The study investigated influence of work schedule and occupational stress on job satisfaction among hospital workers in University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Two hundred and sixty-four (264) participants were used for the study; their ages ranged from 18 to 62 years with a mean age of 33.74 years. An ex-post facto design was adopted of the study. Valid questionnaires were used for data collection which were Occupational Stress Scale developed by American Institute of Stress (2008) and Job Satisfaction Survey developed by Spector (1994). Stratified sampling method was used to select participants for the study. The result [F (1, 265) = 5.09, P<.05] indicated that hospital workers that operate shift work were more satisfied with their job than hospital workers that operated non-shift work. The result [F (1, 265) = 1.02, P>.05]indicated that occupational stress does not exert significant influence on job satisfaction among hospital workers.Furthermore, the interaction of work schedule and occupational stress did not significantly influence job satisfaction among hospital workers studied [F (1, 265) = .58, P> .05]. It was suggested that managements of hospital should consider increasing the works done through shift duties.
1.1. Background of the study
Job satisfaction is the most widely researched job attitude and among the most extensively researched subjects in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology (Judge & Church, 2000). It has been linked to productivity, motivation, absenteeism/tardiness, accidents, mental/physical health, and general life satisfaction (Landy, 1978, Wegge, Schmidt, Parkes & Van Dick, 2007). Job satisfaction is considered as one of the most important construct in I/O Psychology because of its role to understanding of many activities that takes place in the work environment. It is an extent to which an individual or worker performs his/her work effectively. Other factors that affect job satisfaction are work schedule and occupational stress, which form the basis for this study.
According to Kerber & Campbell (1987), measurement of job satisfaction helps identify specific aspects of a job that require improvement. Employee job satisfaction is a central attention in the researches and discussions in work and organizational psychology. It is opined that a happy employee is productive and vice versa (Syptak, Marsland & Ulmer, 1999). In reality, employees are more satisfied when they enjoy the environment in which they work. The extent to which an employee is satisfied with his/her work determines the growth or collapse of the organization where he/she works (Thompson & Phua, 2012).
However, organizations tend to focus more on predicting employees’ job performance rather than its satisfaction. In recent times, research has been conducted on employees’ job satisfaction unlike its initial state where it was being ignored. Locke (1976) described job satisfaction as a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences. Most organizations in African countries (Nigeria especially) seems to ignore the important of their employees’ job satisfaction but focuses more on the organizations’ productivity and sales increase.
Appreciation, recognition and appraisal works hand in hand in enhancing employees’ job satisfaction. In any organization where these essential tools are lacking, the organization suffers and this might lead to collapse or relapse of the organization (Latham & Budwoth 2007). Also leadership style of managers and/or supervisors in charge goes a long way to determine if the success and growth of the organization is guaranteed or threatened (Teven, 2007). Organizations rely greatly on its employees’ talents to achieve organizational success, and when job satisfaction is lacking, these valued employees’ are tempted to quit; negatively affecting the organizational effectiveness. An appropriate style of leadership and employees’ job satisfaction with their jobs are factors that are essential and fundamental to organizational success (Lok & Crawford, 2001).
Another major factor on this is that an organization is an open system which involves inter-relatedness of sub-systems (Morgan, 1986). Job satisfaction must be directed towards the organizational goals that are relevant and impactful to the job (Staw & Cohen-Charash, 2005). There are certain factors that must be taken into consideration when determining how satisfied an employee is with his/her job, and it is determined based on employee’s work situation or importance.
People tend to evaluate their work experiences based on feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction regarding their job, as well as organization which they work (Hulin & Judge, 2003). There are many probable influences that affect how favourably an individual appraises his or her job. Through years of extensive research, I/O Psychologists have identified numerous variables that seem to contribute to job satisfaction. To explain the development of job satisfaction, researchers have taken three common approaches which are job characteristics, social information processes (organizational characteristics), and dispositional (worker characteristics), Jex (2002).
Job characteristics approach research has revealed that the nature of an individual’s job or the characteristics of the organization predominantly determines job satisfaction. According to Hackman & Oldham (1980), a job characteristic is an aspect of a job that generates ideal conditions for high levels of motivation, satisfaction, and performance. A common premise in research of the effects of job circumstances on job satisfaction by comparing the current receivables from the job with what they believe they should receive, Jex (2002). For example, if an employee receiving an annual salary of #5,000,000 believes that he/she should be receiving a salary of #3,500,000, then he or she will experience satisfaction; however, if the employee believes that he or she should be receiving #9,000,000, then he or she will feel dissatisfied.
According to Locke (1976, Saari & Judge, 2004), this process becomes even more complex since the importance of work schedule differs as per individual perception. For example, one employee may feel that pay rate is extremely important while another may feel that social relationships are more important. Consequently, this leads to individual’s level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction when expectations are met or not.
Based on social information process, Jex (2002) explains that during social information processing, employees look to co-workers to make sense of and develop attitudes about their work environment. In other words, if employees find their co-workers positive and satisfied then they will most likely be satisfied; however, if their co-workers are negative and dissatisfied then the employee will most likely be dissatisfied.
