Examining Factors Leading To Teachers Work Stress In Pahang: A Case Study


Today, in a challenging world, work stress has become a crucial and concern issue in any organization specifically for educational institutions. Work stress may affect teachers’ health, wellbeing, and their performance. Thus, work stress among teachers in Malaysia becomes more important needed to be focused. The study was conducted to investigate such important aspects such as work role conflicts and work overload, which may potentially influence the work stress among secondary teachers in Pahang. Teachers in Pahang were selected as respondent for this study. The convenience sampling technique was used to select the respondents. Data collection was conducted using questionnaires; 120 questionnaires successfully collected and were analyse using SPSS. One of the main findings was that there was a significant correlation between role of conflicts and work overload towards work stress among secondary teachers in Pahang. Most of the study focuses on urban area, while this study will give another perspective that despite of different location the factors leading to teachers work stress still have the same effect. With this result, the Ministry of Education can take necessary actions to monitor, manage and control the work stress before it becomes more critical and affect their job performance.

Keywords: Teacherswork stressMalaysia


Globalization not only give affect the manufacturing organizations, but also have impact to the educational institutions. At the present time, the educational institutions have been undergoing extensive alterations in the activities. The education institutions have grown into more competitive sector because of the rise of the customers’ need for better education. This situation creates stressful to employee associated with educational industry such as teacher (Lewin & Sager, 2009).

Recently, there have been such a large number of academic articles regarding work related stress which determine that any person especially within a work environment is disheartened and disappointed with their work. As the work stress continues drifting over employees, the administration is reluctant to adopt proper initiatives to highlight the issue. Based on Dyck and Roithmayr (2001), quality of employees’ life might be influenced by any work related stress causes, which may lead to difficulty in completing work and upsetting and disappointing the employee to achieve the work performance, in any situation. Work stress may arise for different causes individually, socially, economically and family matters (Swanson et al., 2013).

Stress has been researched in almost every occupational, including education. Finding from Health and Safety Executive (2006), identify that teachers in secondary school was the most stressful job due to the changes of new standards of education such as new integrated curriculum. The modern world also requests teachers to adopt new technology to prepare the teaching aid materials. This new trend needs resulting in increased of workloads and responsibilities which may become pressure to them in order to enhance their job skills (Mosha et al., 2007). Teachers also involve in different role at school. Teachers are the middle person between students and school management. The conflict arises among teachers because lack of understanding between school management and teachers lead to work stress (Talmor et al., 2005).

Numerous academic scholars argue that work stress in any organisation can affect the performance of employees and organization. Dean (2002) observation concluded that work stress is a contributing factor responsible for poor productivity achievement in organization. Furthermore, Gaumail (2003) found that work stress affects the employees’ work quality such as poor in performance, escalation in absenteeism and pitiable job satisfaction. In a similar broadness, Dessler (2000) agreed that the results of work stress could be extremely intruded the quality and quantity of job performance.

Stress in General

Stress is inevitable in an expeditious world. Substantial changes in the nature of work are an automatic cause of stress. The requirement to work long hours as to fulfil the increasing responsibilities makes stress a common occurrence faced by people in many aspects of life.

When the external’ environmental-conditions places too much psychological, behavioural, and-physiological burdens on individuals, the response these outcomes are scientifically defined as stress (Ivancevich et al., 2006)

Other definitions of stress by the World Health Organization (WHO) (2016); when workloads and forces that are not matched to the knowledge, abilities and challenge the ability of people to cope, hence the reaction is defined as occupational stress; Williams and Cooper (2011) stated similar definition on stress with an additional remark on the existence of struggle for employment in a place.

Stress is categorized differently by authors for better understanding. Ivancevich et al. (2006) summarized the unlike categories of-stress as enduring, hurtful, and important.

Arnold et al. (2016) identified-five-major-causes-of job-stress: factors intrinsic-to-the-job,-relationship-at-work,-career-development, -role-in-the-organisation-and organisational-structure-and-climate. Explanations on the different types of stress are as follows; chronic stress has no evident indication of discharge. It causes loss of energy to a person every day upon occurrence of stress. Chronic stress is the results of continuing experience to stressors such as unhappy marriage, distressing understanding, undeserved job, stress of poverty, relationship conflicts etc. Traumatic stress resulted from tragic event or experience of accidents or natural disaster. The effect of such incidences differs from one person to another, either able to recover soon or abnormality in life. Acute stress is most common and detectable. It is often short term and not permanent in damage.

