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Employee to Management Communication About Stress

Info: 12964 words (52 pages) Dissertation
Published: 11th Dec 2019

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Tagged: EmploymentManagementPsychology

Chapter 1

  1. Introduction

Stress is one of the psychological topics which affects humanity at family level, individual level and also at cooperate level thus there is need to explore ways of enlightening management on how best to handle stress in the work place. Seyle, (1936) coined the word stress and defined it as the non specific response of the body to any demand for change (Pomfrey, 2016). In personnel terms, human capital is the greatest assert of the organisation and its success depends on managing stress. There are a number of modern stressors which are increasingly causing pressure towards employees such as changes in technology, work migration, family and work balance, different time zones, competition, health worries, financial issues, relationships and bereavement. These might be the major reasons behind the increase in stress levels among individuals.

In modern day, great emphasis and importance is given to creativity, performance (excellence) and innovation. Thus it is difficult for stressed employees to be creative and innovative hence there is definite need for stress to be managed thereby enabling employees to be effective in adapting to fast changing world of today. As common as it is among Zimbabwean employees, it can be noted that the reason why stress continues to accelerate within employees is because of factors like job security, economic terrain of the country and lack of employee rights. Hence, such common problems faced spark the index of stress among local employees resulting in the great need to explore the extent to which employees open up about stress related issues to management. Therefore, in exploring the extent to which employees open up about stress related issues to management the following chapter is going to be focused on back ground of the study, problem statement, purpose of the study, objectives, research questions to be used, significance of the study, assumptions, theoretical frame work, delimitations and definition of key terms as shall be discussed.

1.1 Background

Stress in its altering degrees has become a part of everyone’s life due to a change from traditional to modern lifestyle. Stress may be viewed as a psycho physiological process usually experienced as a negative emotional state, resulting from physical or psychological demands (Agarwal & Marshall, 2001). Employee counselling has emerged as the latest Human Resources tool to attract and retain the best employees thereby increasing the quality of the work force. In today’s fast paced corporate world, there is virtually no organisation free of stress or stress free employees. Employees can be stressed, depressed, suffering from too much anxiety arising out of work place related issues like managing deadlines, meeting targets, lack of time to fulfil personal and family commitments or even bereaved and disturbed due to some personal problems (Mintz, 2014).

In as far as this ancient tradition of stress is concerned, stress can be categorised in several ways which include duration meaning acute and chronic stress, whereby acute stress is temporary stress that can last for less than six months while chronic stress is an on-going experience that occurs for long period of time (Larzelere and Jones, 2008). Secondly this tradition states that there is what is called domain stress which is either physical or psychological. For example within an organisation, psychological stress can be experienced when an employee is experiencing harassment or bullying either by other colleagues or even management. Lastly there is severity stress that can be traumatic or daily hassles, thus stress can produce both adaptive and maladaptive physiological system. All this explains the ancient tradition of stress in its fullness.

Since there is high potential stressors among employees, the organisation will end up suffering. The consequences and symptoms of stress first become detectable at the individual level. But, it is not only the individual who suffers because where stress is not recognized and dealt with at the appointed time it will soon impact on the organisation. The greatest consequence might be that of high staff turn-over and recruitment costs. This is perhaps the most common of the organisational effects of stress. Stressed employees tend not to enjoy their working environment, hence while some may have the confidence to search for their employer’s help in dealing with the stress others may feel they have no choice but to leave the organisation and eliminate them from the worrying situation. Furthermore, the consequences of stress can encompass absenteeism, reduced productivity levels, health and safety issues, reputational damage, low morale and increase in conflicts. In addition, cultural issues in the organisation do affect communication levels thereby making it difficult for employees to open up about stress related issues to management.

Taking a closer look at the unemployment levels in Zimbabwe, it is no secret that high unemployment levels in Zimbabwe are quite undesirable and have reached a record high which if unchecked will be a disaster in waiting ( Chirirere, 2010). There is continued collapse of the economy and shrinkening of the labour market. The last survey conducted (4) years ago by the country’s agency for National Statistics (Zimstat), pegged unemployment at 11%. However, looking at the state of Zimbabwe’s economy unemployment levels are much higher than 11% proposed by Zimstat. Every year Zimbabwe produces more than 6 000 graduates from different universities, polytechnic college, nursing schools, teachers colleges, apprenticeships to name but a few. All these people are expected to be part of employment hence revealing the major reason why employees are so desperate to be part of an organisation thus bottling up stress related issues at work place. This trend leads to high levels of unemployment as both qualified and unqualified workers compete for a few jobs (Nhangara, 2016).

Economic hardships in Zimbabwe have led to most employees cling to their jobs, thus enduring the stress they encounter at work. As a result opening up to management about stress related issues might be a problem because of job security. Failure of most companies to operate at full capacity and the closure of others is leaving many workers unemployed and ordinary Zimbabweans suffering (Chirirere, 2010). The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) stated that 9617 job losses and 75 company closures were recorded last year. According to the (Nhangara, 2016) Zimbabweans stayed at home on Wednesday, foreign banks and most businesses in the capital city shut down in one of the biggest protests against high unemployment. This only goes on to show the level of desperation people have thus when one gets employed will cling on to that job despite the stress related issues encountered. This desperation shows the extent to which employees are not prepared to fight with the systems because they are afraid of losing their jobs, thus as a result they endure the stress encountered at the work place. It is from such a background that this research aims to explore the levels of communication between management and employees.

1.2 Problem statement

People in Zimbabwe are living in a stressful environment be it monetarily, socially and even at industrial level, hence organisations are reluctant to improve working conditions simply because there is too much standby of qualified individuals loitering in the streets with no employment. Since 2006, companies have been down-sizing and carrying out retrenchment exercises. The figures started to shoot up especially in 2015 following the 17 July supreme court landmark ruling of Zuva petroleum which allowed companies to terminate employment contracts of employees on 3 months’ notice (Zimhunga, 2016). This opened up flood gates of terminations by companies. Thus this accelerated insecurity, desperation, lack of employee rights whereby the system favours the employer more than the employee as well as fear of dismissal; hence people are anxious to be part of an organisation leading to them enduring the stress related issues without opening up to management about it. As a result employees might be forced to continue working although with no emotional attachment. Zimbabwe’s unemployment levels have gone up to 95% with only 5% being the percentage of those employed (Moyo, 2012). Zimbabwe is one of the societies whereby the subordinate cannot challenge management unlike the low power society from the west. Thus people are desperate to be part of any organisation; hence at the end of the day they end up withdrawing or not open up to management about their stress related issues simply because of that desperation of wanting to belong somewhere.

