

The work-related stress occur due to “Poor organization design” such as poor inappropriate work systems or workplace environment, improper job alienation and the way we manage it, and “Poor work designs” such as no employee participation in decision making and their lack of control over work processes, by poor management and no support from boss, colleagues and supervisors. Employees feel less stressed when their job and work demands matched with their knowledge and abilities and they have a right to participate in decision making and proper support is received from all the supervisors and colleagues. ( World Health Organization.)

The Work Stress effects on individuals

According to the Health and Safety Executive, “prolonged work-related stress can lead to: poor mental health; heart disease; back pains, gastrointestinal disturbances and miscellaneous minor illnesses including trouble with gums or mouth and toothache, shortness of breath, dizziness, earache, swollen ankles, rashes or itches and headaches; and an increase in unhelpful health behavior such as missing breakfast, drinking too much alcohol and smoking.” (Stress survey, 2001) Work-related stress is currently the second most key work-related health trouble in the UK. According to Stress survey 2001 the core or vital foundation of job stress with their percentages are as

Figure 2: Effects of stress

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These are the impact of stress on persons in a European culture. (Stress survey, 2001)

Work Stress Causes

Stress can be occurring from several reasons, starting from excessively work to maltreatment or hostility. Terrible management and extreme workloads came out undoubtedly as the main two problems leading to stress in organizations. According to Stress survey 2001 the foremost or central causes of job stress with their percentages are as. (Stress survey, 2001)

Figure 3: Causes of Stress

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Fortunately, work stress explorations have been comprehensive in the recent years. But putting out-of-the-way all this attentiveness, vagueness remain the major cause of job stress. (Stress At Work, 2010)

Employee Counter-Productive work Behavior (CWB)

Counterproductive workplace behavior (CWB) has turn into a progressively accepted issue of learning between researchers. “Counter-productive work behavior (CWB) is any intentional behavior on the part of an organization member, viewed by the organization as contrary to its legitimate interests”. (Gruys & Sakett, 2003)

A study on “Job Stressors, Negative Affectivity and Counter-Productive Work Behavior (CWB)” tried to investigate the relationship between job stressors and their effect on employee counter-productive work behavior (CWB) keeping in view the role of negative affectivity. The results show incivility, poor organizational environment and conflicts among employees were negatively correlated with employee job satisfaction and lead him toward the counter-productive work behavior (CWB). The results of this study are consistent with the previous studies showing a relationship between job stress and employee counter-productive work behavior (CWB). The results also showed that the individuals who have higher negative affectivity with organizations are more going towards the counter-productive work behaviors than for individuals who are low in negative affectivity. This shows that being subjected to incivility could aggravate an individual to go towards negative attitude and as a result employees are engaged in retaliatory acts such as CWB. Furthermore this study also shows that individuals who engaged in counter-productive work behaviors (CWB) would be the cause of creating a workplace incivility. (Penney & Spector, 2005).

Another study on “Effect of job stress on health, personal and work behavior of nurses in public hospitals in Ibadan Metropolis, Nigeria” tried to find out the relationship between job stresses on nurses and its effect on their health and their work behavior which mainly include their behavior with patients. The results showed that the job stress is the major cause of nurse’s bad health and cause great health problems for them. Job stress is negatively associated with their work behavior and an increased level of stress provokes them to engage in behaviors such as absenteeism, withdrawal and aggressive or impolite behavior with patients. (Mojoyinola, J. K., 2008) .

According to one of the survey conducted by “CCH Inc” revealed that stress is one of the major causes of unscheduled absences from work. Employee absences or absenteeism is defend as the work time missed by an employee and the survey results show that stress related illnesses and health problems cause 70% of job absenteeism. (Kim, Sorhaindo, & Garman, 2006)

The research on “Impact of job stress on employee productivity, performance and turnover” said that stress is a universal element and the persons from nearly all aspects of life have to face it. Today stress management issues are critically analyzed by the employees that lead them towards low job satisfaction and high turnover. The survey results shown that overall sample is facing stress because of low acceptance for work done by the top management, rigid organizational structure, lack of support from supervisors and colleagues and unclear roles are the main causes of increasing stress levels in employees which ultimately effect their job performance negatively and lead them toward leaving the organization. (Imtiaz & Ahmad, 2009).

Another study on “The role of personality, occupation and organization in understanding the relationship between job stress, performance and absenteeism” tried to examine the relationship between stress with important behavioral perspective of employee i.e. absenteeism keeping in view the role played by personality and occupation. The results of this study indicated that job stress are the major reason of increased absenteeism in employees resulting poor employee performance and personalities was found to have a major effect on employee performance. (Arsenault & Dolan, 1983)

“St. Paul's report indicated that interpersonal demands on employees are increasing. This in itself creates tremendous stress. Interpersonal demands due to working with team members and supervisors were the most significant cause of stress burnout. Thus, in today's workplace, we have people who are already under stress from a variety of causes put into an interpersonal context that, by its nature, is very stressful. Being already stressed-out, they are less likely to respond appropriately and constructively, further heightening the likelihood they will find such a demanding interpersonal context even more difficult and depleting.” (Lee, 1997)

The ratio of stress in employees in organizations is increasing at disturbing rate. All the studies mentioned above also show that stress result in high absenteeism, turnover and poor performance. That’s why it is very imperative to consider job stress as an essential and critical factor in organizations from the employee behavioral perspective.

Gap Analysis of Job Stress and Employee CWB

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In the light of the few past researches that I have been studied or mentioned above in the summary of past researches, this research thesis is contributing to the previous researches in many ways as no research has been conducted purely on “The impact of job stress on the counter-productive work behavior of employees”. Many researches have been done on “The impact of work stress on employee performance and behavior” but this research focus mainly on the counter-productive work behavior of employee occur due to stress.

Furthermore, no past research had been done on the banking sector of Pakistan whereas this research targets the banking sector of Pakistan.



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Work Stress Counter Productive Work Behavior Banking sector Work Behavior



Title: A study to explore the extend to which Counter Productive Work Behavior is a shaped by Job Stress: Facts from the Financial Sector of Pakistan