ANXIETIES PERTAINING TO A. K. S R I V A S T A V A * JOB-LIFE: A...
ANXIETIES PERTAINING TO
A. K. S R I V A S T A V A *
JOB-LIFE: A UNIVERSAL
PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEM
OF THE MODERN AGE

In the present age of technological an easy one. It is beset by seemingly end-
advancements exploitation of researches in less personal and social problems. The
the physical sciences has led to rapid major emotional problem faced by most
changes in industrial operations resulting people is not that of controlling or coping
in remarkably increased production. With with the more violent emotions of rage
the aid of modern technology and nuclear and fear but that of dealing with the more
energy man is becoming powerful and subtle emotion of anxiety apprehended
materially prosperous day by day. In spite while coming to terms with realities. The
of mechanization and progressive trans-
multifarious stresses and strains of people
ference of work from man to machine, the in the changing world of today are so
significant role of man-power in production wide-spread and frequent that almost
cannot be ruled out. The indispensable everyone has to confront anxiety in one
role of the human element in industries way or the other. And this frequent con-
has necessitated a careful study of the frontation is continuously resulting in the
individuals operating in the context of development of specific personality traits of
business and industrial complexes.
vague fear and apprehension, and feeling of
Despite all luxury, prosperity, great insecurity among people. KeirKegaard
riches and human welfare programmes (1944) has accordingly said "learning to
created with the aid of scientific and tech-
know anxiety is an adventure which
nological promotions, the majority of every man has to affront. He, therefore,
people seem to be restless, tense, and de-
who has learned rightly to be anxious has
pressed, and exhibit feelings of vague fear learned the most important thing."
and insecurity. No wonder that on every
The psychologists working on problems
side we see worried and bewildered people, of anxiety are in agreement that anxiety
who feel deprived in fulfilling their poten-
is a mental state characterized by vague
tials due to lack of satisfactory adjustment fear and apprehension which distorts the
with various dimensions of their lives. individual's perceptions and mode of
Among others, the reasons behind these thinking. Also they found that it has
depressions, tensions, and apprehensions hideous effect on satisfactory adjustment.
are basically psychological. One of the Coleman (1969) describes anxiety as "a
most prominent factors causing such state of emotional tension characterized by
psychic-pains is 'anxiety'. The twentieth apprehension and fearfulness: psychic
century is characterized as the 'age of pain". Anxiety, like fear, is associated with
anxiety' which becomes even more appa-
threat, but the danger that stimulates
rent as one penetrates into political, social, anxiety is more likely to be remote and
professional or domestic crises to discover anticipated than immediate. It is a prob-
the inherent psychological causes.
able or imagined threat that might occur.
Modern man's path to happiness is not With anxiety the threatening situations
* Dr. A. K. Srivastava is Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, Banaras Hindu
University, Varanasi-5.

150
A. K. SRIVASTAVA
usually cannot be so readily located, defin-
Some of the individuals operating in the
ed, or even identified. Indeed, the causes context of business, industries or other
may be within ourselves. In its stronger employments may indicate apprehensions
and more neurotic form, it may be charac-
and vague fears about various components
terized by emotional turmoil, and a feel-
of their jobs as a result of interactions
ing of disorientation, inadequacy or help-
between their certain specific personality
lessness as to the individual's capacity to characteristics and the variables operating
cope with himself, with life in general, in the job-situations. The persistent
or with some more specific situations. interactions between the two sets of
Anxiety, though diffused and unspecified, variables cause the development of a
can often make an individual constricted deviant trait among the employees, which
more than fear and frustration.
may be referred to as "Job-Anxiety". In
very simple terms job-anxiety may be
Anxiety is one of the basic personality defined as "a generalized feeling of vague
variables which is manifested by almost fear and insecurity, and apprehensive
every individual in some amount or other, mental state of the employee pertaining to
and a moderate amount of anxiety is desir-
various constituents of his job-life".
able to our functioning as emotionally
A comprehensive analysis of the
mature individuals. In the present era of concepts yields that the fundamental
technological advancements and industria-
psychological components of the job
lization the tendency of anxiety is be-
anxiety are vague fear, apprehension,
coming a dominant personality charac-
negative self-attitude, feeling of insecurity
tristic of most of the people. Of course, and tendency of pessimism with reference
there are people who appear to be unable to various components of job-life, e.g.,
to display normal concern for others and security of the job and safety; managerial
for the consequences of their own behaviour
treatment: recognition and fair evalua-
because they are overwhelmed by neurotic tion; reward (monetary) and punishment;
anxiety and selfhate. When an individual opportunity of promotions and advance-
is faced with or overwhelmed by more ment; interpersonal relations at work;
anxiety than he can handle he is inclined capacity to work and shouldering
to behave in ways that are unrealistic, responsibilities, etc. The anxious employee,
irrational, or panicky.
most of the time anticipates undesirable
As an individual moves through various and frustrating outcome or response from
phases in different walks of life en-
different components of his job. Such
countering quite diverse situations he apprehensions are the products of inter-
develops specific anxieties concerning action between certain personality dis-
positions of the employee and occasional
various components of these phases. These unpleasant experiences or painful associa-
specific anxieties are projected in the tions with the components of his job-life.
individual's behaviour and adjustment with Since job anxiety is basically the mani-
these walks of life. For a man of the festation of certain personality characteris-
modern world his job-life, probably, is the tics of the employee he is likely to
most significant aspect of life. People indicate it in either magnitude about
engage themselves in some job or other almost all the components of his job. But
where they spend more hours than in any the degree of job anxiety may vary
other single activity, except in sleeping.