This desperation will cause employees to work under pressure leading to the emanation of stressful issues within the organisation. It can be noted that people are desperate to belong somewhere, whilst at the same time management is not so desperate to get more/new employees. Because of this wide gap between the employees and management, it can be brought forth to light that management will end up using power and authority against the employees. This becomes the reason why employees fail or find it difficult to open up to management about their stress related issues. In addition, there are cultural factors regarding counselling such that Zimbabwean people especially men, do not believe in pouring out stress related issue to another individual. The biggest bottleneck in employee counselling at the work place is the lack of trust on the employee’s part to believe in the organisation or the superior to share and understand one’s problems (Mintz, 2014). Also the confidentiality that the counsellor will not disclose the personal problems or issues to others in the organisation can be some of the reasons behind employees not opening up to management about stress related issues.

1.3 Objectives of the study

  • To examine the extent to which employees are prepared to open up to management about stress related issues.
  • To identify some of the stress related issues employees are willing to disclose to management.
  • To identify some of the stress related issues they choose not to disclose to management.
  • To compare managerial and employee reports on stress related issues they discuss.
  • To identify the relationship between managerial style and employee stress.

1.4 Research questions

  • To what extent are employees prepared to open up to management about stress related issues?
  • What are some of the stress related issues employees are willing to disclose to management?
  • What are some of the stress related issues employees choose not to disclose to management?
  • Do managerial and employee reports match in as far as the issues they discuss is concerned.
  • What is the ideal managerial style that will enable employees to open up to management?

1.5 Purpose of the study

The retail industry is currently facing a lot of competition locally and globally; hence the aim of the study is to come up with an organisation that is competitive to its level best. Also, the study serves to identify the overall strategy that can make retail business competitive as well as perform in a sustainable way by having stress free employees. The study seeks to come up with the spirited work environment where employees perform to their level best and are relating well with the management through the management of stress.

1.6 Assumptions

The study is based upon the following assumptions

  • Employees are less likely to open up about stress related issues to management.
  • Zimbabwean companies are still using the traditional ways of approach which is the top down approach, hence there is less communication.
  • Fear of intimidation is the likely cause of preference in stress disclosure.

1.7 Significance of the study

The research will be relevant to multiple stake holders such as employees, the organisation and the retail sector at large as shall be discussed below.

1.7.1 Employees

Employees within the retail sector will stand to benefit out of this research. This is mainly so because this will enable for counselling services to be provided, improvement of working conditions and also this research will structure systems of good communication for them. Once an employee manages to open up to management about stress related issues, the issues will be taken care of hence the employee becomes healthier. Stress has got a negative impact on human health be it physical, psychological, emotional and social. Thus a healthy employee is more creative, more productive and more innovative. It can be noted that once an employee is stress free that employee is more likely to be more focused mainly because stress divides the attention of an individual. Less stress can be a driver of great performance such that an employee can perform to the level best if there is less stress.

Furthermore, conflicts can be avoided within the workplace among employees if they are stress free. When employees enjoying a higher level of stress free they tend to be more helpful and friendly with their colleagues at work. This helps to promote team building unity where sharing of information and knowledge is enhanced. Thus, the less the stress the more productive the employees are. Furthermore, the research will help in providing a sound board for employees giving them a safe place to talk about issues that trouble them and allowing the management to help them find their own solutions to problems or develop better ways to manage stressful issues.

1.7.2 The organisation

The organisation under research will also benefit in the sense that it will get best of employees as well as bring awareness to the employee problems encountered at in the work place. Once employees are less stressed within the organisation, there will be an increase in productivity resulting in more sells and more profits. Stress free employees will portray commitment, retention, maximum performance, creativity, employee morale and innovation thereby benefiting the company. It can be noted that employees who are stress free will be willing to go an extra mile and give extra effort at work for the benefit of the whole organisation. Managing stress at work will keep productivity levels at acceptable and sustainable levels (Business in the community, 2014). The organisation stands to benefit out of this research also because once employees are stress free, sabotage on counterproductive behaviours will be eliminated for they will become citizens of the organisation all for the benefit of the organisation.

Connecting to the above, when employees feel the company has their best interests at heart, they often support its mission and work hard to help achieve its objectives. They may be more likely to tell their friends which helps spread the goodwill of the organisation. High levels of stress free on employees can lead to an ideal customer service. When the employees are happy, the customers will be happy too. It can be brought forth to light that at the heart of these endeavours is a strong belief that today’s employee satisfaction, loyalty and commitment influence tomorrow’s customer satisfaction, loyalty, commitment and ultimately the organisation’s profit and growth.

1.7.2 Retail sector

The study will help in the identification for the best managerial style for the retail sector; hence this can influence the overall performance of the staff. In addition some retail organisations will end up using this research, as well as imitate best practices for their own benefit. Furthermore, recommendations will act as a test for considerate managerial approach throughout the retail sector in Zimbabwe.

1.8 Theoretical frame work

The study was anchored on three theoretical frameworks that are Humanism, The standard stress reaction model an Karen Horney.

1.8.1 Humanism

This is a theory that helped explain the issue of stress disclosure amongst employees within an organisation. Humanism states that mal-adaptive behaviours such as fear are due to lack of unconditional positive regard. Hence stress is a perception such that when people perceive they are not regarded they are likely to be stressed. According to humanism, people want to be loved, supported and they need that unconditional positive regard. Hence as long as they are accepted as well as the support system of the work place will determine whether people will be stressed or not. Although pressures at the work place is inevitable due to the demands of the contemporary work environment, employees still need that support, that love from the organisation in order for them to have that sense of entitlement or to feel that they are truly part of the organisation. Failure for all this stress will creep in and at the end of the day employees will fail or will be unwilling to open up about their stress related issues simply because they will not be having that sense of entitlement.

Every human being when faced with difficulties needs a support system from another individual. The same goes on to the employees within an organisation, when they face difficulties they need support, and how much they get support will enable them to communicate better as well as help them to deal with their problems. Thus the extent to which they open and get support will determine whether they are going to be stressed or not. Hence, there is need to explore more on the relationship between employees and management and if there is a two way communication between employees and management in relation to stress.

1.8.2 Karen Horney

Karen Horney talks of the Neurotic needs within an individual which goes hand in hand with what humanism explained. The Neurotic Needs theory states that the neurotic has a desperate need for acceptance and affection; hence because of these anxieties stress will occur (Horney, 1950). According to Karen Horney, people’s behaviours are shaped by everyday anxiety such as economic anxiety. Most employees in Zimbabwe are experiencing this anxiety which emanates from the thought whether they are going to get paid as well as be able to pay rent and school fees for the children thereby resulting in stress. There is also social anxiety whereby one will be constantly worried whether they are going to get fired, moved as well as relationships at work. All this is bound to cause stress within an individual. In addition, Karen Horney talks of psychological anxiety which can be of job security since most organisations are retrenching and closing down. All these anxieties will accelerate stress within employees hence the need to explore on the communication levels between employees and management.

