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Lay theory explanations of occupational stress: the Malaysian context

Mohd Awang Idris (Work and Stress Research Group, Centre for Applied Psychological Research, School of Psychology, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Maureen F. Dollard (Work and Stress Research Group, Centre for Applied Psychological Research, School of Psychology, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Anthony H. Winefield (Work and Stress Research Group, Centre for Applied Psychological Research, School of Psychology, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Article publication date: 4 May 2010

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the causes and consequences of job stress in Malaysia and make a comparison between Western and Eastern perspectives.

Design/methodology/approach

A grounded theory approach was used to develop a lay representation of Malay people's descriptions of their experiences at work, including job stress. Interviews were conducted with 48 employees in Malaysia, using six semi‐structured interview questions adopted from Kinman and Jones and translated into the Malay language, as a guide.

Findings

Although most respondents perceived that individual factors play an important role in work stress, organizational factors seemed to be the dominant factor identified that contributes to work stress. Respondents also perceived the individual as key to stress reduction rather than management interventions. A new concept emerged in this study that was related to external factors impinging on work (such as globalization).

Practical implications

Organizations should formulate strategies to prevent job stress among employees. They must also be alert to the impact of external factors that are now common in the Malay workplace.

Originality/value

Research of job stress in employees in Eastern cultures is rare. The paper provides in‐depth preliminary research which will lead to further investigations of job stress in Eastern workplace settings.

Keywords

Citation

Awang Idris, M., Dollard, M.F. and Winefield, A.H. (2010), "Lay theory explanations of occupational stress: the Malaysian context", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 135-153. https://doi.org/10.1108/13527601011038714

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited