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IMPACT OF ECOLOGY ON OCCUPATIONAL STRESS: A COMPARATIVE STUDY ON POLICING IN TWO CITIES OF EASTERN INDIA

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International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET)
Volume 10, Issue 03, March 2019, pp. 660–672, Article ID: IJMET_10_03_069
Available online at http://www.iaeme.com/ijmet/issues.asp?JType=IJMET&VType=10&IType=3
ISSN Print: 0976-6340 and ISSN Online: 0976-6359
© IAEME Publication
Scopus Indexed
IMPACT OF ECOLOGY ON OCCUPATIONAL
STRESS: A COMPARATIVE STUDY ON
POLICING IN TWO CITIES OF EASTERN INDIA
Deblina Majumder
School of Law, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology- Deemed to be University,
Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
Dr. Arpita Mitra
School of Law, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology- Deemed to be University,
Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
ABSTRACT
In India diversity spreads across different geographic, cultural and social
dimensions. The present study is an endeavour to explore the variance in the
relationship midst ecology, policing and occupational stress in the police
commissionrates of two cities of eastern India. This is an exploratory study conducted
on police personnel of police commissionerates of two cities namely, Bhubaneswar
and Guwahati. The study is a humble attempt to compare the impact of physical
factors and non-physical factors as elements of stress in the lives of police personnel
across the two geographically diverse cities. Generally, police personnel have always
been subjected to extreme stress and strain relating to their work environment. Owing
to the erratic work schedule, the police have experienced stress in varied garbs. A
stressful work environment can be the result of poor salary, increasing workload, less
scope of professional development and excessive work hours which ultimately affects
policing. Further there is also a sense of guilt for neglecting private life. The
immediate effect is ailments or life style diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes,
obesity and lack of concentration. In this study, out of the two cities, one is developed
coupled with cosmopolitan culture, known as an educational hub, and has transitional
population. The other is a developing one, amidst hills, shares international borders,
and has an active tourism these factors affect policing. The experiences of
occupational stress in the physical environments is different in the two cities, whereas
in the non-physical environment the experiences are similar. Everything lies in the
discernment, if one recognizes the situation to be tricky they will definitely suffer from
the same. It is fact that either one reacts or responds.
Key words: Ecology, Environment, Occupational Stress, Police personnel and Policing
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Cite this Article: Deblina Majumder and Dr. Arpita Mitra, Impact of Ecology on
Occupational Stress: A Comparative Study on Policing in Two Cities of Eastern India,
International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology 10(3), 2019, pp.
660–672.
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1. INTRODUCTION
Policing is the way in which the police works to maintain formal social control. Society
expects police “to protect and serve the people” [1]. Work is an extremely important for most
of the people. It plays a principal role in the health of people in general and happiness in
particular. The working environment has a huge impact on the well-being, decision making
process, and life style of individuals. This has attracted the attention of many scholars and
researchers [2]. The level of occupational stress is on phenomenal rise. Stress tends to show
lower productivity, or people are said to be under strain. [3] For police like other human
beings, stress affects their health, further this calls upon the productivity of the individual at
workplace i.e. policing. The erratic work schedules, relationships, instability in finances build
up stress in an individual. Police service is a highly reputable profession yet a strenuous one.
The stress and strain experienced in the course of policing is due to the environment in which
the police live or work. The present study compares the effect of occupational stress on
policing due to physical and non-physical environmental factors of two geographically
diverse cities of eastern India. This study is undertaken on the police personnel of Guwahati
and Bhubaneswar.
2. CONCEPTUALISING ECOLOGY, POLICING, AND
OCCUPATIONAL STRESS
Environment is a wider term, and ecology is a part of environment since it refers to the
interaction. Ecology, policing and occupational stress have been conceptualised in the
following ways:
Ecology deals with the interrelationships between organisms and their environment. It is
derived from the Greek word Oikos, which significances house. [4] Ecology here refers to the
physical ecology and non-physical ecology. Altogether ecology plays an important role in
contributing stress in a person’s life style. Police personnel are humans, even they are victims
of stress.It is a study of the households of the planet earth. [5] It provides an insight into the
functioning and conditions of ecosystems. [6] Ecology is the study of the interactions between
organisms and their environment. [7] A fascinating discipline where everyone is interested in
understanding the surroundings. [8] To streamline, human ecology refers to the
interrelationship between human beings and their physical environment. Environment means
the surroundings or the conditions in which person, animal or plants live in. [9] There are two
factors which directly influence the ecology: the physical and non-physical.