Neurosis is how people cope and have control over interpersonal issues that happen day to day (Horney, 1942). Neurosis is a psychic disturbance brought by fears and defences against these fears and by attempts to find compromising solutions for conflicting tendencies. This describes an individual having trouble with coping and handling trouble with coping and handling certain psychological environmental stressors resulting in problems within themselves (Horney, 1937). Furthermore, this need for affection and approval which is the haphazard need to both please others and to be liked by them is present in people who are high in neurosis. This neurotic need for someone else to take one’s life, social recognition encompassing the idea that love will solve all of one’s problems if not accomplished will cause employees within an organisation to withdraw thus moving away from or resigning solutions (Rubins, 1978). At the end of it all if this is experienced by employees within an organisation, they will end up not opening up to management about their stress related issue.

1.8.3 The standard stress reaction model

Please refer to figure 1 below for a diagrammatical presentation of the standard stress reaction.

  1. A threat exists to a person’s need fulfilment or motives.
  2. A person becomes aware of the threat.
  3. The threat is appraised: an assessment of personal capabilities to deal with the stress.
  4. Active response to the stress.
  5. Flight/withdrawal from the stressful situation.

 

Figure 1: The standard stress reaction model: Sources: Gordon (1986) in Scheduler (1997:7)

There are many things that people need in today’s work environment and these motives include salary, security just to mention a few. Hence, because people know of threats concerning (job security) stress is likely to be there. It can be noted that in today’s work environment, due to nepotism and relativism most employees have become aware of the threat, thus revealing that there is the potential of occurrence of stress among Zimbabwean employees in as far as job security is concerned.

This model suggests that a person will either learn to cope with stress or will try to fight it or flee from it. Failure to cope with stress at work manifests itself through poor performances, absenteeism and high labour turnover rates that have a negative impact on productivity. On the other hand the ability to cope with stress is demonstrated by an individual’s desire to satisfy the needs for achievement and self-actualization emanating in increased labour productivity.

It can then be noted that those employees who fail to cope with their stress related issues will end up approaching management in search of help in as far as their problems are concerned. While on the other hand, those employees that thrive to deal with the stressful issues are those with a type A personality whereby they are perfectionists who set high standards for themselves. These are the people who find it difficult to open up to management about their stress related issues because they do not want to be seen as failures.

1.9 Limitations

The research was conducted on a face to face basis; hence it was affected by social desirability resulting in the distortion of the findings. Furthermore, the sample is smaller for qualitative research hence extension becomes difficult and there is low external validity. It can be brought forth to light that convenience sampling is feasible, but the weakness is that it cannot be a true representative of the entire retail sector. This is because the findings of the research are not tested to discover whether they are statistically significant or due to chance (Creswell, 1994). In addition, it can be noted that whilst qualitative methods can examine social processes at work in particular contexts, in considerable depth the interview process collection, intensive category process and especially the analysis of this material can be time consuming and therefore expensive since qualitative research also requires training and experience (Willig, 2001).

Connecting to the above, a cost benefit analysis is not implemented and only a subjective approach of the author is implemented thus making difficult the implementation of controls. It can be brought forth to light that it is possible that the reality of the matter may not be defined correctly because the research is heavily reliant on the skills of the researcher and can be easily influenced by personal idiosyncrasies and biases of the researcher.

Having such various limitations, it can be noted that the study faced some challenges in the process of conducting it. Furthermore, there are other limitations the study faced and these include facts like sensitive issues between employees and management are going to be dealt with and revealed so it might lead to the screening of some useful information towards the study.

1.10 Delimitations

The research was focused on low level employees within Spar retail supermarket along ………………………….. The study was focused on Spar retail supermarket simply because it is based on the extreme case. Such a retail organisation has been in the business for a long time and has been exposed to the Zimbabwean culture for long, hence can represent the whole of Zimbabwe in its uniqueness. The demographic characteristics will encompass both male and female participants and will be limited to qualitative research method.

1.10 Definition of key terms

1.10.1 Stress

Is a process that arises from the assumption or appraisal that particular environmental demands tax individual resources, thus threatening their well being (Holroyd and Lazarus, 1982).

Stress may also be defined as a psycho-physiological process usually experienced as a negative emotional state, resulting from physical or psychological demands (Agarwal; Marshall, 2009).

Stress can also be viewed as a dynamic condition in which an individual is confronted with opportunity constraint or demand related to what he desires and for which the outcome is perceived to be both uncertain and important (Robbins, 2004).

1.11.2 Workplace stress

Relates to the degree of tension, anxiety and pressure individuals experience as a result of their inability to cope with the demands relating to work or to the factors accompanying their jobs or working relationships such as, conflicts, poor job designing, poor working conditions and environment. As noted by (Dyer, 1990) in Scheuler (1997:8), that indicators of stress include poor productivity, high labour turnover and job dissatisfaction.

1.12 Conclusion – Summary

The background has demonstrated that stress is a common phenomenon facing the word including Zimbabwe. It is from this background that the research is focused on identifying the extent to which employees open up about stress related issues to management. Hence, in doing so three theoretical frameworks were chosen which include Humanism, The standard stress reaction model and Neurotic needs by Karen Horney. In exploring objectives such as to examine the extent to which employees are prepared to open up about stress related issues to management, to identify issues they are willing and not willing to disclose to management as well as recognizing the cultural factors that can hamper or endorse the level of openness, it can be brought forth to light that various aspects were touched on such as research questions, purpose of the study, assumptions, significance of the study, limitations, delimitations and definition of key terms.

 

 

Chapter 2

Literature review

  1. Introduction

This chapter covers the diverse studies previously undertaken by scholars which this researcher reviewed and related to on the extent to which employees open up about stress related issues to management. It will provide in-depth insight on the nature of stress as it seeks to discover various aspects of stress in-order to get a better perceptive of the topic through fusion and analysis of the previous researches done on the topic.

2.1 Origins, Terminology and Definition of Stress

The term stress was first engaged in a biological context by endocrinologist Hans Selye in the 1930s. He later broadened and popularized the concept to include inappropriate physiological response to any demand. In his usage, stress refers to a state and the stressor to the stimulus causing it. It covers a wide range of phenomenon from mild annoyance to dysfunction that may cause harsh health breakdown

According to Robbins (2004), stress is a dynamic condition in which an individual is confronted with opportunity, limitations or demands related to what he or she desires, and for which the outcome is perceived to be both uncertain and important. From this definition, one it can be noted that stress is not necessarily bad as it also has a positive value when it offers probable gain.

