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The Influence Of Shift Work And Occupational Stress On Job Satisfaction Among Police



The study investigated the influence of work and occupational stress on employee‟s job satisfaction. Two hundred and fifty (250) participants were used for the study. Two hypotheses involving shift and non-shift work, high and low occupational stress were tested. Two instruments were used to measure the variables of interest.

A 2 x 2 factorial design was adopted resulting in the use of 2-way ANOVA for data analysis. The result shows a statistically significant influence of shift work on job satisfaction [F(1, 196) = 114.29, P<.01)]. For the second factor, the result was also significant. Occupational stress exerted a significant influence on job satisfaction [F(1, 196) = 22.02, P<.01).] There was also an interaction influence of shift work and occupational stress on job satisfaction [F(1, 196) = 10.24, P<.01).] The results were discussed and suggestions made for further studies.



In today‟s technological and moving business world, significant and growing percentage of the population work in formal organizations (Heller and Hindle, 1988). People work under a broad array of conditions. While many of these people work indoors, others work outside. Some of these jobs require exposure to intense heat, cold and/ or noise. Hence, while some of these jobs involve high risk injury or illness, others carry low risks. The average working time in the civil service, public and/or private sector encompasses a major part of the individual‟s life span and occupies a period when physical and mental capacities are fully utilized. Organizations are constantly evolving and the nature of the services provided necessitates differential work schedules.

Here in Nigeria, not all the employees in different organizations do perform the usual 8am to 4pm – five days – a week.  Police  officers,  military  personnel,  fire  fighters,  prison warder, nurses, telephone operators among others, do provide 24-hours – a – day service. Muchinsky (1997), posits that in industrial manufacturing companies, some technologies/machine require constant monitoring and operation. Hence, it becomes rational and practical to run these machines  continually  by  having  different  shift  work  systems round the clock. He notes further that there are no uniform shift hours, as various companies adopt different shifts. Usually for nurses, a 24-hour-a-day is broken into three 8-hour- work shifts as follows:

  • 7am to 2pm (day shift):
  • 2pm to 10pm (swing or afternoon shift)‟ and
  • 10pm to 7am (night shift).

Muchinsky finally observes that some companies have employees run only one shift, more so, as workers generally do not like the afternoon and night shift. Consequently, many firms and organizations do rotate the shift on weekly basis so as to carry all the workers along. Psychologists in industrial settings (Muchinsky, 1988), did and still do investigate the degree to which workers‟ job satisfactions are affected by the shift work, and their abilities to cope with these changes in work schedules.

Since it is the functions of the Nigeria Police Force to maintain internal security here in Nigeria, enforce the laws and orders of the law abiding citizens, arrest, investigate and charge/or prosecute all the offenders in law courts; the police had since adopted three shift work schedules covering from Sunday to Saturday of every week. In order to cover all these duties and police the country effectively, Udonsy 91976), outlines the shift work schedules in this organization as follows:

  • Morning shift, from 0600 hrs to 1400 hours;
  • Afternoon shift, 1400 to 2200 hours; and
  • Night shift. 2200 hours to 0600 hours.

It should be noted at this juncture that the first workers to be initiated to this routine were not policemen, or even firemen, but bakers. Industrialization and global warfare brought shift work into the mainstream (Aveni, 1999). In other words, estimates are that more than 25% of all workers in the U.S. and Europe are now shift workers.

This proposal tends to investigate whether the police personnel actually do have job satisfactions on their job; and/or experience stress in their day to day hassles while working these shifts. Aschoff (1978), in his work posits that shift workers experience many problems ranging from physiological to social adjustments; stressing that most physiological problems are associated with interruptions of the circadian rhythm or internal biological clock; that is to say, our bodies are “programmed” for a certain time cycle. Hence, shift works have been observed to interrupt the cycles of eating, sleeping and working hours; and workers on these shift therefore, tend to experience physiological problems.

In actual fact, the police personnel on these shift works are mostly those on the lower ranks in this force. These are the Inspectors of police, and the Rank and files (made up of Sergeants, corporals and constables); who constitute the life wire of this force. These rank brackets are those mostly running the shift work systems; and are equally seen on the field from time to time. These are the same group of police officers seen by the general public either in their course of being arrested, investigated, and/or probably, while being charged to or prosecuted in law courts. In the course of their enforcing all these laws of the Federation, states and local councils, these officers tend to engage the riotous and unlawfully assembled members of public in physical combat. Not only these, the officers equally do engage the armed robbers in gun battles during their tour of duties. This study therefore, tends to investigate whether these police officers while enforcing all these laws and more, will actually experience stress. Although, researchers have come to agree that stress is found in every organization, industries and in every day‟s live of all human existence; many factors have been advanced by theorists to affect