ANXIETIES PERTAINING TO JOB-LIFE
151
from one component to another in 3. I feel that I may not be very success-
accordance with the relevance of the
ful in this job.
component for the employee and the 4. I am sometimes, afraid of being
frequency of the painful experiences with
charged with false allegations.
the components. The stimuli which pro-
5. I often get worried whether I may
voke job anxiety are more likely to be
come under some catastrophe.
remote, an imaginary threat concerning 6. I feel that there is no one among
certain job-components which are con-
my colleagues in whom I can confide.
ceived of being likely to occur. The
7. I am usually misunderstood by my
employee with high job anxiety is worried
officers and colleagues.
and depressed but is not able to locate or
even identify the exact cause of it. The
With development of large industrial
more fear (vague) and apprehension the complexes and dominating economic
employee feels about his job life, the more beliefs anxieties pertaining to job life have
likely he is to manifest job anxiety. In its become one of the most prominent pro-
stronger form job anxiety may be blems of the present era. The majority of
characterized by a feeling of helplessness the individuals engaged in industries and
and self-abasement as to his capacity to other employment are observed to be vic-
properly cope with various constituents of tims of a high degree of job anxiety which
his job-life. At this level, the employee results in deterioration of their adjustment
may be aware that 'something is wrong' and efficiency at work. It suggests that
but may not be very sure what this 'some-
anxieties are so higher today that they
thing' is, and consequently he may blame are preoccupations of most of the em-
it on his co-workers, management, or any ployees. Today employees are more often
other factor in his job-life which bears anxious than frustrated or dissatisfied
only an indirect or even no relationship with their jobs. Job-anxiety has become
at all to the true cause of his apprehension. a frequent source of maladjustment,
If he is not worrying about one thing, dissatisfaction, and several other crucial
he is worrying about another. He frequently psychopathological problems faced by
anticipates misfortunes and painful most of the employees. Anxiety and tension
consequences, and is apprehensive about have become the dominant theme of
the things, people or situations while as labour-management relations. Employees'
a matter of fact, there is no reason for job satisfaction and adjustment and
such concern. However, an employee's level
industrial morale have been observed to
of job-anxiety seems to be relatively be adversely affected by the high degree
independent of the immediate physical of job-anxiety (Srivastava, 1974; Srivastava
environment.
and Sinha, 1975). The findings of the
researches undertaken by the author have
For example, an employee possessing a established that the employees possessing
high level of job anxiety would respond considerably high degree of job anxiety
affirmatively to the following statements: tend to be least satisfied with their
'job-contents' (nature of work, fellow
1. I am usually afraid of being suspended workers, opportunities of promotion and
or dismissed from my service.
advancement, interest in work, physical
2. I do my work under heavy mental environment, machine and tools, etc.) and
strain.