Policing: Police is the agency of the state which looks after crime control and law
enforcement. Policing is a set of activities directed at preserving the security of the
people. This aspect of preserving social order is not absolute but restricted. It is the act of
the police to maintain law and order. [10] Policing as a process, or a mode of social control is
older than the police institution i.e. it was introduced much before police. [11]
Occupational Stress: Stress is ambiguous despite several research. In 1974 Selye has pointed
out that stress is a scientific concept, which has a relative connection with physics. Stress can
be perceived as forces or stimuli encroaching upon the individual, which may create demands
on him/her. [12] The operational area of stress for this study is limited to the organization the
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Impact of Ecology on Occupational Stress: A Comparative Study on Policing in Two Cities of Eastern India
police personnel are members of. Most of the times it is regarded as a gap between
expectation and reality.
Police is a significant arm of the criminal justice administration. The present police
system in India owes its actuality to the Indian Police Act of 1861 which is a result of the
blend of British and Mughal police system. [14] Detection and prevention of crime, arresting
culprits, maintaining law and order are some of the functions of the police. These functions
are performed in the society, keeping the characteristics of that very society in mind. Since
Police in India is under the State List (Entry No. 2) of the Constitution of India for which the
State Governments have over all control over police and policing.
3. APPRAISAL OF RELEVANT LITERATURE
Every society has different ways by which it monitors the activities of its members in order to
ensure a safe and secure environment to live in. apart from having informal social control by
family, peer groups, religion, society also initiates formal means of control. In this regard law
enforcement agencies like the police toil day and night to give us a sense of safety and
security. Not only from natural calamities but also from social catastrophe like crime and
disorganization.
3.1. Ecology, Police and Policing
During 20th Century, human ecology grew up hard upon the heels of the development of plant
and animal ecology. It has contributed much knowledge on man’s relationship to physical
environment which surrounds him [14]. Human ecology is that division of sociology which
studies the link between human community and its environment [15]. Ecology is really an
extension of economics to the whole world of life. In the community it analyses causal
relations and synchronised understanding of constructive and destructive measures. [16] Yet
ecology is distinctly a new product, an outgrowth of modern science. [17] The term ecology,
which was first introduced by Haeckel in 1867, was supposed to denote the study of the
influence of the physical and biological environments on the behaviour and development of
organisms. [18] It provides an insight into the functioning and conditions of ecosystems [19]
and also the relationships between microphysical environment and the behaviour of man [20].
Ecology is the study of the interactions between organisms and their environment
Police in the course of policing comes in interaction with the environment. As stated
earlier, environment is the genus and ecology the species. So the physical environment can be
subdivided into: the natural environment (places or topographical features) and built
environment (people’s modification of environments). The physical environment reins the
physiological functioning of the human body, the choice of occupations, the consumption
habits, the content of the mind, and all the many and kaleidoscopic systems of human
behaviour-political, religious, philosophical, scientific and so on [21].
Ecology can be of many types, habitat, auto-ecology, population ecology, community
ecology. This concept of ecology can also be construed as the environment within which an
individual is living and interacting. As far the police personnel are concerned, once they are
selected to be in the service, they start living a different life. Most of their time is being spent
while being on duty. Their life revolves around patrol, investigation and paperwork. The
police is considered to be the first line of defence between the perpetrators and the prospective
victims. This kind of life is stressful to its core. It is often found that police personnel are
rigid, authoritarian, and suspicious, bears an image of power and toughness. Sometimes the
expectations of the people towards police creates a lot of pressure on them. This in return
turns out to be a stressor.
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Police and policing are two different concepts, police has been derived from the word
politeia, which means every matter that affects the existence and welfare of the State
(polis).[22] It is considered to be a functionary of the state. The primary function is to
maintain law and order, prevention and detection of crime. Policing is referred as the manner
in which police exercises social control. Police are faced with a lot of dilemma; their character
requires that they adequately bring stability in the legal authority they have been given by the
public through the government, with their accountability to protect individual rights and add
to public safety. They have the authority to stop, detain, enquire, arrest, and also use deadly
physical might when necessary. Under the adage of community policing, police patrol
operations emphasises not only on enforcement activities but also on crime prevention while
addressing the root causes of crime and disorder. [23]
Police as a functionary of the criminal justice administration has a crucial role to play in
maintaining peace and enforcing the law and order within the jurisdiction assigned to it.
