Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 17
Seediscussions,stats,andauthorprofilesforthispublicationat: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227441190 Factors

Seediscussions,stats,andauthorprofilesforthispublicationat:https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227441190

Article in InternationalJournalofServicesEconomicsandManagement·January2010

DOI:10.1504/IJSEM.2010.029790·Source:RePEc

CITATIONS

3

3authors:

80 PUBLICATIONS 552 CITATIONS

13 PUBLICATIONS 74 CITATIONS

READS

82

13 PUBLICATIONS 74 CITATIONS SEEPROFILE READS 82 NahumBiger CarmelAcademicCenter,Haifa,Israel 45

CarmelAcademicCenter,Haifa,Israel

45 PUBLICATIONS 514 CITATIONS

AllcontentfollowingthispagewasuploadedbyAmarjitGillon11August2015.

Theuserhasrequestedenhancementofthedownloadedfile.Allin-textreferencesunderlinedinblueareaddedtotheoriginaldocument

andarelinkedtopublicationsonResearchGate,lettingyouaccessandreadthemimmediately.

30 Int. J. Services, Economics and Management, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2010

Factors that mitigate employee job stress in the service industry

Amarjit Gill* and Nahum Biger

College of Business Administration, TUI University, 5665 Plaza Drive, CA 90630, USA Fax: 714 816 0367

Email: agill@tuiu.edu *Corresponding author

Email: nbiger@tuiu.edu

Smita Bhutani

Geography Department, Panjab University, Chandigarh 160014, India Email: pb6757@yahoo.com

Abstract: The study examines the impact of empowerment and transformational leadership on employee job stress. In addition, the study seeks to extend Gill et al.’s findings related to mitigating stress and burnout. Results show that the improvement in the level of perceived empowerment and transformational leadership used by managers mitigate employee job stress in the hospitality services industry. This paper offers useful insights for service managers based on empirical evidence.

Keywords: hospitality; EM; empowerment; TL; transformational leadership; CCSEs; customer-contact service employees; JS; job stress.

Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Gill, A., Biger, N. and Bhutani, S. (2010) ‘Factors that mitigate employee job stress in the service industry’, Int. J. Services, Economics and Management, Vol. 2, No. 1,

pp.30–45.

Biographical notes: Amarjit Gill is currently an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at TUI University, CA, USA. He received his PhD degree from Touro University International (Branch Campus of Touro College, New York, USA) in 2004. His current research interests include finance and management.

Nahum Biger is a Professor of Management, TUI University, Cypress, CA, Professor of Financial Economics at the Graduate School of Management, University of Haifa, Israel and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Finance and Management, Ecole nacional des ponts et chaussees, School of International Management, Paris, France. He received his PhD degree from York University in Canada in 1974.

Copyright © 2010 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

Factors that mitigate employee job stress

31

Smita Bhutani is a Professor of Geography in the Department of Geography, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. She has over 20 years of experience in doing research, teaching and supervising graduate students in population geography. Her other areas of interest include environment and sustainable agriculture.

1

Introduction

Issues of employee empowerment, job stress and retention have been found to be prevalent in service organisations (Shadur et al., 1995; Chebat and Kollias, 2000; Jamal and Baba, 2000; Firth et al., 2004). Stress can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure. Stress is also linked to health conditions such as depression, heart disease and asthma (McEwen, 1998), which may adversely impact upon organisations. Job stress leads directly to health issues: physical (headaches, stomach problems and even heart attacks) and mental (job dissatisfaction, anxiety, depression). These health issues have a negative impact on employee commitment and result (in addition to the employee health issues) in lowered productivity for service organisations (Gill et al., 2006). Studies have found that employee empowerment and transformational leadership are among the best strategies to handle organisational issues like employee job stress. The term ‘empowerment’ refers to an individual’s belief in his/her ability to exercise choice. Campion et al. (1993) define empowerment as the employees’ ability to make business decisions and to accept responsibility for the outcome of those decisions. The concept of empowerment is the antithesis of authoritarian management style, where supervisors make all key decisions. Webster defines authoritarian management style as ‘relating to or favouring blind submission to authority’ (Kane, 1996). Empowerment is also transferring power and responsibility to employees so that, within specified limits, they will be able to provide the best possible customer service at their own discretion (Wynne, 1993). The term ‘empowerment’ in management literature appears to have come into general usage in the early 1980s (Collins, 1999). By the mid-1980s, it had become a commonplace expression used in both management texts and in the vocabulary of organisations. By the time Block’s book ‘The Empowered Manager’ (Block, 1986) was published, the term was already in use in large-scale organisations committed to cultural change and was actively promoted by evangelical management advisors as a sine qua non of change (Collins, 1999). Although the term ‘empowerment’ has been central to management thought and has been practiced for a little over a decade now, not much research has been conducted in the customer service management area to test the relationships between (1) employee empowerment and job stress and (2) transformational leadership and job stress. However, authors such as Hartline and Ferrell (1996), Lashley (1999, 2000), McDougall and Levesque (1999) and Lam et al. (2001) have been able to transfer the concept of empowerment to the hospitality services industry by conducting research studies. The concept and definition of transformational leadership and the embodiment of that leadership in transformational leaders were first coined by Burns (1978), and then extended and operationalised by Bass (1985) as: ‘leadership and performance beyond expectations’. For the purpose and use in this study, transformational leadership is defined as ‘the process of influencing major changes in the attitudes and assumptions of

