2.0 Introduction
This chapter reviewed literature with respect to the study. It will focuses on the empirical studies related to the study as well as its conceptual framework and current trends related to the problem. Hence the review of the literature shall be made to ensure that the reader gains a sense of direction and clear understanding.
2.1 Theoretical framework
Theories help us to understand underlying process and on that basis, choose an effective course of action. According to Stoner and Freeman (2000), “theory is coherent group of assumptions put forth to explain the relationship between two or more observable facts”. Valid theories enables us to predict what will happen under certain situations.
A number of theories have been brought forward by many scholars in an attempt to try and explicate how stress rises or how it brings about attrition of motivation among employees. Pisaniello (2010), is however of the view that, there is no theory as yet which is able to fully explicate and forecast on occupational stress. For the purpose of this study, it is found more appropriate to focus more on environmental versus individual emphasis and transactional versus interactional theories.
2.1.1 Person-Environment Fit
The theory examines the degree of ‘misfit’ between the person and their environment (Edwards et al, 1998). The basic ideal of the theory is that people tend to be happier and adapt better when they fit into the environment they are placed in. Stress emanates from the relationship between a person and the surrounding environment and can be considered as an unpleasant emotional situation that the person experiences when work-related requirements cannot be counter balance with his/her ability to resolve them and prolonged stress can have negative impact on an individual’s mental and physical health (Cooper et al., 2001).
This theory is widely recognised as one of the most dominant conceptual forces in the field of industrial psychology (Schnerder, 2001). It involves two major distinctions, as outlined by Le Fevre et al (2006), these are, (i) the distinction between the person, their abilities and needs, their environment and the demands it makes on them and that which their environment supplies to them. (ii) The distinction between the subjective and objective representations of the person and their environment.
According to Pisaniello (2010), the model suggests that “perceived job stress is a measure of the degree of fit or congruence between the individual and the environment.” In other words, the deviation, balance or satisfaction between the individual worker and his/her working environment depicts the level of perceived stress. If there is satisfaction between the two, the perceived level of stress will be low and the opposite is true. Further, environmental demands and the person’s ability to cope with stress are the two factors which influences motivation in this theory.
2.1.2 Demand-Control Model
Karasek proposed the model in the late 1970s. The demand-control model has major influence on the research of occupational stress. In the model, workplace stress is a function of how demanding a person’s job is, and how much control the person has over their own duties and responsibilities. The model gives much prominence on the working environment. It is an example of interactional theories, which generally are concerned with person’s interface with their working environment (Dollard, 2002). The main argument in this theory is that the products of stress such as strain emanates from consequences of high job demand, low social support and low autonomy (Yusoff, 2013). The research has shown that demand-control interaction is stronger among employees who lack social support from others. This model was later refined by Theorell and Karasek (1996), as they introduced other variables such as insecurity, physical exertion and hazardous exposure (Pisaniello, 2010).
2.1.3 Transaction theory
This theory was introduced by Lazarus and Folkman in 1984. It is one of the most prominent theories in the field of stress (Babatunde, 2013). The theory is focused on the emotional reactions of the person and how they cope with the stress. Lazarus (1999), states that, stress arises when there is a conjunction between a certain person and a certain environment which leads to a threat appraisal.
According to Dewe et al (2012), the authority and power of transaction lies in the process of appraisal that binds the person with the environment. Lazarus (1999), postulates that, there are two types of appraisal namely primary and secondary appraisal. Primary appraisal is when a person concedes that there is something at stake and it could be a harm, threat, challenge or a benefit (Lazarus, 1999). The secondary type of appraisal focuses on the steps that can be taken to conquer the potential threat.
However, the concept of appraisal has been criticised for being too simplicity and for not always considered an individual’s history, future goals and identities (Harris, et al., 2004). The theory overlooks the physiological perspective in response to stressor. Additionally his later work, Lazarus stressed that his transactional theories of stress failed to acknowledge the outcomes associated with coping in specific social contexts and during interpersonal interactions (Lazarus, 2006).
2.1.4 Effort-Reward Imbalance
The theory was proposed by Siegrist and it is based on the notion that stress is a result of inequity between the amounts of effort required to get a job done and the reward gained from the job done (Siegrist, 1996). Effort-Reward Imbalance (ERI) theory posits that effort at work is spend as part of the psychological contract, based on the norm of social reciprocity, where effort at work is remunerated with rewards and opportunities (Siegrist, 1996). According to the theory, people evaluate their work situation in terms of the effort they put into it relative to the rewards they derive. In stressful situations, employees feel as though they are putting a great deal into their job or doing a great deal for their organization yet feel as though they are not receiving rewards that are commensurate with their efforts (Siegrist, 2002).