Police, in India, has come into existence in one form or another from the ancient times. The
reference of police has even been mentioned in mythological books like Ramayana and
Mahabharata. Manu, in his book Manu Smruti, gave emphasis to the need of a force which
would maintain law and order. The responsibility of the police is to maintain law and order, to
prevent and detect crime, investigation. This further includes all other duties like regular
patrolling, to look after internal security, to protect, preserve and promote human rights as
well. While performing all such duties police personnel suffer from police burn out. At the
end of the day one cannot ignore the fact that police, too is a human being.
3.2. Policing, Occupational Stress and its implications
Stress is a normal phenomenon in everyone’s life. It is the way in which the body responds to
threats and demands [24]. Occupational stress circumstances are those in which features of, or
events linked to, the workplace lead to a person’s ill health or welfare. These environmental
job conditions are often labelled stressors, and the employees’ reactions have been labelled
strains. [25]
In studies relating to policemen and their lives it has been found out that the family life of
policemen warrant more attention than they generally receive. A heavy toll is demanded from
the spouses (especially wives of the policemen), their children and their relatives by the
stressful facets of police work. Prolong nagging of family members, the disrupting effects of
unbalanced work pattern on family centred activities, promiscuity, school and other
adjustment difficulties among their children are a heavy price levied by the police kinfolk.
Changing work schedules, passionate enervation, deleterious public image, over protecting
the “better half” and kinfolk, inurement of emotions, and identity problems are inherent in the
career of law enforcement. Strife in marriage and family, coupled with discord and unresolved
emotional glitches may create a negative influence on the effective performance of police
personnel. It has also been observed that problems and frustrations relating to office are often
carried home. Conversely a displeased life at home can negatively affect the development and
motivation to work better and deal well with public. Stress experienced by their significant
other is a concern in itself since a stressful environment at home can adversely affect police
personnel’s job performance. Also conditions, situations, or incidents that may not distress the
officers themselves or that they may even like (such as shift work or undercover work)-can
mean unembellished problems for their families.
The social environment or ecology of a human being is influenced by two broad factors,
namely work related factors and individual factors. The work related factors are mostly the
ones which are influenced at the environment in which the person works, i.e. the operational
environment which includes poor management, poor salary, insufficient or broken equipment,
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excessive over time, frequent rotating shifts, and regular changes in duties as the major
contributors of stressors. The individual factors are the ones which the individual experiences
outside the work environment. It embraces family and relation problems; financial or
economic problems, and health issues.[26] Although financial or economic problems are
mostly arising out of poor salary of an individual but this generally creates frustration among
the individuals which might lead to corrupt practices in police personnel particularly.
Police personnel experience stress for several other reasons apart from the ones mentioned
above. Stressors present at the operational environment can be more like a constant exposure
of the police to people suffering from distress and pain; there is a continuous fear of officer’s
safety, security and health; the concern to protect the lives of the citizens and to maintain law
and order; keep a persistent control over emotions even when provoked innumerable times.
4. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The study has dual objectives:

To compare occupational stress experienced due to physical ecology factors in policing two
diverse cities.

To compare occupational stress experienced due to non-physical ecology factors in policing
two diverse cities.
5. THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE ON ECOLOGY, OCCUPATIONAL
STRESS AND POLICING
Lazarus Theory has been taken as reference while discussing stress in the lives of the police
personnel with respect to the operating environment and the environment at home. Richard
Lazarus, the profounder, has said that stress is a reciprocal process; it includes the creation of
stressors by the environment, and also the reaction of a person who is exposed to these
stressors. This brought about the theory of cognitive appraisal. He highlighted on the fact that
it is individual’s awareness about the stressors in his environment that generates the stress in
him. It is more psychological than physical. It is neither the environmental event nor the
individual’s response which defines stress, but the person’s perception of the psychological
condition which is the critical factor. Lazarus meant that the effects that stress has on an
individual is grounded further on that person’s feelings of risks, vulnerability and capability to
cope than on the stressful event itself. He describes psychological stress as a "particular
relationship between the person and environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or
beyond his or her resources and imperilling his or her wellbeing." Primary Appraisal - When
we decide if a situation is threatening or positive, relevant or irrelevant to our situation. There
are three things needing to be evaluated, is it the danger significant to that person, or an
optimistic encounter, or intimidating/injurious/stimulating/threatening.
