Influence Of Job Challenges And Goal Ambiguity On The Psychological Well Being Of Employees Of Champion Breweries

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Background of the Study

Psychological well-being is about lives going well. It is the combination of feeling good and functioning effectively (Ryff & Singer, 2008; Selingman, 2011). Sustainable well-being does not require individuals to feel good all the time; the experience of painful emotion is a normal part of life, and being able to manage these negative or painful emotions is essential for long-term well-being (Marks & Shah, 2005). Psychological well-being is, however, compromised when negative emotions are extreme or very long lasting and interfere with a persons ability to function in his or her daily life.

The concept of functioning effectively involves the development of one’s potential, having some control over one’s life, having a sense of purpose (e.g working toward a specific goal), and experiencing positive relationship (Wright 2007).

Recent years have witnessed an exhilarating shift in the research literature from an emphasis on disorder and dysfunction to a focus on well-being and positive mental health (Mulgan, 2006, Layard, 2012). That is why world health organization defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (WHO, 2000). Research has shown that employees psychological well-being has several impact on organization, such as performance, productivity, turnover, and indirect cost (Page and Vela-Broderick, 2009; Wright 2007; Danna and Griffin, 1999). As is widely recognized, enhancing employee well-being is essential for a competitive edge and organizational survival (Amabile, 1988; Shalley, 1995). Unfortunately, employee psychological well-being is usually ignored in human resource management in organization (Baptiste, 2008).

However, there are numerous factors which have the potential to influence an employee well-being either positively or negatively. Example job challenge and goal ambiguity (Locke & Latham, 2006).

Job challenge has been conceptualized in different ways (Aneen & Sidewall, 1994; Depater, Van Vianen Beettoldt 2009; Dixo 2005; Huang et al 2007). In general research have referred to job challenge as characteristics of work (De Peter, Van Vianen, Beehtodt 2009; Mecauley et al, 1999). Other researcher used the term job challenge but did not provide definition of the construct in their studies (Bandura, 1986; Maurer & Tarulli, 2005). Job challenge according goal setting theory perspective is a job that is difficult but obtainable. Others see it as meeting performance expectation that are reseasonably high (Berlew & Hall’s, 1966). Demand model (Karasek, 1979) considered job challenge in terms of qualitative (having to deal with goal ambiguity or conflict role) and quantitative (The degree an employee is expected to work fast). Moreover, the best definition comes from (McCauley, Ohlott and Rudeman, 1999) who identified five cluster of job components that represent challenging aspect of job:

  • Job transition, with individuals being confronted with new task and situations in which existing tactics and routines are inadequate,
  • Creating change, which individuals having a clear goals to change a situation, but a loosely defined role that gives them the freedom to determine how to accomplish the goal,
  • Managing at high levels of responsibility characterized by increase visibility, the opportunity to make a significant impact dealing with broader and more complex problems and higher task,
  • Dealing with diversity that is working with people who are different from themselves regarding their values, background experiences and needs.
  • Managing boundaries in which case employees have to work with people over whom they have no direct authority and have to develop strategies for influencing and gaining their cooperation.

The second factor that may affect employee psychological well-being is Goal ambiguity. Organizational goals direct attention, effort, and action aimed to achieve a target with a specified time (Jung, 2012; Locke and Latham, 2002). Importantly, clear goals that are specific and difficult but achievable enhance both individual and organizational performance (Chun & Ramey, 2005a, 200b; Juny; 2012; Lock & Latham, 2002). This is largely because goals serve as the reference point that shape myriad organizational behaviour (Wike & Latham, 2002) such as role conflict and ambiguity (House, 1972) organizational commitment (Chun & Ramey, 2005a), and job satisfaction (Jung, 2013) all of which have strong connections to performance and psychological well-being. Beside, research consistently indicates that clear goals directly contribute to a host of performance related behaviours like happiness enthusiasm etc. Unfortunately, the problem associated with unclear goals may be more pronounced in the public sector. Public organizations often struggle to clarify organizational goals for at least two reasons. First, political compromise among competing demands from constituencies interest groups and authorities result in goals that are numerous, vague and contradictory (Davis & Stazyk, 2014a; Jung, 2014), second, the complex services offered by public organizations do not lead well to economic exchange meaning that prices and profits cannot act as clarifying mechanisms for public organization goals (Chun & Ramey, 2005a; Pandey & Wright, 2006). As such the concept of goal ambiguity is widely researched in public management. Organizational goal ambiguity is defined as the extent to which an organizational goals or set goals, allows for interpretative leeway (Chun and Ramey, 2005a, 2005b).

Moreover, when employees do not perceive their goals as specific, work motivation and satisfaction will decline and the well-being of the employee will be affected which will eventually affect the productivity and performance of the organization (Jung, 2014). The reduction in Job satisfaction due to goal ambiguity likely occur because they compromise individual self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997) and challenge the extent to which one understand organizational expectations (Davis & Stazyk, 2014; Panday & Wright, 2006; Wright, 2004).

Statement of the Problem

Having review previous literature from standard sources like: abstract Indexes, Journals and Textbooks . I realized that although few studies had been done in job challenge and goal ambiguity, but it relation to psychological well-being is seldom been addressed.

Besides, different researchers had different view concerning this two aforemention variables. For example, Derue and Wellman (2009) said that job challenge stimulate managerial development and career advancement. While Emmons and King (1993) believed that it result in stress and anxiety. The same contradictory view is applicable to goal ambiguity.

However, the productivity of any organization depend on the well-being of it members (Pase and Vela-Brodrik, 2009). Any thing that influences their well-being negatively, will affect their productivity and performance, which may result in the closing down of the organization or company. The resultant effect of this will be increase in unemployment and other social vices. This is what prompted this study, influence of job challenge and goal ambiguity on the psychological well-being of employees of champion breweries in Uyo.

Objective of the Study/Purpose

This study intends to investigate the influence of job challenge and goals ambiguity on the psychological well being of the employees in champion brewery in Uyo. Specifically, the study tends to:

  • Examine the influence of job challenge on the psychological well-being of employees.
  • Investigate the influence of lack of goal clarity on the psychological well being of employees.
  • To see whether there is an interaction effect of employees between job challenge and goal ambiguity on the psychological wellbeing

Significance of the Study

The benefit that will come from this study are numerous. First, the result will contribute to the Job challenge and goal ambiguity literature, this is because the literature in these area are scanty.

Besides, the study will help supervisors, managers, human resources personnel and the entire society to know the  level of Job challenge and goal ambiguity that enhance better psychological well-being.

Moreover, it will help managers and employers of labour on how to improve the psychological well-being of their employees by creating enabling environment which is one of the vitamin of psychological well-being.

Most importantly, enabling environment will help to boast the employees productivity and performance which will result in growth. However, the growth of the company will create more jobs for our teaming youths. Thus, reducing social vices like: Armrobbery, prostitution, kidnapping etc. Interestingly, the result of this study will bring about economic stability in Akwa-Ibom state and Nigeria in general.

Research Question

  • Does job challenge influence the psychological well being of employees?
  • Does goal ambiguity influence the psychological wellbeing of employees in champion brewery?
  • Is there any interaction between job challenge and goal ambiguity on psychological well being?



In social sciences research, theories are then used as framework to guide the researcher to systematically conduct his research. Thus a theory is a systematically organized knowledge applicable to relatively wide variety of circumstances and rules of procedures devised to analyse, explain or predict the nature of behaviour.

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