Moorhead and Griffen (1998) also defined stress as a person’s adaptive response to a stimulus that places physical to and psychological demands on a person. Similarly Bahlander and Snell (1996) also defined stress as any adjustive demand on an individual caused by physical, emotional or mental factors that requires coping behaviour. Also Shelley (1995) describes stress as a negative emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological, cognitive and behavioural changes that are focussed either toward altering the events or accommodating its effects.

2.2 Nature of stress

It can be brought forth to light that stress is a complex phenomenon because it is not concrete so it cannot be overtly touched. According to Bowing and Harvey (2001), stress occurs with the interaction between an individual and the environment which produces emotional strain affecting a person’s physical and mental condition. Stress is caused by stressors, which are events that generate a state of disequilibrium within an individual. These authors stated that the rate of too much stress on individuals, organisations and society is high. Many employees may undergo anxiety disorders or stress related illnesses. In terms of days lost on the job, it is estimated that each affected employee loses about 16 working days a year because of stress, anxiety or depression.

According to Ritchie and Martin (1999), for years stress was described and defined in terms of external usually physical forces acting on an individual. Later it was suggested that the individual’s insight of a response to stimuli or events was a very significant factor in determining how that individual might react, and whether or not an event will be considered stressful. These authors contended that most researchers accredited that both external and internal factors affect stress. They viewed stress as a response to external or internal processes which reach levels that damage physical and psychological capacities beyond their limit.

According to Blumenthal (2003), for thousands of years the bodies of women were situated to deal with the harsh rigours of their environment. In the face of danger a rush of misfortunes, muscles and nerves were charged for abrupt movement, heart rates would increase, blood would course through the veins with sugar released in to the blood stream. The flight or fight response would ready them for action, powerful hormones epinephrine and nor epinephrine released by the adrenal gland endowed humans with enhanced alertness, strength and energy. Thousands of years later humans live in the same bodies and possess the same human brains but in a world with completely different stressors and hassles.

While few humans may face danger from wild animals and unsuccessful hunting, urban life is equally demanding. The urban environment is prevalent with stressors such as pollution, noise, violence and traffic that stimulates the nervous system into a flight or fight response but it is only in rare instances that an aggressive or vigorous physical response is appropriate.

Blumenthal (2003) viewed stress as anything that upsets people’s aptitude to maintain critical variables which can be social, psychological, spiritual or biological in nature within satisfactory limits. The experience of stress involves an event that is challenging or resources as well as a subjective feeling of distress experienced in its face. An event could be experienced as stressful if people appraised it as upsetting. Whether an event is experienced as stressful depends on a person’s psychological orientation with things like culture, spirituality, values, beliefs and past experiences influencing appraisal.

2.3 Causes of workplace stress

2.3.1 Organisational related practices

How the organisation operates and what it believes in towards the work which may have come to be organisation traditions can be a basis of workplace stress.

Career development and growth

The feeling of being in a stagnant place with the sequence of one’s career can be a source of stress at work. According to Leka et al (2003), having too much or too little to do, limited chance for further study and training, scant promotion prospects, under or over promotion can cause workplace stress (Michie, 2002). Organisations have become flatter, meaning that supremacy and responsibility now radiates throughout the organisation. The work force has become more diversified resulting in jobs and careers getting scarcer, thus for a person who would have been determined to go up through an organisation the challenge becomes greater. It can be noted that career development causes a lot of stress to employees simply because staying the same hurriedly becomes an insufficient approach to work.

Interpersonal relationships

Bickford, (2005) is of the view that poor relations with subordinates, superiors and co-workers at work may cause job related stress. This is because the vagueness and fright which may result from such compromises the worker to handle stressors. In that same manner, bullying, pestering and threats of violence may also result in work place stress. Further on, interpersonal relationships, Leka et al, (2003) believe uncertain measures for dealing with work issues as well as inadequate, uncharitable and uncooperative supervision at work may result in occupational stress (Michie, 2002). They also added on the concept of working in isolation as a major source of job stress as the probability of getting support during work hours from colleagues can be very low resulting in work related stress.

2.3.2 Personal features

When workers are faced with stressors, they have diverse ways to cope stemming from their personalities. This therefore makes other workers more prone to work related stress than others based on their personalities. According to Houtman and Jettinghof (2007), individual differences of the worker such as age, education, experience and coping style are most important in predicting whether certain job condition will result in stress. People with personality disorders are not likely to handle well damage imposed by pressure at work consequential in job stress (Kendall et al, 2000). These disorders increase the possibility of work stress and the materialization of occupational stress. The same applies to people with low self esteem, they are likely to undergo work related stress as their aptitude to cope is sternly compromised by the way they view their capabilities (Leka and Jain, 2010).

2.3.3 Job features

Overload can be one of the factors that may cause workplace stress. This is the degree to which individuals feel that the demands of their workload and the correlated time pressure are a source of pressure. For example impractical deadlines and expectations, often as a result of super achievement by the most gifted, technology and under staffing of staff for work already time tabled (Wright and Cooper, 2002).

Connecting to the above, work load can be simply understood in simple terms as the volume of work or its requirements. It is usually discussed in terms of magnitude for example the amount or level of work per individual or in terms of excellence. Too much or too little to do could lead to job-related stress. If the volume of work mismatches or surpasses the skills, knowledge and abilities of the worker results in stress (Bickford, 2005). It can be brought forth to light that having too much to do may lead to inadequate time for planning, incapacity to complete obligatory tasks in the allocated workday resulting in work being taken home, (Humphrey, 1998; Sauter and Hurrell, 1999).

2.3.3 Socio-Economic and Technology Environment

Globalisation has also been found to cause job-related stress. According to Houtman and Jettinghoff (2007), globalisation at international level results in increased economic dealings, increased foreign investments and increased world trade. At national level it results in incoherent companies and smaller independent decentralised units as well as outsourced activities to smaller units. In other words, it increases competition in the trade zone which makes organisations want to take advantage of on profits and reduce on expenditure such as labour. This thus creates a situation where there is more work for few workers and high pressure to meet deadline. In simpler terms, globalisation has resulted in extra widening the gap between the rich and the poor and in excluding and marginalising the general worker, particularly in developing countries (Houtman and Jettinghoff, 2007). As a result, if workers fail to cope up with the demands brought about by globalization then they may give in to work related stress.

It can be noted that in order to execute a job effectively, individuals need to feel that they have suitable training, equipment and resources resulting in the issue of resources and communication being another cause of workplace stress. New technology can be another source of work place stress among employees. The introduction of new technology into the work environment will necessitate workers to become accustomed continually to new equipment systems and ways of working, thus leading to a great source of pressure at work on the workers. For instance, a boss skilled in the latest methods may be an additional burden for an employee trained in the old ways and this may add to stress levels. Employees need to feel that they are sufficiently informed and that they are appreciated. Stress may also result from lack of information about what is going on within the organisation, feedback on performance, ample training on the job and resources to do the job.