If a person decides that the condition is intimidating the following may arise: rage, injury,
illness, anxiety, disgust, disappointment, a fear response, a challenge or anticipation.
Secondary Appraisal - When one measures what resources are accessible to one to help
combat or cope with the stressor. He may choose to utilise his inner options like inner
strength, inner strength, or exterior options: peers, professional help. The theoretical and
empirical literature proposes that occupational stress is not a characteristic of either
environment or individual, but is the result of the interaction of these two main categories.
Lazarus (1971) accentuated that it is an individual's sensitivity of a situation, referred to as the
"cognitive appraisal," that describes that situation as stressful: the individual's response
depends on the appraisal. The appraisal may conclude the result to be harmful, disgusting or
challenging [27].
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The police culture is such that the police personnel are always surrounded by threats,
negativity, fear of loss of life, long hours of work, low remuneration, etc. in short, a
monotonous life with a thankless job. These build up stress while they perform policing.
6. METHODOLOGICAL ORIENTATION
This study is an exploratory study which involves multi-method which includes face to face
interview technique, narrative technique. The area of research is Bhubaneswar and Guwahati.
Both the cities have Police Commissioner System. Assam has Police Commissionarate in
Guwahati, and Odisha has it in Bhubaneswar. The sample unit consists of two groups of
people, 25 police personnel with an equal division from both the cities of Bhubaneswar and
Guwahati. To undertake the said empirical research non-probability sampling technique has
been used to determine the respondents, especially judgmental or purposive sampling
technique, quota sampling and snowballing. The primary data was collected using a hardcopy questionnaires with primarily open ended as well as close-ended questions. Respondents
have been randomly identified. Secondary mode of data collection is books, journals, BPRD,
NCRB reports, important websites, newspapers and internet resources.
6.1. Sample at a Glance
Table 1.1 introduces the demographic profile of the samples
Category
Bhubaneswar
Male: 92%
Female: 08%
Age
30-40years :
24%
41-50 years:
64%
Above 50 years : 12%
Marital Status
All are married.
Educational Qualification Graduates: 72%
Post Graduates:28%
Post
Inspector: 84%
Sub-inspector: 16%
Guwahati
Male: 88%
Female: 12%
30-40 years:
28%
41-50 years:
12%
Above 50years: 60%
All are married.
Graduates: 92%
Post Graduates: 08%
Inspector: 76%
Sub-inspector: 24%
Income
Less than Rs. 60,000 p.m. : 88%
More than Rs. 60,000 p.m.: 12%
Sex
Less than Rs. 60,000 p.m. : 84%
More than Rs. 60,000 p.m.: 16%
7. SUMMARISING THEORY WITH FINDINGS
Occupational stress can be due to the physical environment per se which includes: excessive
overtime and frequent rotating shifts, political environment, financial environment and
deprivation other benefits, ever changing technology/methods of policing. The non-physical
environmental factors include: family and relation problems, financial problems and health
issues. To analyse the working environment and the effect of stress on policing the following
parameters have been taken into consideration:
7.1. Physical Environment
The most important routine work of a police personnel is to go on beat or patrol duty. This is
the phase of a police personnel’s work which requires initiative, courage and responsibility
[28]. There is a mixed feeling of the likelihood of facing danger and at the same time the
feeling of relishing the excitement when a police personnel goes on patrolling [29].
Sometimes these excitements may not turn to be a positive one. The fear of facing danger
takes the shape of stressors.
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Bhubaneswar City is a neatly-planned city, well lit and with broad roads. The experiences
of policing is far better in Bhubaneswar than in Guwahati. Guwahati on the other hand, is a
developing city which has narrower roads, plenty of narrow bye-lanes, street hawkers make
certain zones look like honey bee hovering around the hive. Keeping a vigil on every nook
and corner requires more effort. Guwahati is a congested, clumsy city with poor traffic
management. During rains, Police Stations like Geetanagar gets water clogged. Performing
patrolling is a challenge in Guwahati. Especially driving the patrolling vehicles up the hilly
terrains is a Herculean task during monsoons. One cannot ignore the scotching heat of
Bhubaneswar. Taking a ride across the streets in the months of May-June, for regular
patrolling, at 12 in the noon is like visiting a sauna centre.