individual‟s     job  satisfaction.  Paramount  amongst  them  is

occupational stress. Organizational changes coupled with economic melt down and depression have produced its casualties at both organizational and individual level resulting in stress and conflict. According to cooper (2005), high incidence of stress throughout organizations irrespective of job satisfaction and involvement stress is individually analyzed and every employee has a range of satisfaction which they can feel steady and safe. For MCkenna (1999), stress entails any situation that is seen as burdensome, threatening ambiguous or boring and is likely to affect free flow of performance and satisfaction. A satisfied employee who is committed and involved in his or her job should not encounter stressful circumstances, but Mullins (1999) argued that one potential source of work stress arises from role incongruence and positional role conflict that are not compatible with individual training and experience. Mbieli (2007), noted that occupational stress could act to activate people into action with possible positive behavioural consequences, stressing that the physiological impact upon the person could come in inform of headache, Muscular tensions, fatigue and hypertension. As a complex psychological concept, occupational stress is intrinsically tied into an individual employee‟s perceptual system and as such is seen as subjective phenomenon which influence job satisfaction (Mullins, 1999). In organization and service delivery as posited by Berkowitz,

Cochran and Fraser (1998), employee‟s job satisfaction is the attainment of value outcome that function to promote involvement and the simplest level people would respond fairly and positively to occupational stress in work environment that is pleasant. Job stress phenomenon involves complicated interactions between person and environment. There are two central features of stress at work (1) dimension or characteristics of the person and (2) the potential sources of stress at work environment. The interactions of these two features of stress at work, determine either coping or maladaptive behaviour and stress related diseases (Copper and Marshal, 1996). Job stress

represents a complex assemblage of variables cognitions (beliefs or knowledge), emotions (feelings and sentiments, or evolutions) and behavoural tendencies, i.e absenteeism tardiness, tension, fatigue and withdrawal since occupational stress is an unseen, unobservable variable which can only be inferred from behavioural responses it affects individual job involvement resulting in job dissatisfaction. Research works have co me to show that potential stressors these officers are likely to encounter include: the occupation or job itself, environmental or organizational stressors, as well as stressors external to the job that may influence their effectiveness at work.

Muchinsky (1998) notes that exposure to conditions of intense heat, cold and noise affect humans in various ways leading to stress.

In industrial setting, Beehr and Newman (1998) posit that there are wide individual differences associated with perception of stress.

In life generally, a worker may feel stressed by a hectic work schedule, while another may accept this as a challenge. Hence, any stimulus (e.g work pace, noise, role pressure) that elicits a stress response is a stressor. Stress occurs when the magnitude of the stressor exceeds the individual‟s capacity to resist. For instance, workload is stressor or something that caused a person to feel stressed when he thinks that he is unable to cope with the large workload. Six sources of stress or occupational stressors, were categorized in the occupational stress indicator (OSI) thus: factors intrinsic to the job, management role, relationships with others, career and achievement, organizational structure and climate, and home/work interface. Cooper and Cartwright (1996) reiterated that these are main sources of stress at work, arguing that they are applicable to different occupations.

Warr (1987) categorized those concepts such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, job – related tension, job related depression, job related burnout, and morale as job-related well – being. The variables measuring well-being in the present study include job satisfaction, physical and mental well – being. Some studies using the OSI have demonstrated that stressors     at  work  are  negatively  related  to  workers‟  job satisfaction  and  well-being  in  western  and  Chinese  societies

(Fotinatos-Ventouratos and Cooper 1998; Lu, Shiau, & Cooper, 1997; Bogg & Cooper, 1995; Robertson, Cooper & Williams, 1990, Siu, Cooper & Donald, 1997; Yu, Sparks & Cooper, 1998). Doe instance, Fotinatos-Ventouratos and cooper (1998) demonstrated that “organizational structure and climate” was a significant predictor of job satisfaction among workers of different social classes.

For people working in group and shifts like the police, stressors need not exist in isolation. If they exist jointly, a worker must contend with their additive or interactive effects. For police work that involves constant exposure to heat, cold, danger and working at difficult terrain, the employer in this millennium 2006, should see the urgent need to provide adequate and special protective equipment like rain coats, sweaters, bullet proof vests; to curb the potential hazards associated with the work. Hence, police and other paramilitary organizations most often, are exposed to situations that tasked their psychological well-being and persistence daily work experience (Heady & Wearing, 1992). Work conditions that required constant exposure to dangers, according to Borg (1990) are stressful. Thus, it is generally believed that policing is inherently stressful because of the dangerous and unsavory tasks that are part of everyday police work (Singler & Wilson, 1998) Thus, dealing with such incidents as road transma, violent offenders, armed robbers, vehicle snatchers, mobile set snatchers, uncompromising public, poor public image, poor working conditions and distressed victims might be stressful to police officers (Hart, 1994). Hart, Wearing and Conn (1995) showed that the organizational context in which the police operate is more distressing than the actual job itself. This adverse work experiences result in psychological distress and thus an absence of well-being; a view that is typically adopted in the occupational literature (Quick, Murphy and Hurrell, 1992). Again, the idea that psychological distress and well- being lie on the same continuum which in the words of Hart  (1994)  does  not  account  for  the  fact  that  a  person‟s psychological response to his work environment has affected positively (morale) and negatively (depression, anxiety and psychosomatic systems) dimensions.