2.3.4 Lack of payment

Taking a closer look at the current economic situation in Zimbabwe, it can be brought forth to light that most workers are getting frustrated because of lack of payment as well as benefits. The financial rewards connected with a job are also often alleged to be an indication of an individual’s worth and value to the organisation. Although financial rewards may not be a key motivator, it could become a factor if there are other unenthusiastic aspects to the job (Tytherleigh et al, 2005).

2.3.5 Work and family imbalance

Over and above, work and family imbalance can also result in employees being stressed during working hours. The demands of work have the potential to spill over and have an effect on personal and home life hence putting a strain on relationships outside work. For example, having to work long hours thus being expected to complete a certain task which will result in having to work additional hours at home all to the disadvantage of personal, partner and family relationships. This can also be caused by over demanding and rigid work schedules, unsocial hours, extreme travel time as well as work interfering with home and personal life.

2.3.6 Lack of influence

The experience of pressure is strongly linked to perceptions of control. Lack of authority and consultation in the way which work is organised and performed can be a probable source of pressure on employees. For example lack of control over aspects of the job, lack of involvement in decision making, account not taken of staff ideas and suggestions about the job, lack of influence over performance targets as well as lack of time. Such lack of control can cause work place stress among employees within an organisation.

2.3.7 Job security

Job security is yet another potential cause of work place stress among employees. Taking a closer look at the situation at hand in Zimbabwe where by so many organisations are retrenching employees on a daily basis, hence employees will not be certain whether they will work up with their current job or having none at all. This is the extent to which lack of job security and job change are a source of pressure towards employees. For example an organisation can have impermanent fixed contracts, future job change as well as fear of skill redundancy. All these factors can end up causing work place stress thereby affecting job performance and high productivity at the same time.

2.3.8 Role in the organisation

Role in the organisation can yet be another cause of work place stress. It can be noted that when person’s role in the organisation is clearly defined and understood and expectations placed upon are clear, stress can be kept to a least amount (Robertson and Cooper, 1993). Under role in the organisation, there is role vagueness that can cause work place stress. This arises when employees do not know what is expected of them and how their work performances are evaluated. That is employees do not know how and where they fit into the organisation and will not be sure of any reward no matter how well they may perform. According to Johns (1996), there is considerable evidence that role vagueness can provoke stress. Lack of direction can prove stressful, especially for people who are low in their broad-mindedness.

In addition, role conflict is yet another source of work place stress within an organisation. Employees experience a high rate of stress when two superiors are demanding contradictory things and when attending to one will mean disobeying the other superior. For example workers may often feel themselves torn between two groups of who demand different types of behaviour or who believe the job entails different functions. This will make employees baffled and aggravated. Luthans (2002) differentiates three major types of role conflict which are conflict between the person and the role, intra role conflict as well as inter role conflict resulting in job related stress.

2.3.9 Responsibility

Responsibility within an organisation can be yet another source of work place stress. It can be noted that in an organisation there are basically two types of responsibilities which include responsibility for people and responsibility for things such as budget and equipment. It can be brought forth to light that responsibility for people causes a lot of damage since it requires spending more time interacting with them, attending meetings as well as attempting to meet their needs, resolving conflicts and disputes amongst them and making unpleasant interpersonal decisions.

2.4 Positive stress/ Eustress

This is when one perceives a stressful situation opportunity that will lead to a good outcome. Positive stress can also be noted as a response people have whenever faced with a demand they can handle, thus it is a glimmer that can push one’s body to its limits in order to attain a certain goal (Solve, 2012). Eustress can also be viewed as a cognitive enhancer since stress helps the brain to focus (Knowlton, 2017). It can be noted that this positive expectation is in contrast to negative stress when one perceives a stressor as a hazard that will have a poor outcome.

Eustress to a stressor motivates one to deal with a challenge or achieve a certain task at hand. It helps one to face whatever at hand as well as mend what needs to be fixed. In the end eustress can lead to feelings of contentment and achievement, well-being and completeness. Positive stress is more likely to succeed if one has had appositive experiences and outcomes with stress in the past (Buddock, 2012). However, there are a number of factors that can help one view and react positively to a stressful situation. These may include, one believing in him or herself and his or her ability to manage the task/ stressor, one’s perception that they have the power and control over the situation, as well as expectation of a reward

It is of paramount importance to note that increasing eustress in the work place is of existing interest because stress in the workplace is a key source of distress resulting in poor performance and output (Buddock, 2012). Positive stress normally makes or pushes people to do things that they would not usually do. It gives extra urge to take risks such as asking the boss for a promotion.  Hence since Spar supermarket is one of the largest and oldest organisations in the retail sector which deals with a large number of customers, there is great need for it to put much emphasis on eustress among employees in order for it to maintain its standards.

As noted by Knowlton (2017), focusing on the positive aspects of stress can be enough to help one turn stress around and make the most out of it. Positive stress can be physically enhancing such that it can increase physical performance and endurance since it cause one to release adrenaline which speeds up the heart rate as well as metabolism. This can then result in increased reactions and flexes which also can act into a pain killer resulting in better endurance.

2.5 Retail sector and stress

According to Musarurwa (2016), Zimbabwean companies are estimated to be losing $300 million a year in wages and productivity as a result of employee stress. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that the cost of mental health problems in developed countries is estimated to between 3% and 4% of gross national product (GNP). According to the stress levels in Zimbabwean employee survey report 2016, which was undertaken by industrial psychology consultants (Pvt) Ltd most local companies, are not well equipped to deal with employee stress as indicated by the high stress levels of their work. The study revealed that 72.3% of the surveyed Zimbabwean workforce is in distress and 27.7% are under the moderately eminent category. The prevalence of stress showed by the survey reveals that it is highest in the retail sector with 87.1% followed by media, marketing and advertising.

2.6 Job characteristics and stress

Harckman and Oldham’s (1980) job characteristics model focuses on significant aspects of job characteristics such as skill variety (how many diverse skills are required), duty identity (how well everyday tasks are linked to overall work goals), task significance (how vital the job is), autonomy (how free the individual is to administer their own working), and feedback (the amount of reward, praises or comment the worker receives). These characteristics (which can be of positive or negative value) are anticipated to lead to critical psychological states of experienced meaningfulness, experienced responsibilities of outcomes and facts of outcomes of work.