Work Stress

World-Health-Organization's (WHO) define, work-related stress or occupational stress "is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope (p. 1)"

According to Williams and Cooper (2011) stress is resulted as a reaction of a worker when certain needs, densities and professional aspects have to be handled at the workplace which does not match their knowledge points there by posing a task and intimidation to the competencies of the worker which in turn would generate a struggle for presence in relations of being engaged in a place.

Work stress is associated with individual’s surroundings that impelling the on-going process and need to overcome the difficulties (Rumbold et al., 2012). McCarthy et al. (2009) defined stress as a person’s perceived inability to deal with an environmental demand.

Work stress affected both in term of physical effect and psychological (Michie, 2002). The impact of stress and symptom of stress due to various reasons cannot be separated. Role of conflict and work overloaded facing by the teachers will increase the stress level because of limited information.

Occupational Stress Model developed by Cooper and Marshall (1976), they have illustrious five (5) sources of work stress such as intrinsic to job, role in the organization career development, relationships at work, and organizational structure and climate. The overview of these sources with some examples of stressors is at table 01 .

Table 1 -
See Full Size >

Based on the studies, any types of work have its own stress sources factors. Stress sources for teachers related to:

Role conflict

Role conflict is associated with incompatibility of expectations and demands. Rizwan et al. (2014) characterized role of conflict into two parts; who have to bend a rule or policy; without adequate resources and who receive conflicting requests. Stresses from role conflict arise when there are undergoing inharmonious or irreconcilable expectations linked with multiple roles, or with a single role (Zhao et al., 2011). Role conflict can be visible in all situations in the organization where demands are incompatible with the employee’s goal, ability, value and belief. Role conflicts are the job stress antecedents that have been used by numerous researchers to analyse and measure the works stress (Ram et al., 2011; Rizwan et al., 2014).

Work overload

Longer work hours of work overload are another prime stressor. Long working hour and work overload have the highest potential to cause employee stress rather than work life balance issue (Priya, 2016). The amount of work for an employee and its difficulties may also be stressful. In this context the work psychology defines the terms of heavy workload and weak workload which have their quantitative and qualitative characteristics (Catheline & Devi, 2016).

Excessive work can lead to anger and frustration of workers toward people who are believed to be responsible for the workload (Marini et al., 1995). Cercarelli and Ryan (1996) show that fatigue involves a diminished capacity for work and that may bring attention, perception, decision-making, and skill performance, may need to be put down, fatigue may refer to tiredness, drowsiness, or fatigue (NASA, 1996).

Workload means the amount of work that a person must complete over a within certain time (Chen & Spector, 1992; Jex, 1998). Numerous researchers accept that the usual workload nowadays comes about in expanded work stress (Belal, 2009). Workload is related with numerous sorts of negative results. Cases incorporate uneasiness, weakness, cerebral pain and gastrointestinal issues (Ganster & Rosen, 2013; Nixon et al., 2011).

Problem Statement

It has been argued very many researchers that work stress is considerably influencing performance. Here are some of findings by researchers; work related stress leads to low productivity (Dean, 2002); decrease in performance, increase in absenteeism and satisfaction are organizational outcomes due to stress (Gaumail, 2003); consequences of organizational stress are extensive, resulting reduced quality and quantity job performance; negative experiences at workplace caused hopes of diligent employees hopes and goals disrupted, and confidence weakened. Organization should attempt to detect emotional pain, take action as to safeguard from any harmful or destructive situations at workplace.

Numerous factors have contributed to the limitation in this study, namely in scope, which relates to other factors leading to teachers work stress such as role conflicts and work overload among secondary teachers in Malaysia.

Research Questions

Conceptual framework

The research framework for the study was based on the past study conducted by Weiss and Cropanzano (1996) and Weiss and Beal (2005) and can be referred in Figure 01 .

Figure 1: Conceptual Framework
Conceptual Framework
See Full Size >

Based on the past research and literature review, the study developed two-research question as follows:

RQ1: There is a positive and significant relationship between Role conflict and work stress.

RQ2: There is a positive and significant relationship between Workload and work stress

Hypotheses as follows:

H1: Role conflict has positive and significant relationship with work stress.

H2: Workload has positive and significant relationship with work stress.

