Academic journal article Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal

Occupational Stress among Women Managers

Academic journal article Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal

Occupational Stress among Women Managers

Article excerpt


One of the Malaysian national development agenda in Tenth Malaysian plan is to empower women. More attentions need to be paid by practitioners on women employment related issues such as occupational stress. It is vital to understand the unique stressors faced by women to increase their well-being in workplace, which encourage their continuous contribution to the Malaysian economy development. Occupational stress among women middle managers has a significant impact on their work performance and satisfaction thereby affects their productivity and effectiveness in organizational performance.

Occupational stress is a significant workplace issue that received considerable concern in developing countries (Taap Manshor et al., 2003). Lack of studies on occupational stress in Asian developing countries has motivated researchers to focus more on this issue (Kortum, Leka and Cox, 2010). For example, previous studies have been conducted to examine the meaning, causes and consequences of occupational stress in Malaysia. However, these studies fail to provide insights on women's occupational stress in Malaysia.

Women managers in Malaysia are found to be more stressful than men in workplace (Taap Manshor et al., 2003). Excessive stress may lead to serious consequences; for instance poor work performance and health status (Joseph, 2016), and greater turnover rate. Women turnover rate can exceed 2.5 times than of men as the result of distress (Jiang and Klein, 2002). It is crucial to identify the sources of occupational stress experienced by women managers to minimize stress and maximize job satisfaction (Cooper and Melhuish, 1984) by formulating strategies to cope with it (Kortum Leka, and Cox, 2010). This has raised the interest among current researchers to thoroughly identify the causes of occupational stress among Malaysian women managers, so that appropriate actions can be taken by organizations to build more positive outcomes among women managers and consequently improve their well-being in the future.

The objectives of this paper are to investigate the levels of stress and to identify the causes of stress among women middle managers in Malaysia. This study will examine the relationship between (i) work-family conflict, (ii) barriers to career achievement, and (iii) workplace social support towards occupational stress among women middle managers.

Literature Review

Occupational Stress among Managerial Women

Women are identified as an important resource to achieve national development agenda (Omar and Davidson, 2001). In Malaysia, the number of women holding management positions had increased from 29 percent in year 2014 to 34 per cent in year 2015 (Ismail, 2015). From the statistic, many of them are holding middle managerial positions. Women have been actively participated in management due to their education background and promotion of equal opportunity in the organization by government. However, the number of women advancing to middle position is still lacking. Piteman (2008) mentioned that they are generally facing higher stress in the leadership path as compared to male counterparts. Previous researches on stress found working women to be more stressful than men (Adekola, 2010).

Literatures have shown that different gender perceives occupational stress differently. Psychological studies have indicated women experience more distress than men. In addition, women may experience extra pressure than men in workplace (Cohen and Janicki, 2010). Furthermore, women are seen not fit to fill up managerial position because of gender stereotype (Othman and Othman, 2015).

Occupational stress will lead to serious consequences for organization. It brings the effects on job performance and satisfaction. Employees who perceive higher stress have stronger intention to quit from the organization. Occupational stress has been linked to lower productivity, absenteeism and higher rate of accidents. …

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