7.1.1. Excessive Overtime and Frequent Rotating Shifts
In Bhubaneswar, the presence of more number of police personnel divides the load. So stress
the less in comparison to Guwahati. Off late, very less number of people are getting into
police service in Guwahati. One of the reasons behind poor or nil motivation could be because
of insurgency. Guwahati (capital of Assam) has many illegal immigrants and many instances
of terrorist activities. The rotation duty is more in certain police stations were the man-power
is less. Moreover, the prospects of promotion in the city of Guwahati is very slow. At the
present moment there is a stagnancy in the posts. So the level of frustration is more among the
police personnel in Guwahati.
7.1.2. Political Environment
Politics also has noteworthy impact over personal and organisational performance,
specifically through political and bureaucratic heads working within their specific
environment. Politicians practise power which is “the ability to influence the behaviours of
others and persuade them to do things they would not otherwise do... and to resist unwanted
influence in return”[30] Political interference is in both the cities are more or less similar.
Assam right now is being ruled by the same government as that in the central. This raises a
pertinent question, is the opinion regarding demonetization of the respondents made honestly
then? Empirically saying, 64% of the respondents of Bhubaneswar opined that this strategy
did not have any effect on crime. The respondents of Guwahati have just the opposite notion.
Only 84% of the respondents say that de-monetization has no effect on the rate of crime. 44%
of the respondents said that there is no political interference in policing in Bhubaneswar. 40%
of the respondents in Guwahati say that there is no political intrusion in Guwahati. For
instance, new policies of the central government, like de-monetization.
Transfer of police personnel is yet another manner in which the political parties control
policing. The arrival of the Model Police Act, 2006, guidelines on transfer have been issued.
The tenure has been fixed. But the fact that they can be transferred to interior zones is still a
fear. There is no direct interference of the political parties on policing. Once in a while a
request is nothing unusual on the part of the respondents. An intrusion on one’s freedom to
work creates a pressure on them. Doing something against ones’ conscientious is one kind of
stressor. After all, not all requests can be complied with. Individuals high on
conscientiousness tend to be organised, reliable. They will be a hardworking, determined and
self-disciplined (Costa, P. T. & McCrae, R. R. 1992).
There has been so many instances across the country, in 2016 there was political
intervention in policing in Birbhum district in West Bengal as reported on 7th January, 2016 in
The Times of India in an article “'Political pressure' demoralises police”. In yet another article
titled “Cops acting under political pressure: accused’s kin” published in The Hindu reported
on 7th June, 2017, where the influence of political pressure on cops have been vividly
described. Soon on 20th June, 2017 there was one more news reported by the Hindustan Times
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that a particular police officer of Odisha was transferred on the recommendation of a high
profile political leader.
7.1.3. Financial Environment and deprivation of other benefits
The income of an individual increases with the experience in service. The remuneration in
Bhubaneswar is better than that in Guwahati. 76% of the respondents in Bhubaneswar and
68% of them in Guwahati receive a monthly income of ₹40,001-60,000 and 16% have drawn
a salary of ₹60,000 above. The salary depends on the designations well as number of years of
service put in by the officer. Income through remuneration is found to be unfair compared to
the hours put in the work. In police service salary has not been performance based but
experience, though most of the officers are working day in and day out even then their salary
is based upon their rank, grade and experience. The zest, zeal, enthusiasm in the police
personnel of Guwahati is very less in comparison to that of Bhubaneswar. Policing is more
effective in Bhubaneswar than Guwahati. The respondents from both the cities have opined
that there is a relationship between salary and performance. They believe the more time they
invest, the more emoluments they should receive. The feeling of dissatisfaction is experienced
by all the respondents. The respondents in Guwahati are even more dissatisfied because they
have not received quarters. In the process of stitching the coat according to the cloth they have
rented houses far away for their police stations. As it is they do not get time to spend with
their families, on top of that if they are not given proper housing facilities from the
government elevates dissatisfaction. These sorts of dissatisfaction contributes
7.1.4. Ever changing technology/methods of policing
Policing has undergone metamorphosis. There has been an unprecedented increase in
technology. In that tune, the respondents of Guwahati did express their inferiority. They said
that the prospects of Off-the-job-training is very less in the North-east. Even when they go to
other institutes of the country they find other well-read and informed than them. This brings
in them inferiority.