32 A. Gill, N. Biger and S. Bhutani

organisation members and building commitment for the organisation’s mission and objectives’ (Tracey and Hinkin, 1994). This definition emphasises the importance of

leadership characteristics as they pertain to (1) the leader’s ability to define and articulate

a vision, a mission and a set of goals and objectives for the organisation and (2) the importance of the followers’ acceptance of the mission and objectives. Employee empowerment and transformational leadership hold a great promise for

advancing the quality of the hospitality services. Such measures may mitigate or even to

a large extent eliminate the deeper issues of employee job stress and create new

paradigms for the hospitality services industry. It has been found that empowerment and transformational leadership reduce the stress levels of service employees (Pearson and Moomaw, 2005; Gill et al., 2006; Dhaliwal, 2008). Therefore, the resultant thesis is that empowerment and transformational leadership reduce the stress levels of hospitality services industry employees. The results can be generalised to the hospitality services industry.

2 The relationship between empowerment and job stress

Job stress can be conceptualised as an individual’s reactions to work environment characteristics that appear threatening to the individual. The harmful and costly consequences of stress demonstrate the need for strategies to limit stressors within the organisation (Savery and Luks, 2001). Empowerment, as one such strategy, has been found to encourage flexibility and give more control to employees to perform their duties, which in turn, reduces job stress (Davis and Wilson, 2000; Savery and Luks, 2001; Holdworth and Cartwright, 2003; King et al., 2004; Pearson and Moomaw, 2005). Hospitality services industry employees are subjected to face different organisational and personal factors such as locus of control, self-esteem, perceptions of supervisor support, etc. (Firth et al., 2004), which in turn, lead to a feeling of job stress. To minimise locus of control and other minor work-related problems, it is important to empower hospitality services industry employees. Therefore, it is theorised that employees who are empowered will feel less job stress than those who are not empowered in the hospitality services industry. Accordingly, the following hypothesis is formulated:

H1: The higher the level of empowerment perceived by the hospitality services employees, the lower the level of job stress.

Conjecture: There might be differences regarding the nature of the relationship between empowerment and job stress based on employee gender and length of employment.

3 The impact of transformational leadership on job stress

Stress is a mental and physical condition, which directly and negatively affects

an individual’s productivity, effectiveness, personal health and quality of work (Gill et al., 2006). Job stress can be conceptualised as an individual’s reactions to work environment characteristics that appear threatening to him or her. The harmful and costly consequences of stress demonstrate the need for strategies to limit stressors within the organisation (Savery and Luks, 2001). Transformational leadership, as one such strategy, has been found

to encourage open communication with followers, which in turn, reduces employee job

