DEMOGRAPHIC VARIABLES AND WORK STRESS AMONG ACADEMIC ADMINISTRATORS OF UNIVERSITIES IN SOUTH EAST NIGERIA

DEMOGRAPHIC VARIABLES AND WORK STRESS AMONG ACADEMIC ADMINISTRATORS OF UNIVERSITIES IN SOUTH EAST NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

The study investigated demographic variables and work stress among academic administrators of universities in South East Nigeria. Seven research questions and five null hypotheses guided the study. The ex post facto research design was employed in the study. The population of the study comprised 786 academic administrators in all the ten public universities in South East, Nigeria. All the 786 academic administrators were used as sample for the study, so there was no sampling because of the manageable size of the population. A researcher-developed questionnaire titled Demographic Variables and Work Stress Questionnaire (DVWSQ) was used for data collection. The instrument was face-validated by three experts, two from Educational Administration and Planning, and one from Measurement and Evaluation, all from Faculty of Education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Cronbach Alpha was used to ascertain the internal consistency of the instrument, which yielded reliability indices of 0.85 for part 1, 0.79, 0.78, 0.85 and 0.72 respectively for part 11 (clusters A, B, C, D), 0.79, 0.79 and 0.72 respectively for part 111 (clusters A, B, C). Data collected were analyzed using mean (X) and standard deviation (SD) to answer the research questions, while t-test statistics and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA were used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The results of the study revealed that academic administrators of federal and state universities suffer from work stress emanating from factors such as lack of adequate resources, combining academic responsibilities with administrative duties, pressure of meeting up with the semester calendar, demand of official work on their private time, stagnation in promotion, among others. It was also found that work stress impacted on the job performance of academic administrators through: burn out, which reduced their efficiency at work, sleep difficulties which made them unable to respond quickly to demands placed on them, difficulties irn concentration, leading to aggressiveness to staff and students, forgetting important things, which made them incapable of meeting up with work schedules, among others. The responses of academic administrators on the impact of work stress on their job performance differed significantly (p<0.05) based on institutional ownership, with federal universities having a higher mean rating. The responses also differed (p<0.05) based on educational qualification, with Ph.D holders having higher mean ratings. The responses of the academic administrators did not differ significantly (P>0.05) based on gender, age and work experience. The study further showed that the academic administrators dealt with work stress through the adoption of stress management strategies such as: engaging in regular exercises, getting adequate sleep, taking vital medications, engaging in leisure activities, delegating responsibilities to subordinates, allocating time to specific tasks according to their degree of importance, among others. Based on the findings, the researcher recommended among others that: university management should continually motivate academic administrators and other academic staff, by providing them with the necessary infrastructural facilities needed to carry out their jobs, such as conducive offices, adequate classrooms, instructional resources, among others. Management of federal and state universities should always promote an awareness of health knowledge in their institutions, by regularly organizing seminars and workshops for the academic administrators and other academic staff, on the strategies for coping with work stress, using physical health experts, social workers, guidance counselors and stress management experts. More academic staff should be employed to reduce the excessive responsibilities placed on the shoulders of the academic administrators (especially Ph.D holders), so as to counter the impact of the stress emanating from performance of both academic and administrative responsibilities. Educational implications of the study were also highlighted based on the findings of the study.