The perceived relationship between occupational stress and employee performance in tea factories in Murang’a county
Stress is a universal element experienced by employees around the globe and it has become a major problem for employers particularly in developing nations like Kenya where the employer doesn’t realize its impact in the organization. The objective of this study was to determine the perceived relationship between occupational stress and employee performance in tea factories in Murang’a County. To achieve the objectives of the study, the research was conducted in all the 8 tea factories in the County across all the categories of employees in order to get the most justified opinions on stress and performance.The study used primary data which was collected using a self-administered structured questionnaire. The population of the study comprised all the employees in the 8 tea factories in Murang’a County who are approximately 800 in total. The questionnaires were issued to 1 top manager, 4 technical employees and 15 short contract/casual employees per factory in all the 8 factories. The questionnaire comprised of three parts: Part A: the Demographic Information of the respondents, Part B: Indicators and Causes of stress in the factories and part C: Employee Performance Measures in the factories. The data was collected and analyzed quantitatively using descriptive statistics of mean and standard deviation and also using the Pearson product moment correlation analysis. The study revealed that employees in the factories indicated the existence of stress by portraying behaviors such as labor turnover, many complain and grievances, headaches and dizziness,absenteeism and withdrawal tendencies. The study also indicated that there are many causes of stress in the factories and these are: the employees feel underutilized, they have high workload, and they face unequal treatment, poor leadership, poor remuneration, poor employee relations and poor working conditions characterized by high levels of noise, high temperatures, poor air circulation and exposure to physical injury.Additionally, the study revealed that performance in the tea factories is at stake because the employees portray behaviors such as lack of commitment, poor customer service, tardiness, ineffective usage of time, lack of total fairness while dealing with people and disclosure of confidential information just to mention a few.The limitation for this study was that the study was carried out within a limited time frame and resources which constrained the scope and depth of the study.This necessitated the adoption of a descriptive survey research design hence these findings cannot be used to make generalizations regarding the impact of stress on employee performance in other tea factories in Kenya.