Factors that mitigate employee job stress

33

stress (Tracey and Hinkin, 1994). Gill et al. (2006) and Dhaliwal (2008) found negative relationship between transformational leadership and job stress; that is, transformational leadership reduces employee job stress in the hospitality services industry. Hospitality industry workers, like other workers, are subjected to a dynamic, multi- national, multi-lingual and many times to unplanned or unforeseen peaks in their working environments, all contributing to higher levels of work-related stress (Gill et al., 2006). Therefore, it is theorised that employees who are more committed to their organisation’s mission, goals and objectives (the results of transformational leadership) will feel less job stress than those who are less committed. Consequently, we should find lower levels of stress wherever transformational leadership is implemented in the hospitality services industry. In addition, because of the dynamic, multi-national, multi-lingual and many times to unplanned or unforeseen peaks in the working environment, the younger employees tend to get stressed out more than the older employees because of the low level of maturity. Shimizu et al. (2002) also argue that younger employee tend to get stressed out more than the older employees. Accordingly, the following hypotheses are formulated:

H2: The more the manager’s leadership is perceived as transformational, the less will be the job stress of his or her employees in the hospitality services industry.

H3: The age affects negatively on employee job stress in the hospitality services industry.

Conjecture: There might be differences regarding the nature of the relationship between transformational leadership and job stress based on employee gender and length of employment.

4

Methods

4.1

Research design

This study utilised survey research (a non-experimental field study design).

4.2 Measurement

In order to remain (for comparison and reference reasons) consistent with previous research, the measures were taken from three referent studies, which in turn are based on previous studies in marketing, management and psychology. All measures pertaining to (1) transformational leadership were taken from Dubinsky et al.’s (1995), (2) employee empowerment were taken from Hartline and Ferrell’s (1996) and (3) job stress were taken from Firth et al.’s (2004). All the scale items were pre-tested to make sure that the questionnaires ‘work’. Age variable was used as a control variable. Age was measured by a single item which asked respondents (service employees) to indicate their age group. Categorised alternative responses were: (1) 18–30, (2) 31–39, (3) 40–50, (4) 51–59, (5) 60 and over. Employee empowerment is operationalised as the extent to which Customer-Contact Service Employees (CCSEs) feel that (1) their managers allow them to use their own judgement in performing their jobs, (2) their managers encourage them to handle problems, (3) their managers allow them freedom in their work and (4) they trust their judgement in performing their jobs. Hartline and Ferrell (1996) used the eight-item

34 A. Gill, N. Biger and S. Bhutani

tolerance-of-freedom scale (Cook et al., 1981), which measures the degree to which managers encourage initiative, give employees freedom and trust employees to use their own judgement. Based on Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) loading scores, four items were selected to measure the ‘empowerment’ variable. Scale items were reworded to apply to CCSEs in the hospitality services industry and the reliability of these reworded items was re-tested. These items are as follows:

To what extent does your immediate manager/supervisor

(EM1) permit you to use your own judgement?

(EM2) encourage you to handle problems?

(EM3) trust your judgement?

(EM4) allow you freedom in your work?

Respondents were asked to indicate their agreement with each item, using a five-point Likert scale ranging from ‘Not at All’ to ‘A Lot’. Higher scores on each item indicate that the managers allow employees to use a greater degree of empowerment to perform tasks. Hartline and Ferrell (1996) reported a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.71 for the above four items. We calculated a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.89 on the responses of the 30 employees who participated in the pre-test of the above scale items. All four items were included in the final questionnaire. Transformational leadership is operationally defined as the extent to which managers motivate and encourage employees to use their own judgement and intelligence to solve problems while performing their jobs, transfer missions to employees and express appreciation for good work. Dubinsky et al. (1995) used the 12-item tolerance-of- freedom scale (Bass and Avaolio, 1989), which measures a sales person’s relationship with their managers. Based on Dubinsky et al.’s (1995) CFA, seven items were selected to measure ‘transformational leadership’ variable. Scale items were reworded to apply to CCSEs in the hospitality services industry and the reliability of these reworded items was re-tested. These items are as follows:

To what extent does your immediate manager/supervisor

(TL1) encourage you to be ‘team player’?

(TL2) get the group to work together towards the same goal?

(TL3) show respect for your personal feelings?

(TL4) inspire others with his/her plans for the future?

(TL5) transmit a ‘sense of mission’ to you?

(TL6) enable you to think about old problems in new ways?

(TL7) let you use your intelligence to overcome obstacles?

Respondents were asked to indicate their agreement with each item, using a five-point Likert scale ranging from ‘Not at All’ to ‘A Lot’. Higher scores indicate that the hospitality managers use higher levels of transformational leadership and employees have a closer relationship with their managers. Cronbach’s alpha was not reported by Dubinsky et al. (1995) for the above seven items. We calculated a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.89 on the responses of the 30 employees who participated in the pre-test of the above scale items. All seven items were included in the final questionnaire.