For many individuals, work can be a major source of stress (Davis and Newstrom, 1985). Job stress is a broad notion that has been defined in different ways over the past several decades, both as a stimulus that causes stress or as a response to a stressor. It can be noted that certain job characteristics, as packaged into precise professions are linked with distress, and mental health problems. For example researchers narrate policing (Bawa and Kaur, 2011), dentistry (DiMatteo, Shugars, Hays and RON, 1993), and teaching (Joshi and Jogsan, 2011) positions to distress and mental health problems arguing that the characteristics of these jobs influence mental health in a negative manner. Now taking a closer look at the retail sector, it can be brought forth to light that it requires so much interaction with the customers some of which are not easy to deal with. Such employees are bound to be stressed most of the time because their job require one to be ever smiling, polite, patient and hard working at the same time. Hence the characteristics of the job alone can be a source of stress to the employees.

Although the aetiology of stress and depression varies, it would be naive to argue that the design of the job individuals perform does not play some aetiological role as individuals spend such a large portion of their time working. The stress of workers according to Melchior et al, (2007) stem from perceived job demands, low job control and insufficient work support. The type of work the individual performs may thus determine the nature of the stressors and their impact (Lacovides et al, 2003). According to Lacivides et al (2003), he also states that there is substantial evidence that job characteristics such skill use, job control and qualitative job demands have effects on mental health including major depression, burnout and substance use. Job autonomy and control over one’s schedule were also found to be important in the development of burnout among psychiatrists in Japan (Umene-Nakano et al, 2013).

 

 

2.7 Ethics in the workplace and stress

Stress is the widespread disease of 21st Century which affects humans in different conditions. One of the main sources of stress in the life of each person in their job and today’s job stress has become a common and costly issue in job environments. Ethics on the other hand have been one of the topics existing since the early days of mankind birth and not only has it lost its weight of existence over the time, but also it has gained more worth in its period of time. It is safe to say that in modern organisations most behaviours and decisions of employees and managers are under the effects of principles. Job stress appears whenever there is a higher expectation from personnel compared to their responsibilities and abilities. On the other hand, one of the main issues causing different problems for worldwide organisations is the problem raised from working against work ethics in different societies. Thus professional working ethics has cross organisational backgrounds and also results in cross organisational effects and results.

In simpler terms, work ethics means the individual ethical responsibility based on the job. In one hand, work ethics just like personal ethics concerns individual responsibility as a person while on the other hand against personal ethics it concerns job related features as well as ethical responsibilities. Work ethics is common behavioural features inside a profession. It is the management of human behaviour and deed while performing professional work and respecting the ethics is required according to (Qaramolki, 2003).

Connecting to the above, for example taking a look at recognition which can be an issue that can affect ethics in the work place. Working hard on a daily basis usually leads to progression of opportunities. One expects to receive gratitude for their contributions hence when the boss takes credit for one’s ideas and work it can be a major stress factor in the work place and one may feel they no longer want to work as hard as they normally do. An ethical boss does not need to steal ideas from subordinates, they are confident in their own abilities so instead, they encourage teamwork. Thus a credit stealing boss is emotionally draining.

Taking a closer look at the issue of overwork, when one starts a new job they are told the number of hours they are expected to work and they expect that. However if a boss makes it a routine of showing up on Friday afternoons to ask one to come on Saturday, they are bound to feel stressed. Thus ethical demands and stress at work can cause chaos on one’s health. According to the international journal of business and social science, prolonged stress can cause both psychological and physical illness. This can lead to missed days at work, low morale and conflict between work and family. However, work ethics can affect the performance through better regulation of differences and conflicts, increasing the environment for understanding and collaboration and also reduction of costs for supervising. Thus work ethics increases employees’ commitment and acceptance of their responsibility which in turn results in personal and group performance optimization.

2.8 Employment insecurity and stress

The decline of employees due to financial savings, mergers and acquisitions, reformation, changing work practices and outsourcing positions regularly occurs as organisations seek to remain competitive (Casio, 1999). Consequently, job insecurity is a major work related stressor which affects the growing number of workers. Job insecurity is regarded as the overall concern about the continued existence of the job in the future (Sverke and Hellgren, 2002). As for-mentioned, job security stems from the subjectivity of a threat perceived by an employee. Transactional models of stress postulates this perception of a threat has the potential to become a source of stress towards the employee (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984). Consequently, stress occurs when perceived capability of an employee cannot cope with the perceived demands placed on them.

Connecting to the above, losing one’s job has serious economic consequences on the person hence such employee will end up being stressed since their future will not be clear (Jacobson et al, 1993). Workers who face an uncertain future may not be able to effectively cope with the situation which leads to experiencing a high level of stress. Indeed, research indicates that the consequences of job insecurity can have a more damaging effect than job loss itself. Taking a closer look at the present economic situation in Zimbabwe, there is a lot of uncertainty in as far as job security is concerned. This is mainly so because most companies are closing down, there is a lot of retrenchments going on as a result most organisations are taking contractors not permanent employees. It can be noted that such uncertainty of not being able to know whether the employer is going to renew the contract or not can be a source of high levels of stress. It can be brought forth to light that when employees do not receive sufficient information about organisational changes that threaten job security it fuels rumours and increases insecurity regarding the position that they are in (Probst, 2010).  Here subjective threats are perceived from objective events, whereby a lack of official communication from the organisation creates indistinctness about the security of an employee’s position which may in turn increase levels of job insecurity.

Some organisations have tried to reduce dependence on middle management by gratifying their hierarchies. However, as a result this restructuring often involves job reassignments or redundancies, therefore increasing job insecurity among workers. Hence it can be brought forth to light that the more employees are not secure about the future of their job the higher the levels of stress.

2.9 Summary

In summation, the majority of authors in the review of literature reflected occupational stress as a common phenomenon facing the world including Zimbabwe. The field of work related stress has been researched for more than half a century now hence some studies have been interested in knowing the sources, effects as well as management of stress in different industries such as the educational sector, medical sector the list is endless. Few researches have been undertaken in Zimbabwe to fully investigate the extent to which employees open up about stress related issues to management especially in the retail sector, hence this study reveals some of the issues that can cause employees not to be able to communicate with management in as far as their stress related issues are concerned.

 

Chapter 3

3.0 Introduction

In the retail industry in Zimbabwe, Spar supermarket is one of the oldest retail organisation that has resisted change and is one of the biggest identified with Zimbabwe whereby employees are local thus making it relevant to use in the process of conducting this research. Thus the previous chapter was looking at literature trends which helped in identifying the research gap enabling the flow of literature in order to avoid repeatability. Now this chapter is going to be focused on methodology which is going to test the objectives that were mentioned in the previous chapter. This is going to encompass population and sample, sampling procedure, data collection method, research instruments, data collection procedure, as well as data presentation and analysis procedure.