152
A. K. SRIVASTAVA
'management' (supervisory treatment,
life. These employees may create pro-
participation, reward and punishment, blem situations for management and the
leave-policy, etc.).
organization as a whole.
The consequences of high job anxiety
In the context of the present socialistic
are not confined only to the job-life. pattern of society 'Human-Relations at
Employees' personal and social life beyond Work' has a wide and very ambitious
the periphery of their job-life may also programme as it concerns itself with
be affected by job anxiety of a high degree. interrelationships among personnel (inter-
In the study conducted by the author cadre and intra-cadre) in all situations
(1974) it has been found that the employees arising in connection with their work.
with high degree of job anxiety have The observations indicate that the high
inadequate and unsatisfactory 'personal-
degree of job anxiety pertaining to human
adjustments' (emotionality, health, relations relations at work has an inverse relation-
with family members, etc.) and 'social-
ship with job satisfaction which the
relation' (attitudes towards people in employee derives from various 'on-the-job'
community, participation in social acti-
as well as 'off-the-job factors (Srivastava,
vities, sociability, relations with neighbours
1974). The finding, while confirming
and friends etc.).
Lindgren's (1969) postulation that "inter
The research findings clearly indicate personal relationship is the major deter-
that the high degree of job anxiety minant of anxiety, also extends its appli-
pertaining to every component of the job-
cation to the industrial work setting.
life is negatively correlated with employees'
satisfactory adjustment, yet the high
Not only high or very high degree but
degree of job anxiety regarding 'security very low degree of job anxiety too is
and safety', 'recognition' and 'human undesirable and causes motivation pro-
relations at work' have far-reaching and blems. It has been empirically established
comparatively more deteriorating effects that 'very low' degree of anxiety regarding
on employees' job satisfaction and one's job and its security significantly
adjustment at work (Srivastava, 1974).
deteriorates an employee's job satisfaction
and sense of responsibility (Srivastava,
Since psychological problems like 1974). Employees possessing very low
depression, impulsiveness, worry and level of job anxiety, particularly concerning
faulty attitudes have been found to be security of the job, bother the least about
frequent causes of industrial accidents their job duties and responsibilities. More-
(Curtsey Metropolitan, L.I.C., N.Y., 1945) Over, they do not adequately identify
employees possessing a high degree themselves with their jobs. Such
of job anxiety would be more susceptible employees should be taken to be posses-
to accidents and other industrial and sive of 'low drive level', lack of enthusiasm
labour problems. Employees with consider-
and attachment to vocational life.
ably high amount of job anxiety may be
denoted as hyper-job-anxiety employees.
It is the responsibility of the industrial
Such a high degree of job anxiety psychologist to carefully analyze the
is most likely to result in a sub-
variables causing job anxieties, and to
stantial deterioration in the employees' suggest preventive as well as therapeu-
mental health, work-spirit, productivity, tic measures, in collaboration with clinical
and perfect adjustment with vocational psychologists and management experts.

ANXIETIES PERTAINING TO JOB-LIFE
153
While analysing its causes and con-
anxiety among the employees is found to
sidering the therapeutic measures it is be increasing continuously concerning
necessary to determine the exact amount some particular components of the job
and nature of job anxiety possessed by necessary improvements and required
a particular employee. Among others the changes or modifications should be
development and standardization of the made in the basic structure of the
Job Anxiety Scale (1974) by the author concerned components so as to create
is an initiatory and relevant effort in this conducive working environment. If it is
direction. The Job Anxiety Scale is a observed to be going considerably high
psychological tool to adequately assess the in only few of the employees an effective
degree of job anxiety of employees programme of counselling or other cor-
pertaining to various components of job rective measures may be adopted for the
life, e.g., job-security and safety; fair benefit of the affected employees, as well
evaluation and recognition; human-
as to nip several managerial problems in
relations at work; reward (financial) and the bud.
punishment; self-esteem and social status
It is a general observation that in the
of the job; future prospects and op-
present era of high economic values and
portunities to learn and to take up industrialization monetary causes are
responsibilities. The scale locates the speci-
predominant in instigating high job
fic dimensions of the job-life wherein job anxiety in the majority of employees
anxiety is being manifested. It is a merit associated with industrial complexes or
of the scale (J.A.S.) that it provides a other organizations. The findings of one
separate account of the involvement of of the studies conducted by the author
different job-components in the felicitation confirms these observations. The study
of the overall job anxiety. Such an postulates that the job anxiety de-
account may be of great help when some creases with increasing monthly in-
sort of counselling or psychological come and work training (Srivastava
treatment is to be provided to the problem-
and Sinha 1974; Srivastava, 1974). In
employees. The scores on the Job Anxiety view of the findings it was suggested that
Scale may very conveniently be used to 'Refreshers-Course' and 'Additional
categorize the employees as very high, orientation Training', be introduced for
high, moderate, low, and very low job-
untrained and semi-skilled employees so
anxiety-groups so as to enable the that they may discharge their job duties
management or administration to place more efficiently and with confidence, and
and shift employees possessing different may simultaneously qualify for higher
degrees of job anxiety, in accordance with emoluments by undertaking greater job
the amount of job anxiety desirable for responsibilities.
various types of jobs or duties and
Since human relations is an extremely
working-conditions.
important aspect of job life the problems
It is worth suggesting, as a preventive or complications in this aspect must be
measure, that the Job Anxiety Scale be given special attention. It is an established
periodically administered to all the fact and also the author's observation that
employees' of the industrial organizations interpersonal relations in the job life
to assess the trend and rate of the growth create situations, more frequently than any
of job anxiety. In case the level of job-
other factor, provoking job anxiety among