Factors that mitigate employee job stress

35

Job stress was measured as the extent to which employees feel (1) emotionally drained by their jobs, (2) burned-out by their jobs, (3) frustrated at their jobs, (4) tense at their jobs and (5) job-related problems keep them awake at night. Firth et al. (2004) used eight items to measure job stress. Five items were selected to measure ‘job stress’ variable. The reliability of these items was re-tested. These items are as follows:

(JS1)

I feel emotionally drained by my job.

(JS2)

I feel burned-out by my job.

(JS3)

I feel frustrated at my job.

(JS4)

I feel tense at my job.

(JS5)

Job-related problems keep me awake at night.

Respondents were asked to indicate their agreement with each item, using a five-point Likert scale ranging from ‘Never’ to ‘Almost Every Day’. Higher scores indicate that employees have a higher level of job stress. Cronbach’s alpha was not reported by Firth et al. (2004) for the above five items. We calculated a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.88 on the responses of the 30 employees who participated in the pre-test of the above scale items. All five items were included in the final questionnaire.

4.3 Sampling frame, questionnaire distribution and collection

The study consisted of the population of restaurant (fast food and full service), hotel and motel employees. Restaurants, hotels and motels in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada area (North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Vancouver, Richmond and Coquitlam) were chosen as a sampling frame. The delivery of restaurant, hotel and motel services requires considerable customer contact and provides a real world setting for testing the hypotheses; thus, the study was expected to offer good generalisation. The Lower Mainland area of British Columbia, Canada, is large enough for the sampling frame to achieve valid results. To solve sampling frame issues, it was ensured that subjects were selected from restaurants and hotels/motels only.

4.4 Sampling method, sampling issues and possible planned solutions

The current study applied a convenience (non-random) sampling method to select and recruit the research participants. This method was chosen because the owners, managers

and executives of the restaurant, hotel and motel firms were reluctant to participate in the research and did not allow us to obtain a list of employees’ names and distribute surveys

to

respondents this way. Therefore, there was the possibility of sampling bias (the threat

to

representational ability of a sample). To avoid sampling bias, friends were educated

to

choose research participants who were indeed representative of the population. For

example, friends were educated to ensure that they exclude all non-service employees. To achieve a convenience sample, an exhaustive list of employees’ names, friends’ names and their telephone numbers in the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia,

Canada, were created to conduct telephone interviews and to collect data in person.

A

script was also used to conduct telephone interviews by us and our friends. In addition,

to

set up the data gathering, a mailing list of friends’ names and addresses was completed.

36 A. Gill, N. Biger and S. Bhutani

Survey questionnaire bundles coupled with an instruction sheet were provided to participating friends for collection of data. All the research participants were taken from the non-randomly selected restaurant, hotel and motel firms. The sample included at least 800 research participants encompassing Canadian hospitality services employees. A total of 228 surveys were completed over the telephone (approximately 13% completed), through personal visits, and by mail. Twenty-one surveys were non-usable. This way the response rate was 28.50%. The remaining cases were assumed to be similar to the selected research participants. Volunteers distributed and collected most of the questionnaires. Some of the employee questionnaires were completed through telephone interviews. Once the questionnaires were completed, they were picked up in person from respondents and volunteers.

5

Study procedures

5.1

Issues related to confidentiality of the research participants

All individuals who were approached were assured that their names will not be disclosed and confidentiality will be strictly maintained. In addition all subjects were requested not to disclose their names on the questionnaire. Since the research was based on the survey questionnaire, employees were not forced to respond to each specific question. All subjects were provided with stamped envelopes and confidentiality was assured. There was no obligation for the subjects to answer our questions over the telephone and in person. Before any telephone interview, the person was asked for his or her willingness to participate and of course no one was forced to participate. Employee consent letter specifically indicated that by completing the survey, subjects have consented to participate in the study. Any information that was obtained in connection with this study and that can be identified with subjects will remain confidential and will be disclosed only with subjects’ permission or as required by law.

6 Analysis and results

Data were processed with the statistical package for the social sciences. We used multiple linear regression to accept or reject our null hypothesis and used p < 0.05 as our level of significance.