Source: Siegrist (2002)
Figure: The effort-reward imbalance model according to Siegrist
It is the imbalance in this contract that can result in stress or motivation of employees. Pisaniello (2010), gave examples of reward such as money, recognition, esteem and job status control. She further described the inequalities giving a new view that the imbalance maybe between a worker’s characteristics of coping and the job demands. In other words, individual differences are very crucial in this model.
2.2 Occupational stress
2.3 Occupational stress and employee motivation
2.3.1 Effects of role conflict on employee motivation
Role conflict is usually regarded as issues which arise due to the mismatch between expectations conveyed in individual within the organization with the other inside and outside the organization (Tsui and Shis, 2005). The potential effect of role conflict is very sensitive, both for individual or the organization in the sense of emotional consequences, such as high work pressure, job satisfaction, and lower performance (Fanani et al., 2008). Role conflict can cause discomfort and lower the motivation of the employee.
Role conflict negatively impact employee’s performance. The higher the impact of role conflict, the lower the employee is motivated to execute his/her duties.
2.3.2 Effects of colleague support on employee motivation
Every employee cannot stand on his own hence support from others is required so that engagement and commitment of individual is boosted. Kwok and Wai (2005) states that the literature on social support that has accumulated over the past two decades suggest that social support can have a direct impact on psychological well-being. In an environment where co-worker support is high, employees are able to discuss ideal more openly and honestly and there is positive relationship to job satisfaction (Elloy and Patil, 2012). Social relationships are important in maintaining an individual’s self-esteem, as it fosters a sense of social support.
However, there are contradictory views regarding to positive effects of co-worker support on employees, where co-worker behaviours may be viewed as political or self-enhancing and therefore, it may not always be associated with constructive work attitudes (Elloy and Patil, 2012). Despite this, there is evidence that social relationships has many positive effects in the workplace, for example, situations in which successes in jobs or solutions to problems are found, when employees’ ideas are accepted and when employees are praised, helps to overall job satisfaction. When these motivation benefits are not experienced by an employee then an employee will not be satisfied.
2.3.3 Effects of workload pressure on employee motivation
Early views of occupational stress treated the concept and human organism in mechanistic terms. Job stress was frequently viewed as present when demands overweighed resources. The resulting strain on the system was seen as a stress effect. Kantowitz and Simsek (2001) defined workload as “an intervening variable that modulates the tuning between demands of the environment and the capabilities of an individual”. Schaufeli and Bakker (2009) Suggests that workload pressure usually affect the job holder to the extent that health problems can start to manifest. Whereas if the workload decrease or balanced to the employee’s abilities, happiness and satisfaction can be a dominant state of well-being. Even if, or when, there is no effect on employees, work life balance is often associated with improved organizational performance (Beauregard and Hendry, 2009).
Several researchers have attempted to side-step the inter-relationship between direct and indirect effects relying on descriptions of workload alone, ignoring potentially related psychological stress (Hancock and Desmond, 2001). In doing so, they have circumvented a direct discussion of stress and its role in employee motivation degradation or enhancement.
2.3.4 Effects of role ambiguity on employee motivation
Role ambiguity exists when an individual employee has insufficient information to select the most effective job behaviour or when duties, authority, and responsibilities are unclear (Tubre and Collins, 2000). It is also referred to as the incompatibility between information required to perform a task and available information (Burney and Widener, 2007). Role ambiguity lead to such negative outcomes as reduced employee confidence, a sense of hopelessness, anxiety and depression, which altogether, affects employee motivation.
2.3.5 Effects of time pressure on employee motivation
Work plays an important role in the lives of most people. After all, a salaried job pays the bills and enables us to survive. Work, whether paid or unpaid, also helps us to shape our identity, gives a purpose to our existence, allows us or forces us to structure our time, gives us useful way to spend our days, contributes to our social status, and finally, brings us into contact with others (Siegrist, 2010).
When the employee is unable to meet the demands of work within the time available, a work pressure problem arises that can lead to work stress. Occupational stress can eventually cause the employee to feel excessively tired, exhausted and depressed, as well as to suffer physical ailments. The employee can become overstrain or, if the situation persists for a lengthy period of time, start to suffer from burn-out.