Thirdly, dispositional (work characteristics) depicts that internal disposition is the crux of the latest method of explaining job satisfaction which hints some people being inclined to be satisfied or dissatisfied with their work irrespective of the nature of the job or the organizational environment (Jex, 2002).
Shift work occurs in a work schedule that necessitates 24 hours a day and occasionally, 7 days a week, to keep an organization operating without a hitch. Shift work occurs whenever 24-hour coverage is necessary or when a 24-hour day is needed to optimize work output and productivity. There are many approaches to shift work. For example, an employee may work 8 hours during a day that consists of three 8-hour shifts. Or, an employee may work twelve hours a day for 4 straight days and then be off the next 4 days. Employers have experimented with every conceivable form of shift work in an effort to maximize the potential of their operation while also considering how to minimize any ill effects on their workers (Schultz, Duane & Ellen, 2010). Those working the night shift, in particular, are susceptible to debilitating health effects due to lack of sick and poor eating habits.
Shift work, in which an employee works the same shift consistently, is always better for employee to create a fulfilling lifestyle and home life. Conversely, constantly changing shifts disrupts one’s life patterns. Here in Nigeria, not all the employees in different organizations do perform the usual 8am – 4pm – five days – a week. Nurses, pharmacists, military personnel’s, fire fighters, prison warders among others, do provide 24-hours – a - day service. Muchinsky (1997), posits that in industrial manufacturing companies, some technologies/machine require constant monitoring and operation. Hence, it becomes rational and practical to run these machines continually by having different shift work systems round the clock. He notes further that there are no uniform shift hours, as various companies adopt different shifts.
Usually for nurses, a 24-hour-a-day is broken into three 8-hour- work shifts as follows:
i. 7am to 2pm (day shift):
ii. 2pm to 10pm (swing or afternoon shift)’’ and
iii. 10pm to 7am (night shift).
Muchinsky finally observes that some companies have employees run only one shift, more so, as workers generally do not like the afternoon and night shift. Consequently, many firms and organizations do rotate the shift on weekly basis so as to carry all the workers along. Psychologists in industrial settings did and still do investigate the degree to which workers’ job satisfactions are affected by the shift work, and their abilities to cope with these changes in work schedules, Muchinsky (1988).
Since it is the duty of hospital workers to ensure that the health condition of the citizens here in Nigeria is well taken care of, the hospital workers had since adopted three shift work schedules covering from Sunday to Saturday of every week. In order to cover all these duties and safeguard the lives of the citizens effectively, the shift work schedule in this organization is as follows:
(a) Morning shift, from 0600 hrs to 1400 hours;
(b) Afternoon shift, 1400 to 2200 hours; and
(c) Night shift. 2200 hours to 0600 hours.
It should be noted at this juncture that the first workers to be initiated to this routine were not hospital workers, or even military personnel’s, but bakers. Industrialization and global warfare brought shift work into the mainstream (Aveni, 1999). In other words, estimates are that more than 25% of all workers in the U.S. and Europe are now shift workers.
This study investigates whether the hospital workers actually do have job satisfactions on their job; and/or experience stress in their day to day hassles while working these shifts. Aschoff (1978), in his work posits that shift workers experience many problems ranging from physiological to social adjustments; stressing that most physiological problems are associated with interruptions of the circadian rhythm or internal biological clock; that is to say, our bodies are “programmed” for a certain time cycle. Hence, shift works have been observed to interrupt the cycles of eating, sleeping and working hours; and workers on this shift therefore, tend to experience physiological problems.
In actual fact, the hospital workers on these shift works are mostly those on the lower ranks in the health sector. These are the nurses, social health workers, etc.; who constitute the life wire of the work. These groups of people are those mostly running the shift work systems; and are equally seen on the field from time to time. These are the same group of hospital workers seen by the general public either in their course of attending, treating of patients, and/or probably, while carrying out their health duties. This study therefore, tends to investigate whether these hospital workers while carrying out their duties, will actually experience stress.
Although, researchers have come to agree that stress is found in every organization, industries and in every day’s live of all human existence; many factors have been advanced by theorists to affect individual’s job satisfaction. Paramount amongst them is occupational stress. Organizational changes coupled with economic meltdown and depressions have produced its casualties at both organizational and individual level resulting in stress and conflict.
According to Cooper (2005), high incidence of stress throughout organizations irrespective of job satisfaction and involvement stress is individually analyzed and every employee has a range of satisfaction which they can feel steady and safe. For MCkenna (1999), stress entails any situation that is seen as burdensome, threatening ambiguous or boring and is likely to affect free flow of performance and satisfaction. A satisfied employee who is committed and involved in his or her job should not encounter stressful circumstances, but Mullins (1999) argued that one potential source of work stress arises from role incongruence and positional role conflict that are not compatible with individual training and experience. Mbieli (2007), noted that occupational stress could act to activate people into action with possible positive stress response is a stressor. Stress occurs when the magnitude of the stressor exceeds the individual’s capacity to resist. For instance, workload is stressor or something that caused a person to feel stressed when he thinks that he is unable to cope with the large workload. Six sources of stress or occupational stressors, were categorized in the occupational stress indicator (OSI) thus: factors intrinsic organizational structure and climate, and home/work interface. Cooper & Cartwright (1996) reiterated that these are main sources of stress at work, arguing that they are applicable to different occupations.