Purpose of the Study

The principal purpose of this study was to explore factors leading to teachers work related stress such as role conflicts and work overload among secondary teachers in in Pahang. This study investigates the relationship of role conflicts and work overload on works stress among secondary teachers. Recognize the factor of work stress is important to promote a good understanding and it helps in contribute significantly for future research in educational stress models. This finding may also help the institution and management increase awareness about work stress among teacher especially in secondary school.

Research Methods

Data was collected starting from May until July (3 months). The data collected from targeted sample who were secondary school teachers. Total five secondary schools were selected in rural area of Pahang, Malaysia. This study collected data from 120 people who responded. The process used self-given lists of questions. The lists of questions were able to gather all the information desirable for meeting the goal of this study. Demographic analysis is given in Table 2 .

Table 2 -
See Full Size >


Reliability Analysis

It is utilized for common perception of the information for all factors.

Table 3 -
See Full Size >

Correlation Analysis

The results showed that there was a positive and significant relationship between role conflict and work stress (r=0.639, p<0.01). Here was also significant and positive link between workload and work stress withia correlationIcoefficient (r=0.671, p<0.01). All variables such as role conflict and workload have a strong relationship towards work stress (Guildford, 1973). The detail is shown in table 04 below.

Table 4 -
See Full Size >


Stress has become the most crucial elements in influencing the level of employee’s resilience in any organizations. Stress can make an employee perform their work poorly productive and bad work performance. Positive working environment will be helpful to curb the work stress in organization. Teachers are employees in education institutions. Teachers are also exposed at a higher risk of work stress due to the nature of the service sector. Teachers as employees have direct interaction with students, parents and other important stakeholder and responsible for a significant role in the production and consumption of a service. The results can be concluded that role conflict and workload can affect the work stress among secondary teachers in Pahang, Malaysia.

Psychological stress on work-related stress leads to significant costs for educational institutions as well as for the country. When teachers are depressed from work stress and other psychological problems, they often miss a lot of work time and can affect the quality of their teaching process. Therefore, the administration of education institutions in Malaysia should pay more attention in dealing and managing the issues of work stress among teachers.