6.1 Data analysis methods

Measures of central tendency, variance, skewness and kurtosis were calculated on responses to all of the items. Skewness measures for all of the items were within the range of –0.782 to 1.028, which is considered to be an excellent range for most research that requires using statistics appropriate to normal distributions. Therefore, we used statistics that assume scalar values and symmetric distributions to test our hypothesis. Using a principle component rotation and a varimax rotation, we ran a CFA on the 16 items. Three factors explained 88.88% of the variance in the 16 items (Table 1), and all of the items loaded on the expected factors (Table 2).

Factors that mitigate employee job stress

37

Table 1

Total variance explained – rotation sums of square loadings

 

Total variance explained

Rotation sums of squared loadings

Component

Total

% of variance

Cumulative %

1

5.113

31.954

31.954

2

4.486

28.036

59.990

3

3.503

21.892

81.881

Note:

Extraction method: Principal component analysis.

 

We factor analysed the four empowerment items and used the resultant weighted score as our EM scale. The items loaded roughly equally on the scale. This factor explained 84.39% of the variance in the four items. Cronbach’s alpha calculated was 0.937 on the four items. We factor analysed the seven transformational leadership items and used the resultant weighted score as our TL scale. The items loaded roughly equally on the scale. This factor explained 74.93% of the variance in the seven items. Cronbach’s alpha calculated was 0.943 on the seven items. We factor analysed the five job stress items and used the resultant weighted score as our JS scale. The items loaded roughly equally on the scale. This factor explained 86.99% of the variance in the five items. Cronbach’s alpha calculated on the five items was 0.962.

Table 2

Rotated component matrix

Component

1

2

3

To what extent does your immediate manager/supervisor

(EM1) permit you to use your own judgement?

0.376

–0.133

0.843

(EM2) encourage you to handle problems?

0.285

–0.262

0.847

(EM3) trust your judgement?

0.288

–0.241

0.867

(EM4) allow you freedom in your work?

0.321

–0.262

0.759

To what extent does your immediate manager/supervisor

(TL1) encourage you to be ‘team player’?

0.840

–0.259

0.173

(TL2) get the group to work together towards the same goal?

0.874

–0.076

0.133

(TL3) show respect for your personal feelings?

0.703

–0.281

0.406

(TL4) inspire others with his/her plans for the future?

0.802

–0.185

0.295

(TL5) transmit a ‘sense of mission’ to you?

0.833

–0.159

0.245

(TL6) enable you to think about old problems in new ways?

0.807

–0.111

0.238

(TL7) let you use your intelligence to overcome obstacles?

0.783

–0.116

0.363

I feel

(JS1) emotionally drained by my job

–0.170

0.913

–0.131

(JS2) burned-out by my job

–0.173

0.937

–0.122

(JS3) frustrated at my job

–0.193

0.916

–0.186

(JS4) tense at my job (JS5) Job-related problems keep me awake at night

–0.186

0.910

–0.205

–0.103

0.810

–0.299

Note:

Extraction method: Principal component analysis. Rotation method: Varimax with Kaiser normalisation. Rotation converged in five iterations.

38

A. Gill, N. Biger and S. Bhutani

7

Testing of hypotheses

7.1 Relationship between transformational leadership, empowerment and job stress

It was hypothesised that:

1 The higher the level of empowerment perceived by the hospitality services employees, the lower the level of job stress.

2 The more the manager’s leadership is perceived as transformational, the less will be the job stress of his or her employees in the hospitality services industry.

3 The age affects negatively on employee job stress in the hospitality services industry.

Overall, negative relationships between (1) empowerment and job stress and (2) transformational leadership and job stress (Table 3) were found; that is, the reduction in the degree of perceived job stress of CCSEs is related to the improvement in the degree of perceived empowerment and transformational leadership used by managers in the hospitality services industry. A positive relationship between age and job stress (Table 3) was found; that is, older employees tend get stressed out more than the younger employees in the hospitality services industry.

Table 3

Regression coefficients a,b

 
 

Unstandardised coefficients

Standardised coefficients c

B

Std. error

Beta

t

Sig.