154
A. K. SRIVASTAVA
employees. Most of the anxieties of the sions which might cause problems in
job life are directly or indirectly concerned employees' adjustment. Smooth com-
with or caused by unsatisfactory and munication may prove to be another easy
inadequate interpersonal relations among but efficient means to avoid several mis-
the employees. The concept of anxiety as understandings and apprehensions among
arising in the locus of infer-personal employees which ultimately become a
relations had been most cogently advocated behavioural pattern or a personality
by Sullivan (1948) quite earlier. He characteristic and disrupt their satisfactory
denoted anxiety as apprehension of adjustment in their job life.
disapproval of interpersonal relations.
Among others, participation of
Adequate interpersonal relations among employees of every cadres in policy-
the personnel at different levels and group-
development and in taking decisions on
cohesiveness might prove to be an effective other relevant matters of their concern
measure to prevent the problems of high would help in satisfying their psychological
job anxiety. It is worth suggesting that need of self-actualization and generate the
sincere efforts must be made to develop sense of joint-responsibility and high
amicable attitudes and mutual under-
morale among employees. Such experiences
standing among the employees at different and feelings would undoubtedly help in
levels, particularly between blue-collar maintaining amicable human relations in
workers and supervisors. A number of the job-life. The recent provision for
problematic consequences of high job 'Joint Management Councils' in industrial
anxiety may be avoided by developing organizations would prove to be a
sufficient confidence and reliance in successful means to prevent a number of
colleagues and superiors. Too much of job anxieties, and thereby several labour-
hierarchical distance between the rank management problems.
and file worker and high level personnel
Besides the preventive and corrective
must also be decreased to provide measures discussed in the foregoing
opportunity to both for clearly under-
paragraphs, a great deal of constructive
standing each other, as well as to develop and harmonious efforts are still to be made
cooperative attitudes.
by the psychologists, psychiatrists and
Relevance of self-expression and ex-
the experts of management in collaboration
change of views among the employees of with each other with a common objective
different cadres have been well realized to conclude more concrete and prac-
by modern industrial organizations. These tical solutions to this burning problem
processes save employees from suppres-
of the time.
REFERENCES
Metropolitan Life Insurance Corporation (Accident-Prone
1945
Employee), New York.
Coleman, J. C.
Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life (3rd Edn.), D. B.
1969
Taraporewala Sons & Co. Ltd., Bombay, p. 657.
Kierkegaard, S.
The Concept of Dread (translated by Wolter Lowvis), Princeton
1944
University Press.
Lindgren, H. C.
Psychology of Personal Development, Van Nostrand Reinhold
1969
Company, New York.

ANXIETIES PERTAINING TO JOB-LIFE
155
Srivastava, A. K. and :
The Effect of Socio-personal Variables on the Degree of Job
Sinha, M. M.
Anxiety of Blue-Collar personnel, Indian Journal of Industrial
January, 1974
Relations, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 307-405.
Srivastava, A. K. :
An Inquiry into Relationship between Job Anxiety and Job
Satisfaction, Ph.D. Thesis submitted to the Banaras Hindu
1974
University, Varanasi, 1974.
Srivastava, A. K. and :
Morale of the Blue-Collar Workers in Relation to Different
Sinha, M. M.
Degrees of Job Anxiety, Indian Journal of Industrial Relations,
January 1975
Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 371-378.
Sullavin, H. S. :
The Meaning of Anxiety in Psychiatry, 2 : 1 , 1-15.
1948
Construction and Standardization of the Job ANXIETY SCALE was a part of Ph.D.
dissertation undertaken by the author. The scale is available with the author for public use.