2.3.6 Effects of salary on employee motivation
Stress is created where the employee lacks information regarding his authorities, task to be performed, duties and power. Alexandros-Stamatios et al. (2003), also argued that “factors intrinsic to the job” means explored workload, variety of tasks and rates of pay. The combination of high effort and low reward at work has been found to be a risk factor for cardiovascular health, sickness absence as well as self-reported symptoms (Tsutsumi and Kawakami, 2004).
Money is an extrinsic reward and it can be used to influence employees’ behaviours (Darmon, 2004). Organizations that reward their employees in accordance with performance typically experience fewer problems than organizations that do not (Muczyk et al., 2004). Bonuses, as extrinsic rewards, can be good tools to motivate workers for better performance.
2.4 Stress management at the workplace
2.5 Conceptual framework
The model below illustrates some of the factors which affect employee motivation. These factors will form the independent variable of the study and will be manipulated to positively or negatively affect the dependent variable, which is employee motivation.
Figure 2.1: A schematic diagram of the conceptual framework
The above diagram shows that employee motivation is affected by the role conflict, relationship with others, workload pressure, role ambiguity, salary and time pressure. At a certain level, the independent variable causes the employees to be in a stressed mode which hinders their performance. This framework shows the relationship between occupational stressors and their influence on employee motivation.
2.6 Related studies
2.6.1 Study 1
In India, Alamdari and Mehrabi (2009), carried out a research was established in order to examine the relation of occupational stress and motivation among managers of the social welfare organization in Tehran. The obtained results indicated that there is relationship between the managerial motivation and occupational stress.
Their study showed that the high levels of ambiguity and role conflict are two important occupational stress factors that led to low levels of occupational satisfaction. High levels of stress lowers the level of employee motivation and the intention of leaving the work. They announced that the highest rate of correlation between the ambiguity and role, conflict with the satisfaction of supervisors. The results of this research indicated that the higher the level of stress, the lower the level of motivation and lack of occupational satisfaction.
2.6.2 Study 2
Showkat (2013), carried out a study on job stress and its impact to employees working in a commercial bank. His research painted that occupational stress is a key problem in the present day organizations. The main purpose of the research was to explore the numerous physical and mental symptoms which vary according to each individual situational factors.
The finding of the study revealed that low grade employees are more stressed than those holding higher posts. He further concluded that increased level of stress leads to decrease in motivation level of employees. Lesser cope for personal growth, under-utilization of abilities, uncongenial working environment, ambiguous organizational policies were other findings that led to stress and lesser motivation of employees. Therefore, in order to increase the motivation of employees and decrease level of stress, the organizations must consider the personal growth of employees, improved working environment and policies that are realistic.
2.6.3 Study 3
Brazier as cited by Niebuhr (2017), discovered that, job stress is a major deal when it comes to unfulfilled objectives and non-existence of ambition in people’s lives. He said that uncomplimentary stress has demonstrated a noteworthy antagonistic effect on the psyche and motivation of employees. If an individual is compelled to deal with increasing stress that stress can be the foundation of the flickering of employee motivation or else extinguish the motivation completely.
2.7 Knowledge gap
The field of occupational stress has been researched for more than half a century now. Some studies have been interested in knowing the sources, as well as the management of stress in different industries such as education sector, medical sector, and managerial position the list is endless. However, it has not yet been fully explored or researched in Africa and Zimbabwe included in the statistics. Some occupations however are better off for example the health and education sector. Most industrial occupations have been side-lined like the mining industry. No research have been undertaken to fully investigate the field of occupational stress in industry which characterized by a majority of general workers with no specific qualifications.
As such, this study seeks to avail the occupational stress situation in such an industry in Zimbabwe. This study reveals the influence of occupational stress on employee motivation, examines the extent to which individual’s desire, and persistence of efforts towards accomplishing organizational goals is affected. This study aims to, Help human resources practitioners to have an exceptional understanding of issues of employee motivation and performance and also to fashion conscious mindful thoughts among managers on the necessity to deliver a desirable platform to help and thwart manifestation of occupational stress.
2.8 Conclusion
This chapter reviewed the literature of the study, mainly focusing on the theoretical framework, conceptual framework, related studies and the knowledge gap which is the reason why the researcher is carrying out the study.

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