(Constant)

–0.246

0.240

–1.027

0.306

EM

–0.433

0.111

–0.310

–3.911

0.000

TL

–0.316

0.106

–0.238

–2.995

0.003

Age

0.021

0.007

0.187

3.062

0.002

Note:

EM = Empowerment; TL = Transformational Leadership; JS = Job Stress. a Dependent variable: job stress. b Independent variables: transformational leadership, empowerment and age. Age was measured by a single item which asked respondents (employees) to indicate their age group. Categorised alternative responses were: (1) 18–30, (2) 31–39, (3) 40–50, (4) 51–59, (5) 60 and over. c Linear regression through the origin.

The regression equation is as follows:

JS = –0.246 – 0.433 EM – 0.316 TL + 0.021 Age.

Note that around 28.3% (R 2 = 0.283) of the variance in the degree of employee job stress can be explained by the age, empowerment and transformational leadership (Table 4).

Table 4

Model summary

Model

R

R 2

Adjusted R 2

Std. error of the estimate

1

0.532 a

0.283

0.272

0.99979300

a Predictors: (constant), age, empowerment, transformational leadership.

Factors that mitigate employee job stress

39

Table 5

ANOVA a

Model

Sum of squares

df

Mean square

F

Sig.

1

Regression

79.977

3

26.659

26.670

0.000 b

Residual

202.916

203

1.000

Total

282.893

206

a Dependent variable: job stress. b Predictors: (constant), age, empowerment, transformational leadership.

As shown in Table 5, ANOVA’s test is also significant at 0.000. We noted that the size of the sample (with a predominance of restaurant workers) might affect the results. We first tested to see if EM, TL and JS were significantly

different between restaurant and hotel/motel CCSEs. Using one-way ANOVAs, we found that perceived employee empowerment did not differ between the two types of CCSEs (sig. = 0.712), perceived transformational leadership did not differ between the two types of CCSEs (sig. = 0.457) and perceived employee intention to quit did not differ between the two types of CCSEs (sig. = 0.105). We then re-tested the hypotheses for subsets of the sample.

A negative relationship between empowerment and job stress (Table 6) was found;

that is, the reduction in the degree of perceived job stress of CCSEs is related to degree of empowerment in the hotel/motel services industry.

A non-significant relationship between transformational leadership and job stress

(Table 6) was found; that is, the reduction in the degree of perceived job stress of CCSEs is not related to degree of transformational leadership used by managers in the

hotel/motel services industry.

A positive relationship between age and job stress (Table 6) was found; that is, the

older CCSEs tend get stressed out more than the younger employees in the hotel/motel services industry.

Negative relationships between (1) empowerment and job stress and (2) transformational leadership and job stress (Table 6) were found; that is, the reduction in the degree of perceived job stress of CCSEs is related to the improvement in the degree of perceived empowerment and transformational leadership used by managers in the restaurant services industry.

A positive relationship between age and job stress (Table 6) was found; that is, older

employees tend get stressed out more than the younger employees in the restaurant services industry. Note that around 19.5% (R 2 = 0.195) of the variance in the degree of employee job stress can be explained by the age, empowerment and transformational leadership (Table 7) in the hotel/motel services industry. Around 36.6% (R 2 = 0.366) of the variance in the degree of employee job stress can be explained by the age, transformational leadership and empowerment (Table 7) in the restaurant services industry.

40 A. Gill, N. Biger and S. Bhutani

Table 6

Regression coefficients a,b

Unstandardised coefficients

Standardised coefficients

 

B

Std. error

Beta

t

Sig.

Hotel/motel services industry (N = 81)

 

(Constant)

–0.460

0.438

–1.052

0.296

EM

–0.422

0.187

–0.304

–2.260

0.027

TL

–0.051

0.171

–0.040

–0.300

0.765

Age

0.027

0.012

0.239

2.191

0.031

Restaurant services industry (N = 126)

 

(Constant)

–0.177

0.283

–0.623

0.534

EM

–0.397

0.137

–0.287

–2.910

0.004

TL

0.478

0.132

–0.359

–3.613

0.000

Age

0.018

0.008

0.167

2.278

0.024

Note:

N = number of responses. a Dependent variable: job stress. b Independent variables: transformational leadership, empowerment and age. c Linear regression through the origin.

The regression equation is as follows:

JS (Hotel/motel services industry) = –0.460 – 0.422 EM – 0.051 TL + 0.027 Age. JS (Restaurant services industry) = –0.177 – 0.397 EM + 0.478 TL + 0.018 Age.