Most reports and researches into police stress relied heavily on single response and are not linked to other factors. This researcher finds it necessary to integrate shift work and stress,and their impact on job performance amongst police officers. More especially  as  most  police  shift  workers  develop  „sleep  debt‟.

Hence, studies in the United State of America and Europe for instance, indicate that shift workers get seven hours or less sleep per week than their day-working counterparts. Further studies also show that those working rotating shifts average only 5.5. hours of sleep when work night hours. The aggregate loss is sometimes, particularly recouped only on off-days. Thus, until this compensation occurs, if it does at all, the mood and performance of the shift workers is routinely affected.

Hence, Aveni (1999) states that sleep deprivation amongst police shift workers must be considered a serious component of another potential killer-job stress‟. The cumulative effect of sleep deprivation upon the shift-working policeman appears to aggravate job stress, and/or, his ability to cope with it. Thus, even more troubling is the prospect that the synergy of job stress and chronic sleep indebtedness contribute mightily to a diminished life expectancy of 73 years. While policemen on the other hand, are said to have a life expectancy of 53-66 years, depending on which research one decides to embrace. According to National institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in America, from studies of 22,000 workers across over 100 occupational groups; labourers, secretaries, lab, technicians, first-line managers, waiters/waitresses and machine operators belong to the most stressful occupations. In support of this claim, Dipboye, smith and Howell (1994), posit that the helping professions are also considered to be stressful, especially the job of police officers, nurses and social workers. Hence, in a study of more 2000 worker across 23 occupations French, Caplan, and Harrison (1982), found occupational differences not only in the amount of stress, but also in the type of stress experienced by workers.

In Nigerian environment however, most workers (police officers inclusive) are observed to experience one from of stressor or the other, in their places of work. Hence, stress is seen here, as a sign of active life which is absent, makes life become a passive journey to boredom. Thus without stress, the accompanying motivation and striving to accomplish life ambition and conquer the environment become illusive (Nweze, 1995). Furthermore, there is mental and emotional homoeostasis attained through the process of adaptation which the individual applies to the external environment including such contexts as … work, friendship through the manipulation of the environment or the use of ego defense mechanisms (Ezeilo, 1995). Hence, the conditions of stress that we experience often depend on the outcome of the appraisals we make in our transactions with the environment. Stress is however, a normal component of life, which if in mild or moderate degrees; may be helpful as a constructive force, which mobilizes our resources to achieve effectiveness and well-being. According to Ifeagwazi (1995), stress appears a prevalent clinical problem and a concomitant of all clinical pathologies. Hence, chronic emotional stress can lead to such psycho-physiological illnesses as ulcer, asthma, cancer, hypertension (the forerunner of stroke) and heart diseases. Consequently, the cost of stress in terms of human suffering social and occupational impairment and illness are enormous.


Great number of variables may interact to affect workers‟ job satisfaction in Nigeria Police Force. Bohle and Tilley‟s (1998) found that shift workers‟ attitudes were significant predicator,

affecting satisfaction; because of rigidity of sleeping habits and vigour – as the ability to overcome drowsiness. Negative attitudes to shift work have also been linked to elevated physical and psychological symptoms.

Certain factors therefore, cause organizations and industries to adopts shift work schedules for their personnel. Reasons mostly adduced in such circumstances, are mainly to cover the operational costs, which should result from shutting down the machines in these industries. This is usually estimated to cost millions, if not billions of naira before these engines are started once again. In the same vein, the cost of running only one shift work in Nigeria Police Force shall be enormous, considering the fact that the police station houses all the detained suspects at any given time, the police arms and ammunitions, all the vital exhibits in connection with cases under investigations, and all other vital documents/property belonging to the government.

Based on this, the welfare and job satisfaction of the police may be affected by this unusual work schedule. Thus, these research problems will addressed in this study:

Does shift work affect the job satisfaction of police officers?

  1. Does stress associated with the work affect the job satisfaction of police officers?


It is a common knowledge that here in Nigerian Civil/Public service, workers tend to be dissatisfied with all variables contributing to job satisfaction. The purpose of this study is therefore, to:

  1. Examine the influence of shit work on job satisfaction of police.


Shift  WorkMeans  the  rotatory  deployment  of  officers  on

weekly basis to:

  1. morning duty – from 0600 hours to 1400 hours;
  1. afternoon duty – from 1400 hours to 2200 hours: and
  1. night shift – from 2200 hours to 0600 hours – from Sunday through Saturday.

Stress: Means pressure from an adverse environment that imposes unusual demands on officers while on shift work.

Job satisfaction: Refers to officers attitudes or orientations toward their job. Job dissatisfaction on the other hand, is the negative attitudes of officers towards their jobs. Occupational Stress

Police officers: Here means the Inspectors, and rank and file members of Nigeria Police Force.

Inspectors, Rank and File Members of the Force: are the non- Occupational Stress

commissioned officers in this force

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