Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Five Factor Model of Personality & Role Stress

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Five Factor Model of Personality & Role Stress

Article excerpt


Stress in the workplace is increasingly a critical problem for employees, employers and for the organization as a whole, but it is inevitable and a necessary part of life (Doublet, 2000). Empirical researches in this area have demonstrated the direct and indirect costs of stress on individual employee's performance and performance of organization as a whole (Ortqvist & Wincent, 2006). Studies also indicate that the amount of experienced role stress is partly depended on the personality predispositions of the employee concerned (Keenan & McBain, 1979). Present study attempts to investigate the relationship between five factor model of personality and role stress.

Interest in occupational role stress has grown considerably since Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn & Rosenthal (1964) classic study of role stress. Within an organizational context, the term 'role' can be defined as a set of expectations applied to the incumbent of a particular position by the incumbent and by role senders within and beyond an organizational boundary (Banton, 1965). Role stress originate when an individual in a particular work role is torn by conflicting job demands or doing things he/she does not think are part of the job specification (Cooper & Marshall, 1976).

Role conflict, role ambiguity, role overload are widely examined individual stressors and there is a large body of literature(House & Rizzo, 1972; Mc Grath, 1976; Schuler, Aldag & Brief, 1979; Fisher & Gitelson, 1983; Jackson & Schuler, 1985; Newton & Keenan, 1987; Luszczynska & Cieslak, 2005). Since the 1960s, more than 300 articles have been published on role stress or one of its three dimensions; role conflict, as the discrepant role expectations sent by members/outstanding persons of an individual's role set, role ambiguity, as the degree of vagueness, ambiguity in desired expectations that creates difficulties for a person to fulfil requirements, and role overload, as the extent to which time and resources prove inadequate to meet expectations of commitments and obligations to fulfil a role. The diversity of journals where the articles are published suggests that similar concepts are tested over and over again in different contextual settings and on different actors performing different roles.

Studies in India have also attempted to establish the degree of association or causal relationships of stress with other variables such as organizational, job, leadership, communicational and personal factors (Pestonjee, 1992). Pareek (1993) has pioneered work on role stress by identifying as many as ten different types of organisational role stresses namely: Inter Role Distance (IRD), Role Stagnation (RS), Role Expectation Conflict (REC), Role Erosion (RE), Role Overload (RO), Role Isolation (RI), Personal Inadequacy (PI), Self-role Distance (SRD), Role Ambiguity (RA), and Resource Inadequacy (RIN).

Role Stress & Personality

Role stress can arise from different patterns of mismatch in expectations, resources, capability and values about the role. In this matching process personality factors act as the conditioning variables. A person's personality affects how that person experiences and copes with stress. It is generally believed that the competitive, aggressive and anxious people are more prone towards experiencing stress (Ivancevich et al., 1982; Cooper, Dewe & O'Driscoll, 2001).

Spector (1982) has made the point that personality variables play an important role in the understanding of a range of behaviours at the workplace. Researchers offer a range of frameworks relating personality and the stress that a person experiences. Hart (1999) developed a model for linking personality to work, non-work, and life satisfaction. Bolger and Zuckerman's (1995) framework illustrates how personality affects both the exposure and reactivity to stress, health and physiological outcomes. O'Brien and Delongis (1996) suggest that personality and situational factors play an important part in three forms of coping responses; problem, emotion, and relationship focused. …

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