Table 7

Model summary

R

R 2

Adjusted R 2

Std. error of the estimate

Hotel/motel services industry

0.441 a

0.195

0.164

0.99202030

Restaurant services industry

0.605 a

0.366

0.350

0.98203127

a Predictors: (constant), age, transformational leadership, empowerment.

Table 8

ANOVA a

 

Sum of squares

df

Mean square

F

Sig.

Hotel/motel services industry

Regression

18.560

3

6.187

6.287

0.001 b

Residual

76.760

78

0.984

Total

95.320

81

Restaurant services industry

Regression

67.264

3

22.421

23.249

0.000 b

Residual

116.691

121

0.964

Total

183.955

124

a Dependent variable: job stress. b Predictors: (constant), age, transformational leadership, empowerment.

Factors that mitigate employee job stress

41

As shown in Table 8, ANOVA’s test is significant at (1) 0.001 for the hotel/motel services industry and (2) 0.000 for the restaurant services industry.

8 Discussion and implications

The main purpose of this study was to determine whether the improvement in the degree of empowerment and transformational leadership reduces the degree of perceived job stress of CCSEs in the hospitality services industry. This was done by surveying a sample of hotel/motel and restaurant employees from the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia, Canada. These employee perceptions and judgements are the basis of our overall findings that the degree of reduction in job stress is associated with the improvement in the degree of empowerment and transformational leadership. The results of this paper support the findings of Pearson and Moomaw (2005) in which they indicate that perceived empowerment decreases employee job stress. In addition, the results of this study support the finding of Tracey and Hinkin (1994), Gill et al. (2006) and Dhaliwal (2008) in which they found negative relationship between transformational leadership and job stress. Results show that transformational leadership used by managers does not mitigate the job stress of CCSEs in the hotel/motel services industry. This may be because of the level of responsibilities in the hotel/motel services industry. For example, CCSEs who act as night auditors in the hotel/motel services industry are not only responsible for customer service but also responsible for cash and other account maintenance. In addition, results of this paper show that the older employees tend to get stressed out more than the younger employees in the hospitality services industry. This finding contradict the finding of Shimizu et al. (2002) in which they argue that younger employee tend to get stressed out more than the older employees. Since the hospitality services industry is identified with high levels of customer- contact, it is imperative to explore all potential human resource management practices that may mitigate employee job stress because it has a negative impact on the service organisations. Service employees play a boundary-spanning role in the hospitality services industry where they interact with many individuals from inside (fellow employees and managers) and outside (guests) their organisation. This large role set requires service employees to satisfy frequently distinct needs and expectations of multiple parties, and only one of those parties is their manager/supervisor. This requires the employee to perform pro-social behaviour and often times, demonstrate dedication to the hospitality services organisations. Therefore, it is important for managers/supervisors to empower employees and to use transformational leadership, since empowerment and transformational leadership reduce employee job stress. In order to empower employees successfully to mitigate their job stress, managers/supervisors should:

1 Explain to employees what empowerment is and how it could impact them personally. Managers/supervisors should provide examples of authority that the service employees will have in decision making. For example, managers/supervisors should explain service employees if they will have authorisation to resolve customer complaints such as replacement of poor quality food items, small amount of cash refund, change shifts without notifying shift manager, etc.

42

A. Gill, N. Biger and S. Bhutani

2

Change their behaviour to create an empowered work environment.

3

Select right employees (e.g. employees who possess initiative and the ability to get along with other people) for empowerment.

4

Train employees to make sound decisions and work closely with others.

5

Communicate expectations to service employees clearly.

6

Align reward and recognition programmes.

7

Have patience and expect problems such as wrong decisions made by empowered employees.

8.1 Implementation of transformational leadership approaches

There are many organisational barriers (e.g. lack of employee’s understanding of the mission, goals and objectives, communication barriers, lack of time, cultural barriers, shortage of staff, employee de-motivation, high employee turnover, managers’ understanding the degree to which transformational leadership needs to be implemented, etc.) that make it difficult to implement transformational leadership approaches (Gill and Mathur, 2007, p.332). To overcome the above-mentioned challenges, hospitality services managers/ supervisors need to:

Communicate organisation’s mission, goals and objectives to CCSEs by ‘breaking- them-down’ for each individual employee based on the hospitality function performed.

