Occupational stress in the armed forces: An Indian army perspective

Article Review: Sharma, S. (2015). Occupational stress in the armed forces: An Indian army perspective. IIMB Management Review, 27 (3), 185-195.

This article was authored by Sharma, Shakshi. The purpose of the study was to examine the factors that influence occupational stress of the Indian soldiers. Appropriateness of the scale used to measure occupational stressors was also evaluated in the study. Another objective of the study was to determine the strategies that can be used to reduce occupational stress among the Indian soldiers, considering the outcomes or results of the study (Sharma, 2015).

The Exploratory Factor Analysis indicated that major occupational stressors among Indian Army include organisational attitude, workload, lack of sufficient awareness about the profession, lack of workplace control, and role conflict at the workplace. Confirmatory Factor Analysis was also carried out, and it confirmed the eight factors influencing occupational stress among the army. The study also recommended that commitment-based management technique should be implemented to reduce occupational stress (Sharma, 2015).

The method used in this study was a structured interview of 415 soldiers who provided primary data for the study. The soldiers selected were those who operated in sensitive parts of the country. The sampling method was a random sampling method in which the combat arms, combat-support arms, and services arms were selected randomly from a population of soldiers operating in sensitive areas within India. Soldiers below the commissioned officer by rank were selected because they have been reported in the past to be the most affected by suicide. A 5-point Likert scale was used to measure occupational stress among the participants. It had 47 items at first, but they were later reduced to 32 due to the results of factor analysis carried after the first schedule. Cronbach’s alpha for the study was measured as 0.94 (Sharma, 2015).

In the results section, the article suggests that the data of the study was purified by applying factor analysis on the 47 items of the measurement scale, using the varimax rotation method. From the analysis, nine factors were found to be occupational stressors for the Indian army. First, ineffective leadership style influences occupational stress in Indian army. The results showed that the leadership style used in the army creates normal stress as illustrated by Barahmand and Hozoori (2013). Secondly, the study found out that employees stress is positively related to lack of cooperation in the army. The factor of unsupportive colleagues scored 3.2 out of 5. Thirdly, inadequate training scored 2.89 which indicate that this factor results in normal stress. The fourth factor was inadequate awareness which scored 3.99, indicating that inadequacy of awareness about the profession causes distress in the army. Workload scored 3.96 while lack of work control scored 4.26 which also showed that workload and lack of control contribute to stress among the soldiers (Serec et al, 2012). Other factors which contribute to occupational stress in the study include: role ambiguity, and role conflict which also contribute positively to the occupational stress of Indian army (Sharma, 2015).

In discussion part, the article suggests that the government of India should attempt to curb the problem of occupational stress among its army by employing psychiatrists, holding discussions with the Ministry of Defence, initiating occupation therapies, and building an organizational culture that supports the army and encourages collaboration/cooperation among the army and other stakeholders. Furthermore, the article suggests that commitment-based management techniques should be implemented to reduce communication gap and encourage good working relationship at the workplace (Sharma, 2015).

References List

Barahmand, U. and Hozoori, R. (2013). A Study of Alexithymia and Dissociative Experiences in Soldiers and Male University Students. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 84(9), 165–170

Serec, M., Bajec, B., Petek, D., Švab, I., & Selič, P. (2012). A structural model of burnout syndrome, coping behavior and personality traits in professional soldiers of the Slovene armed forces. Medical Journal, 81, 326-336.

Sharma, S. (2015). Occupational stress in the armed forces: An Indian army perspective. IIMB Management Review, 27 (3), 185-195.

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