  1. Arnold, J., Randall, R., Patterson, F., Silvester, J., Robertson, I., Harris, D., ... Axtell, C. (2016). Work Psychology: Understanding Human Behaviour in the Workplace (6th Edition). Pearson Education.
  2. Beal, D. J., Weiss, H. M., Barros, E., & MacDermid, S. M. (2005). An episodic process model of affective influences on performance. Journal of Applied psychology, 90(6), 1054.
  3. Belal, B. (2009). Religiosity and work stress coping behavior of Muslim employees.
  4. Catheline, D. S., & Devi, K. P. (2016). A study on employees’ attitude towards various levels of stressors. International Journal of Management, 7(2), 633-669.
  5. Cercarelli, L. R., & Ryan, G. A. (1996). Long distance driving behaviour of Western Australian drivers. In L. R. Hartley (Ed.), In Proceedings of the second international conference on Fatigue and Transportation: Engineering, enforcement and education solutions (pp. 35-45).
  6. Chen, P. Y., & Spector, P. E. (1992). Relationships of work stressors with aggression, withdrawal, theft and substance use: An exploratory study. Journal of occupational and organizational psychology, 65(3), 177-184.
  7. Cooper, C. L., & Marshall, J. (1976). Occupational sources of stress: A review of the literature relating to coronary heart disease and mental ill health. Journal of occupational psychology, 49(1), 11-28. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8325.1976.tb00325.x
  8. Dean, J. M. (2002). Does trade liberalization harm the environment? A new test. Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue Canadienne d'économique, 35(4), 819-842. https://doi.org/10.1111/0008-4085.00155
  9. ]Dessler, G. (2000). Human Resource Management. Prentice Hall
  10. Dyck, D., & Roithmayr, T. (2001). The toxic workplace. Benefits Canada, 25(3), 52.
  11. Ganster, D. C., & Rosen, C. C. (2013). Work stress and employee health: A multidisciplinary review. Journal of management, 39(5), 1085-1122.
  12. Gaumail, D. C. S. (2003). Work Stress Management and Prevention.
  13. Guildford, J. P. (1973). Fundamental Statistics in Psychology and Education (5th ed.). McGraw-Hill.
  14. Health and Safety Executive. (2006). Contract Research Report. St Clements House, 2-16 Colegate, Norwich NR3 1BQ,
  15. Ivancevich, J., Konapske, R., & Matteson, M. (2006). Organ Behave Manage. New York: McGraw Hill.
  16. Jex, S. M. (1998). Stress and job performance: theory, research, and implications for managerial practice—advanced topics in organizational behavior (p. 129). Sage Publications.
  17. Lewin, J. E., & Sager, J. K. (2009). An investigation of the influence of coping resources in salespersons' emotional exhaustion. Industrial Marketing Management, 38(7), 798-805.
  18. Marini, I., Todd, J., & Slate, J. R. (1995). Occupational stress among mental health employees. Journal of Rehabilitation Administration, 19(2), 123-130.
  19. McCarthy, C. J., Lambert, R. G., O'Donnell, M., & Melendres, L. T. (2009). The relation of elementary teachers' experience, stress, and coping resources to burnout symptoms. The Elementary School Journal, 109(3), 282-300.
  20. Michie, S. (2002). Causes and management of stress at work. Occupational and environmental medicine, 59(1), 67-72.
  21. Mosha, H. J., Omari, I., & Katabaro, J. (2007). Teachers Education Management Strategy. Dar es Salaam: Ministry of Education and Vocational Training.
  22. NASA. (1996). Fatigue resource directory. In L. R. Hartley (Ed.), Proceedings of the second international conference on Fatigue and Transportation: Engineering, enforcement and education solutions. Canning Bridge (pp. 67–135). Promaco.
  23. Nixon, A. E., Mazzola, J. J., Bauer, J., Krueger, J. R., & Spector, P. E. (2011). Can work make you sick? A meta-analysis of the relationships between job stressors and physical symptoms. Work & Stress, 25(1), 1-22.
  24. Priya, V. S. (2016). A Study on Job Stress and Its Impact on Employees Performance. International Journal of Management, 7(2), 247–254.
  25. Ram, N., Khoso, I., Shah, A. A., Chandio, F. R., & Shaikih, F. M. (2011). Role conflict and role ambiguity as factors in work stress among managers: A case study of manufacturing sector in Pakistan. Asian Social Science, 7(2), 113-118.
  26. Rizwan, M., Waseem, A., & Bukhari, S. A. (2014). Antecedents of job stress and its impact on job performance and job satisfaction. International Journal of Learning & Development, 4(2), 187-203.
  27. Rumbold, J. L., Fletcher, D., & Daniels, K. (2012). A systematic review of stress management interventions with sport performers. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 1(3), 173.
  28. Swanson, S. A., Zeng, Y., Weeks, M., & Colman, I. (2013). The contribution of stress to the comorbidity of migraine and major depression: results from a prospective cohort study. BMJ open, 3(3).
  29. Talmor, R., Reiter, S., & Feigin, N. (2005). Factors relating to regular education teacher burnout in inclusive education. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 20(2), 215-229.
  30. Weiss, H. M., & Cropanzano, R. (1996). Affective events theory: A theoretical discussion of the structure, causes and consequences of affective experiences at work.
  31. Weiss, H. M., & Beal, D. J. (2005). Reflections on affective events theory. Research on emotion in organizations, 1(1), 1-21.
  32. Williams, S., & Cooper, L. (2011). Who should we survey? Managing workplace stress: a best practice blueprint (pp. 78-84). Wiley.
  33. World Health Organization. (2016). ‘Stress at the workplace’. http://www.who.int/occupational_health/topics/stressatwp/en/
  34. Zhao, X. R., Qu, H., & Ghiselli, R. (2011). Examining the relationship of work–family conflict to job and life satisfaction: A case of hotel sales managers. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 30(1), 46-54.

Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

30 December 2020

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Multi-disciplinary, accounting, finance, economics, business, management, marketing, entrepreneurship, social studies

Cite this article as:

Shokor, S. S. B. A., Ismail, Z., & Alimun, R. (2020). Examining Factors Leading To Teachers Work Stress In Pahang: A Case Study. In N. S. Othman, A. H. B. Jaaffar, N. H. B. Harun, S. B. Buniamin, N. E. A. B. Mohamad, I. B. M. Ali, N. H. B. A. Razali, & S. L. B. M. Hashim (Eds.), Driving Sustainability through Business-Technology Synergy, vol 100. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 436-444). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.12.05.47