Encourage downward communication by using bulletin board, via handouts appended to employee paycheques, and through communication to employees to delegate responsibility.

Encourage upward communication by having an open door policy (e.g. management by walking around) for employee suggestions to obtain feedback on the degree of transformational leadership implementation.

Learn effective time management skills to deal with lack of time barrier.

Have regular on floor training and coaching, which in turn, will encourage employee ‘buy-in’ to perform different job functions in the hospitality services organisations.

Have constant communication to reinforce the vision, mission, goals and objectives of the organisation (hotel) as well as individual department (e.g. housekeeping, front desk, food services, etc.).

Change own leadership style from regular to transformational through practicing new leadership skills.

Practice effective listening skills (e.g. show employees that you want to listen, be patient, hold your temper, go easy on argument and criticism, and ask relevant questions) to overcome with communication and cultural barriers.

Act as mentors (e.g. train, advise, coach, support and encourage) to CCSEs to overcome with employee de-motivation and the understanding degree to which transformational leadership needs to be implemented barriers (Gill et al., 2006, p.478; Gill and Mathur, 2007, p.332).

Factors that mitigate employee job stress

43

All of the above require managers to internalise the importance of showing genuine concern and respect for employees and their work. Since the consequences of poor employee job satisfaction lead to other issues such as high employee turnover in the hospitality services organisations, it is highly advocated implementing transformational leadership as the managerial method of choice. In practice, although it may be difficult for some managers to increase their use of these transformational leadership behaviours and some employees may eye a change in management style with scepticism, the potential benefits far outweigh the costs, and such behaviours are developable. The importance of such a leadership development process, however, must be championed and strongly supported by senior leadership.

8.2 Recommendations for future research

Although this study clearly shows that empowerment and transformational leadership reduce job stress in the hospitality services industry, additional research issues and questions must be addressed.

Figure 1

Empowerment, transformational leadership and job stress a,b

transformationa l leadership and job stress a , b a Original hypotheses are shown as boxes

a Original hypotheses are shown as boxes with thicker lines connected by thicker lines. b Speculations are shown as boxes with thinner lines connected by thinner lines.

The additional variables that should be researched include the following:

the degree to which managers understand the consequences of empowerment

the degree to which managers understand the desire of their employees to be empowered

the degree to which managers understand the consequences of transformational leadership

the degree to which managers understand employee job stress.

44 A. Gill, N. Biger and S. Bhutani

References

Bass, B.M. (1985) Leadership and Performance beyond Expectations, Free Press, New York.

Bass,

Questionnaire,

B.M.

and

Avaolio,

B.J.

(1989)

Manual:

The

Multifactor

Leadership

Dhaliwal,

Implementing

H.

(2008)

Managing

Customer-Contact

Service

Employees

by

Transformational-Leadership, ProQuest Information and Learning, MI, USA.

Dubinsky, A.J., Yammarino, F.J., Jolson, M.A. and Spangler, W.D. (1995) ‘Transformational leadership: an initial investigation in sales context’, The Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp.15–31. Firth, L., Mellor, D.J., Moore, K.A. and Loquet, C. (2004) ‘How can managers reduce employee intention to quit?’, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 19, Nos. 1/2, pp.170–180.

by

A.,

and

M.

and

of

Jamal, M. and Baba, V.V. (2000) ‘Job stress and burnout among Canadian managers and nurses: an empirical examination’, Canadian Journal of Public Health, Vol. 91, No. 6, pp.454–459. Kane, P. (1996) ‘Two-way communication fosters greater commitment’, HR Magazine, Vol. 41, No. 10, pp.50–53. King, S., Fulton, B. and Edelman, P. (2004) ‘Empowerment as a mediator of the relationship between caregiver stress and self-care/health: development of a causal model’, The Gerontologist, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp.368–370. Lam, T., Baum, T. and Pine, R. (2001) ‘Study of managerial job satisfaction in Hong Kong’s

of

Vol. 13, pp.35–42. Lashley, C. (1999) ‘Employee empowerment in services: a framework for analysis’, Journal of Personal Review, Vol. 28, pp.169–191. Lashley, C. (2000) ‘Empowerment through involvement: a case study of TGI Friday restaurants’, Personal review, Vol. 29, pp.791–799.

Factors that mitigate employee job stress

45