7.2. Non-Physical Environmental Factors and Occupational Stress
7.2.1. Family and Relation Problems
In Bhubaneswar, 88% of the police personnel agree that it is difficult to cope up with stress at
home and at work place. 12% disagreed saying that there is no stress at home. One of the
respondents was gleeful to talk about the ever-adjusting wife he has got. He was even
thankful to have got such a partner for life who is so accommodative, hence he feels that there
is no difficulty in dealing with stress at home and work place.
In Guwahati, 90% of the respondents said that it is very difficult to cope with stress at
home and at work place. One of the respondents was upset on the day when the face to face
interview was being undertaken, he said “I cannot concentrate much on today’s interview as
my mind is pre-occupied, my wife fell down from the stairs, she has broken her leg since it
has swelled up, this morning and my kids are too small to take care of her. There is no one in
the family to even cook. So I can feel the stress of managing home and work place a lot
today.”
10% disagreed and said that “If one can compartmentalize time for the two spaces, then
managing stress isn’t a uphill task. Moreover I do not carry my office to home or vice-versa.
When I am at hoe I give the utmost time to my family and when I am on duty I avoid thinking
about family.”
As far as the siblings are concerned, thanks to social media like Whatsapp which has kept
them connected. Lazarus has been emphasising on the point that stress is totally
psychological. It is the appraisal of the situation that creates the stress. The number of
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respondents altogether is less in both the cities who have deftly dealt with occupational stress.
It is fact that either you react or you respond. Most of us react to the stressors and invite
trouble for ourselves. Instead of reacting, if one responds to the situation keeping a positive
attitude, one can overcome stress.
7.2.2. Financial Problems
In Bhubaneswar, 80% of the respondents have dependents and 80% do not have dependents.
Mostly their children and aged parents are taken as dependents in this question. On the
contrary, 96% of the respondents have dependents and 4% do not have any dependents. The
number of family members those are dependent on the respondents are four to five, mostly
including their aged parents, spouses, children, and in rare circumstances their siblings are
dependent on them. In comparison to the emoluments received by the police personnel of
Bhubaneswar, the police personnel of Guwahati receive a far less pay package. This kind of
disparity is the most likely outcome of the fact that police is under the State list of the
Constitution, the state is the deciding authority. To have dependents at home, and where most
of the respondents are sole earning members, this creates frustration among the respondents.
Sometimes it results in corruption in police personnel.
Moreover whatever the police personnel are earning, ultimately they spend it on their
family. Offering them easy access to loan so that they could have a house of themselves could
have been adopted.
All the respondents (100%) of both the cities said that they carry with them a guilt. Hardly
do they get time to spend for themselves. Often they neglect their family. One of the
respondents of Bhubaneswar said that her son is a toddler right now. She is thankful that her
in-laws help in babysitting the child. She laments for not being a part of the child’s growing
age. “when I reach home I find him sleeping, even when I leave for Police station is fast
asleep I miss seeing him grow.” These sought of pangs is nothing but stressors.
Inadequate or low level of salary [31]; dearth of personal recognition, and frustration of
goals [32], insufficient reward or reinforcement [33] have been reported as elements of
stressors which affects the performance of a police personnel [34]. 88% of the respondents
said that there is a relation between salary and performance and 12% said that there is no
relation at all. These inadequate remuneration situations of the public servants have compelled
them to pay little or sometimes no attention to their tasks and duties. They have spent more
time and effort in gaining other sources of income including venality in other occupations.
Also, they may have purposely reduced their performance effort or felt that low pay meant
poor performance [35]. Most of the respondents of both the cities are suffering from high
blood pressure, diabetes, obesity. The dedication for work is their but police personnel do not
give their heart and soul all the time.
8. CONCLUSIONS
A lot of study has been conducted to investigate the experiences of stress in other professions.
There has been a considerable amount of work done on police work and occupational stress.
But in relation to India, specifically the Eastern States of India there has been a dearth of
empirical study. The current study has utilised data from face to face interview conducted on
the police personnel of the metropolitan cities. The study has dual objectives to explore the
physical environment and the stress experienced by the police personnel. To delve into sociocultural environment and stress that the police personnel strife in their day to day life. The
police personnel experience occupational stress every day.