3.1 Methodology

The methodology is a qualitative research method. A research design can be noted as the arrangement of conditions for collecting and analysing data in a manner that aims to combine relevance to the research purpose with economy in procedure (Kothar, 2004). Because of its strengths, case study is a particularly appealing design for applied fields of study. An applied field’s processes, problems and programmes can be examined to bring about understanding that in turn can affect and perhaps even improve practice. It can be noted that case studies are often done in the subject’s real world context which gives researchers a good view of what they are really like.

3.1.1 Design (Case Study)

In the process of conducting this research, Spar supermarket was used as a case study since it is one of the oldest retail organisations that has resisted change thus can represent the whole of Zimbabwe perfectly. Spar supermarket is also relevant since it is close by thus making the researcher understand phenomenon in-depth. The researcher chose to work with it as a research design simply because it will allow a lot of detail to be collected that would not normally be easily obtained by other research designs. The data collected is normally a lot richer and of greater depth than can be found through any other experimental designs. A case study is more unique hence will be relevant with the research since Spar supermarket is also unique, most preferred and identified as Zimbabwean.

It can be brought forth to light that case studies can help experimenters adapt ideas and produce novel hypothesis which can be used for later testing. Hence a case study is responsible for intensive study of unit which is the investigation and exploration of an event thoroughly and deeply. Furthermore, case studies tend to be conducted on rare cases where large samples of similar participants are not available.

Another reason why the researcher chose to work with a case study in the process of collecting data is because there is continuous analysis of data which makes it valuable in analyzing continuously the life of a social unit to dig out the facts. Also case studies allow the researcher to compare different types of facts about the study of a unit and it also gives the analytical power a person to increase knowledge about a social phenomena. There is also generalization of data when working with a case study, thus it provides grounds for generalization of data for illustrating statistical findings.

3.2 Population and sample

In the opinion of Agyedu and Obeng, (1999), population of a study refers to a complete set of individuals (subjects), objects or events having common observable characteristics in which the researcher is interested. They further stressed that population constitutes the target of a study and must be clearly defined and identified. The researcher worked with OK retail super market which has approximately 100 employees. However, the researcher worked with about four (4) managers and three (3) employees during the process of conducting the research.

3.3 Sampling procedure

In exploring ethics and stress related issues in today’s world, it can be noted that analysis are best when conducted on samples that are still fresh (Sarantakos, 2005). The researcher used convenience sampling in the process of collecting data. This is mainly so because of the strengths it has such as being time consuming. It can be noted that Spar supermarket encourages participation and there is great feasibility since it is nearby and most of the shop flows as well as the employees are found on the ground floor.

With convenience sampling technique, the survey can be conducted in a short span of time. This happens because an exhaustive research of the entire population is not conducted but the aim is to gather primary data on a topic by asking a handful of easily approachable people (Guest, 2010). With convenience sampling, there is very little preparation that is needed to effectively gather data thus it is useful in time sensitive research like the one to be conducted.

Convenience sampling technique was used also because of its cost effectiveness. There is minimal overhead because there is no elaborate setup, thus researchers can pull from local population groups. It allows for funds to be distributed to other aspects of the project. Furthermore, with convenience sampling there is ease of availability such that subjects for the study are easily available within the proximity of the researcher. Hence the researcher does not have to do any extra or go out of the way to gather data.

In addition, the researcher opted for convenience sampling because it provides rich qualitative information. When illustrative quotes are important surveys to convenience samples can be a great source of rich verbatim comments on specific topics. The study can also provide detailed demographic profiles to shed further light on the comments (Karandikar, 2016).

3.4 Data collection method

3.4.1 In-depth interviews

Qualitative research is a broad umbrella term that covers a wide range of techniques and philosophies. It can examine people’s experiences in detail by using a specific set of research histories or biographies ( Hennink, 2010). The skill of the qualitative researcher must be expert so that they can extract the information and meaning from the given data, convert them into useful information such as reports or presentations. One of the tools of qualitative research is In-depth interviews. These are open ended and guided discussions that involve conducting thorough individual interviews with a small number of respondents. The main objective is to discover their perspective on a particular situation, idea and program ( Boyce, 2006). In-depth interviews are used to explore and understand about a person’s thoughts, ideas and behaviours. Through interviews, information and outcome data can be obtained thus understanding what happens in a specific program and why it happened.

The reason why the researcher chose to work with in-depth interviews is that it provides room for learning since some participants might say things not included in the research questions allowing for modification if there is need. It can be noted that much comprehensive information can be obtained through other data collection methods such as surveys. Surveys can create a friendly environment for people to fill out ideas and thoughts thus the results and feedbacks can be obtained more easily and accurately.

Another reason why in-depth interview was chosen is because they allow the interviewer to understand deeper with the participant, and again more extra knowledge and insight than focus groups. Also in-depth interviews are useful with difficult recruiting. When recruiting, it might be hard to reach individuals, thus setting up an in-depth interview is a better option than a focus group because you only need to accommodate one individual. In-depth interviews also bring forth sincere responses in a private setting regarding personal and/or professional topics of discussion.

In-depth interviews were used because there are fewer distractions when conducting the process. In-depth interviews eliminate the distractions thereby enabling the researcher to obtain accurate and relevant information of the study. Furthermore, in-depth interviews are faster and cheaper, thus are usually quicker and less expensive. Special facilities are unnecessary, researchers need fewer participants and scheduling is more flexible. Participation commitments are easier to obtain resulting in lower incentive payments for in-depth interview participants.

In-depth interviews are more productive thus as a result; researchers only need about half as many respondents to accomplish the same objectives. There are also deeper insights when conducting in-depth interviews whereby each participant has more time and opportunity to share feelings, perspectives, and attitudes. The interviewer has plenty of time to explore and obtain in-depth responses since respondents tend to express themselves more freely. Also this will help in future references within that organisation and the entire retail sector in Zimbabwe.

3.5 Research instruments

3.5.1 Interview guide

The researcher made use of an interview guide during the process of conducting interviews when collecting the data necessary for the research. An Interview guide was necessary simply because it was used to help direct the conversation towards the topics and issues to be learnt about.

Interview guides also helped the researcher to know exactly what to ask about, in what sequence, how to pose the questions as well as how to pose follow ups. In addition an interview guide was advantageous in the sense that they provided guidance about what to do or say next after the interviewee has answered the last question (Kennedy, 2006).

3.5.2 Recording machine

The researcher also used a recording machine with the consent of the organisation as well as the participants. The use of a recording machine helped in the improvement of internal validity as well as content validity in the sense that the research will be perfect because no information will be lost since all the data relevant or not will be captured fully during the interviews. Having a recording machine allowed the researcher to replay and take down all the information allowing information to be captured comprehensively.

3.5.3 Notebook

Once again the researcher made use of a small note book which will help in jotting down as well as hinting on key points. A note book was used to capturing non verbal quos missed by the audio. A note book was also useful in that it helped take down some important notes that may not have been spoken by the participants but things and issues that can be noticed within the organisation such as mission statements, core values of the organisation as well as its vision. So a note book helped in grasping all those tiny information necessary for the research.

3.6 Data collection procedure

Before embarking on data collection process, the researcher firstly acquired consent from the Woman’s University in Africa (WUA) to carry out the study. After this, the researcher sought the consent of the organisation where the research was carried out which is Spar retail supermarket. The researcher then sought the consent of the participants within that organisation through explaining to them the process of the research, the benefits, dangers of the research and other ethical considerations such as confidentiality, anonymity and protection from harm. The researcher also scheduled interviews at agreed times, venues with the participants and appointments will be made with all participants.

The researcher then conducted one on one discussion as well as face to face interviews asking a prepared set of questions and follow up questions. Results were recorded simultaneously with a recording machine as well as jotting down in a note book. Hence at the end of it all the information collected was coded for interpretation from word of mouth to written information making use of the relevant information in as far as the research is concerned.

3.7 Ethics

Ethics refers to the correct rules of conduct necessary when carrying out research (McLeod, 2015). Ethical considerations also refer to the expected conduct or behaviour of the researcher during the process of data collection at Spar supermarket in Harare. This includes the standards or principles a researcher should hold firm while conducting the study. These include informed consent, confidentiality, anonymity, voluntary participation, and protection of participants from harm.

3.7.1 Informed consent

Whenever possible, the researcher should attain the consent of participants. This means that the researcher ensured that the subjects get involved in the study with their knowledge and permission. Before the study begun, the researchers summarized to the participants what the research was all about then asked their consent to take part. Participants must be given information relating to the statement that participation is intentional and that rejection to participate will not result in any consequences, intention of the study, process involved in the research, remuneration of the research to the society and possibly to the individual human subject, length of time the subject is expected to partake as well as person to contact for answers to questions or in the occurrence of injury or tragedy.

3.7.2 Confidentiality

Participants and the data collected from them must be kept anonymous unless they give their full consent. The purpose of this principle is to secure information given by the subjects, and this can be ensured by not using real names when conducting the research. Participants’ confidentiality should be certain; hence they should be assured that identifying information will not be made obtainable to anyone who is not directly involved in the study (Trochim, 2006)

3.7.3 Anonymity

The participant remained anonymous throughout the study even to the researchers themselves. Clearly, the anonymity standard is a stronger guarantee of privacy, thus to ensure anonymity of the research participants, the researcher gave each participant a pseudonym that was used during and after the research.

3.7.4 Voluntary participation

Only willing participants from Spar supermarket were included in this study. Participants were not coerced into participating in this research, thus the benefits and the possible problems of the research were explained to the subjects so as to obtain their voluntary participation.

3.7.5 Withdrawal from the investigation

Participants should be able to leave the study at any time if they feel uncomfortable. They should also be allowed to extract their data; hence they should not have pressure placed upon them to continue if they do not want to (McLeod, 2015).

3.7.6 Protection from harm

Researchers have a primary duty to protect participants from physical and mental harm during the research. Normally, the risk of harm must be no greater than the ordinary life situation for example participants should not be exposed to risks greater than or additional to those encountered in their normal life styles (McLeod, 2015). Participants must be asked about any factors in the course of action that might create a risk, such as per existing medical conditions and must be advised of any special act they should take to shun risk.

3.7.7 Deception

The holding of information or the misleading of participants is intolerable if the participants are typically likely to object or show unease once debriefed. Deliberate deception of the participants over the purpose and general nature of the research should be avoided whenever possible. Participants should never be knowingly misled without extremely strong scientific or medical validation. Even then there should be firm controls and the disinterested authorization of independent advisors.

3.8 Data presentation and analysis procedure

3.8.1 Thematic analysis

Thematic analysis is often the go-to method in most qualitative research because it provides an easily interpretable and brief description of the evolving themes and patterns within a data set, usually as the initial phase of interpretation (Braun. and Clarkes, 2006). It can be noted that there are six steps to be followed in order to carry out a thematic, hence should be used in relation to the research question and the available data.

The researcher familiarised with the data by being fully immersed and actively engaged in the data. This was done by transcribing the interactions as well as re-reading the transcripts and listening to the recordings that would have been conducted at Spar supermarket. The researcher then generated initial codes for themes by identifying features of the data that appear interesting and meaningful. Themes were then searched for through the interpretive analysis of the collated codes.

Connecting to the above, after having found the themes they were reviewed where by the researcher questioned whether to combine, refine, separate or discard initial themes. Data within these themes should fit together significantly but at the same time having individual distinctions. The researcher further defined and named the themes by refining the themes and potential subthemes within the data. There was need for the researcher to provide theme names and clear working definitions that capture the essence of each theme in a brief manner. Finally the researcher produced a report by transforming the analysis into an interpretable piece of writing by using vivid and completing extract examples that relate to the themes, research questions and literature.

The researcher then presented and analysed the data through the thematic analysis approach. Such a procedure was chosen because of its strengths when conducting a research and collecting data. One of the benefits of thematic analysis is its flexibility. It can be used within different frameworks to answer quite different types of research questions. Normally it suites questions related to people’s experiences or people’s views and perceptions.

Thematic analysis is often used to break down an interview into clear sections and this will make the researcher’s job far easier making the most of the data collected. These subsections are identified individually as themes, each theme conveying different aspects of the data (Bryman, 2008).Also with thematic analysis, the sections used will simplify the data for example the frame work approach gives good structure to an analysis.

3.8.2 Content analysis

During the process of collecting data relevant for the research at Spar supermarket in Harare, the researcher took into consideration the content analysis within that organisation. This is whereby the researcher took note of the content written on the walls of that particular organisation in the process of trying to note if their values, goals, mission statement and motives tally or relate with what they advertise with the information that would have been found during the research process. This helped the researcher to know if both the management and employees would have told the truth and help solve various issues not being followed within that organisation.

The researcher chose to work with content analysis because of its strengths such as the fact that it looks directly at communication via texts or transcripts, and hence gets a central aspect of social interaction. It can be noted that when well done, it is considered as a relatively exact research method that is based on hard facts. As the researcher collected data at Spar supermarket, content analysis provided insight into complex models of human thoughts and language use.

Content analysis is a readily understood inexpensive research method that is unobstructive and does not require contact with people. As noted above the researcher took note of what was written on the walls of Spar supermarket in order to see whether it is in accordance with what they practise. It can be brought forth to light that content analysis becomes a powerful tool when combined with other research methods like in-depth interviews and observations simply because establishing reliability is easy and straight forward.

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