Occupational stress may arise due to physical and non-physical factors. The Physical
Ecology of an area refers to the topographical or geographical set up of that area. It also
includes the aspect of climate as well. Policing is a wide concept. It includes both, formal
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Deblina Majumder and Dr. Arpita Mitra
policing as well as informal policing. The experiences of occupational stress while performing
patrolling duties differs. Owing to the geographical aspect in general, performing patrolling is
easier in Bhubaneswar than in Guwahati. From the seasonal side, policing is more challenging
in Bhubaneswar during summers and in Guwahati during winters.
Stress in everyday life is a result of working more than the body’s capability. Owing to
the inadequacy in the number of police personnel, police personnel tend to experience
occupational stress during policing. Political environment refers to the government actions
which affect the system. The political environment consists of the state, the government and
its institutions, legislations, etc. The term is frequently used in relation to organizations.
Police can be regarded as an organization since it is formed by a group of people with a
definite purpose or goal. It has a hierarchy as well. Police personnel sometimes experience
stress because of the political environment they work in. Occupational stress can be because
of the financial or economic environment too. This includes both the earnings of the
individual and how well he manages his expenditures by equally satisfying his family. The
financial environment is absolutely a grey area which includes the socio-cultural ecological
aspect. On some occasions, technological environment too challenges the abilities of an
individual. Policing involves use of lot of technology. The inability to handle the same due to
lack of training and being equipped with the state-of-the-art affairs invites feelings of
inferiority among them which affects the performance.
As far as the non-physical factors are concerned, the most important factor is family. The
occupational stress remains the same in both the cities. A family can act as strength and
weakness for an individual at the same time. It is a fact that police personnel have to
compromise a lot with their personal life, it is a test of patience for the family even. Days
together the children are deprived of their parent’s attention and company, sometimes the
spouses bear with it ungrudgingly but in some situations it is difficult to cope up. Financial
problems arising out of the socio-cultural environment can contribute to stress even. The
inability to give time to manage ancestral undivided property, failure to cater to the needs
owing to the low salary and absence of perks and other fringe benefits also contributes to
stress. A person’s micro-level environment is his own self. Occupational stress’ most
vulnerable and immediate target is the police personnel himself, his physical and mental wellbeing. There is a saying by Epictetus, “Men are disturbed not by things but by the views
which they take of things”. Everything lies in the mind. A peaceful mind shall always lead to
dedication, devotion and due-diligence towards policing.
Shakespeare has reflected his thought in Hamlet that “there is nothing either good or bad,
but thinking makes it so.” So does Lazarus, he has been emphasising on the point that stress is
completely psychological. It is the appraisal of the situation that creates the stress. The
number of respondents, although less in both the cities, have deftly dealt with occupational
stress. It is fact that either you react or you respond. Most of us react to the stressors and
invite trouble for ourselves. Instead of reacting, if one responds to the situation keeping a
positive attitude, one can overcome stress.
Everything lies in the perception, if one perceives the situation to be problematic they will
definitely suffer from the same. A positive and holistic approach towards life is the need of
the hour for the police personnel.
There are different ways of coping with stress. Taking breaks in the middle to take walks,
frequent meditation, watching inspirational videos of Sadhguru, Gour Gopal Das; hitting the
gym whenever they get time; practising yogasana will enable them to cope up with stress. It is
really disheartening to see that the people’s protector does not get any protection for
themselves. What the police personnel need right now is a holistic well-being. Just by paying
the police salary, perks, and medical reimbursements is not enough. The State Governments
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Impact of Ecology on Occupational Stress: A Comparative Study on Policing in Two Cities of Eastern India
must take initiatives of setting up infrastructure, like gym, they can also engage yoga sessions
once/twice a week for the police so that they can train themselves both mentally and
physically.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
At the very outset of the paper, I would like to thank my Supervisor, Dr. Arpita Mitra who is
my mentor, my friend, my guide and my support system. I extent my heartfelt thanks to my
Mother, Late Dr. Joba Majumder, my father, Mr. Bamdeb Majumder for nurturing me the
way I am. Lastly I place my work before the lotus feet of Maa Dakhinkali and Sai Baba for
blessing me all throughout.
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