A study by the National Institute for occupational Safety and Health in 1999 showed that twenty-three percent of female and 19 recent of male executives in the world claimed to be feeling “stressed” at work. Having a leadership role increases the level of stress for these executives. Job responsibilities, performance pressure and decision making, as well as relationship building and dealing with conflicts are the most frequent demands contributing to a high level of stress for the senior executives.
Leadership demands that take time away from the executives’ primary Job responsibilities are another source of stress. These demands include long or frequent meetings, having to manage limited resources arising from downsizing and edged cuts, having to navigate organizational bureaucracies, etc. Many senior executives are also finding physical demands such as frequent traveling, irregular work hours and the work environment compounding their levels of stress.
Work-family conflicts Is another factor that significantly contributed to the experience of overall work stress, more so in a dual-income family structure. The executive and his spouse have to deal with critical points In the family life cycle (particularly birth of a child), in the career life cycle (role enlargement or contraction) of either partner, ND in the life space of their children (egg. Illness, academic performances, etc. ) In recent years, the repercussions of the global financial crisis continue to affect business operations.
As such, senior executives face even more challenges at work due to the need to manage the external market risks such as excessive government austerity drives, recessionary pressure, volatilities in material prices and exchange rates, etc. These executives also face unemployment risks arising from organizational restructuring and market uncertainties. The perception of a senior executive is someone who Is an over-achiever, career cussed, self-confident, in control and carrying significant responsibilities.
Successful senior executives are also thought to be people who are competitive therefore feel the need to portray such a “successful” image to the outside world. 2. FEATURES OF MIDDLE-AGED SENIOR MALE EXECUTIVES IN SINGAPORE The workplace environment in Singapore is a tough and demanding one. Workers, especially the senior executives, place career as one of the top priorities in their lives and often make personal sacrifices for Job advancements. Moreover, senior executives are under constant pressure to reduce manpower cost, improve radioactivity and profit margins in the light of increasing manpower and rental costs in Singapore.
According to a research done by Regis, the world’s leading provider of serviced office accommodation, in 2012, work is the main source of stress for workers in Asia Pacific. In Singapore, 63% of the respondents replied that work is the primary trigger of stress in their lives. Earlier in the 2007 International Business Report published by Grant Thornton (the world’s sixth largest professional accounting firm), Singapore was ranked 4th in the stress league table in Asia with 69% (7 out of 10) of the respondents indicated feeling ore stressed compared to a year ago. Globally Singapore was in the 6th position.
A research done by a group of sociologists from the National University of Singapore (Chain, Alai, OK and Obey, 2000) showed that workers’ experiences in the workplace are influenced not only by individual personality and Job nature, but also by structural forces shaping the profession, the social organization of work institutions and the development of the economy. The results of the survey also showed that Singapore managers suffered “most of their stress at work from an inability to transmit their wan ambitious aspirations or skills to those below and above them”.
Similarly, a survey in several countries by “International Management” (Cooper and Arbors, 1984) found that managers working in a climate of rapid social, technological and economic change (e. G. , in Brazil, Singapore, etc. ) showed a higher incidence of stress symptoms and disorder than managers in highly industrialized counties like the U. K. And the U. S. A. Although the survey by International Management was done decades ago, the same observations would still apply given that Singapore is continuously undergoing arioso transformational changes in its economic landscape and manpower policies.
In the last few years, the government policies of attracting foreign talents caused a large inflow of overseas executives into Singapore and therefore creating competition for mid-aged professionals who are occupying senior executive positions. Another contributing factor to the stress level can be attributed to the government policies favoring the naturalization of many high net worth individuals here for the growing number of millionaires and consequently led to higher cost of living.
Due to the small geographical size of Singapore, many senior executives in Singapore typically manage multi-location offices and assume a regional management role function. The need to make frequent overseas business trips takes time away from the family and office, thereby exacerbating the stress level of these executives. The workplace in Singapore is more demanding than in the United States. For example, Hill (2007) found that two thirds of couples in Singapore were dual-earner families. Men work an average of 51 her/week and women work an average of 48 her. ‘ week, more than in many developed countries.
In most households, both spouses work full time. Furthermore, regardless of long work hours, only 13% of Singapore report having flexibility in work schedules, compared with 38% in the United States (2007). Singapore offers a unique situation because of the rigid schedules and unique family dynamics embedded within a collectivist culture. Richardson and Tang (1986) noted that the three strong pressures on Singapore managers are accountability, office politics and role conflict. In addition, “overload” and “bureaucracy” are high on both pressures lists of U. K. And Singapore but are more intense in Singapore.
Thus it seems that Singapore managers are under greater pressure that their British counterparts. Bureaucracy was identified as one of five strongest pressures on Singapore managers, and guanos (quasi-autonomous national government organizations, or commonly known as government-linked companies) are considered to be more bureaucratic than the multinational companies. Another unique feature in Singapore is that most well educated couples here adopt dual-career lifestyles. The dual-career lifestyle has created a unique set of challenges, many of which relate to colonization and role expectations, work role inflicts, and family role conflicts.
The home environment is a special challenge to the dual-career couple as two people try to meet the demands of careers and build a family life together. Maintaining a home and a family can tax even the most committed and energetic marriage partners. For most middle-aged senior executives, their kids are likely to be school-going age. The educational system in Singapore is widely considered to be demanding, competitive and inflexible arising from over-emphasis on exams and grades.
A major consequence of a single-minded focus on examinations is stress, in particular, stress elated to competition and high stake examinations such as the Primary School Leaving Examination. The stress is felt by not only the students but parents. Some parents, including the fathers, take leave during the examination period to help their children prepare for the school examinations. Many parents see entry into top schools as critical to their children’s future, and spend significantly on tuition. Others spend significant amount of time coaching their children to ensure that they do well academically.
All these factors contribute to additional stress in the home environment of the senior executives. . ISSUES AND CHALLENGES According to Elevations (1986), men in the age group of 40-45 go through mid-life transition. Research indicates that the character of living always changes appreciably between early and middle adulthood (Holt, 1980; Goode, 1980; Elevations, 1978, 1984). The process of change begins in the mid-life transition (though the forms and degree of change vary enormously) and continues throughout the era. There are two important processes that affect the ‘mid-life’ group.
Firstly, there is the internal developmental process of individuation that is particularly crucial at this life tags, and secondly there are the external changes, sometimes forced upon individuals such as redundancy during mid-life years. These factors combine to make mid life an especially interesting and important period for those concerned with occupational choice and career development. Carl Jung was the first to recognizes that individuation occurs and is sorely needed, at mid-life and beyond (Elevations, 1978, p. 33).
Jung (1978) used the term ‘individuation’ to denote a developmental process whereby a person becomes more uniquely individual. By acquiring a clearer and fuller identity of his own, he becomes better blew to utilize his inner resources and pursue his own aims. To the extent that this occurs, the person generates new levels of awareness, meaning and understanding, and he can become more compassionate, more reflective and Judicious, less tyrannies by inner conflicts and external demands, and more genuinely loving of himself and others.
It is therefore a common phenomenon during mid-life transition that many people realize life may be more than halfway over and therefore wrestle with questions of life-purpose, loss of youth, physical inadequacy, mortality, leaving a legacy and sense of accomplishment, Just to name a few. This observation can be supported by research done by various people including Elevations, Drown, Klein, Elevations, and McKee (1974). During a four year study of the lives of 40 middle-aged men, they found their subjects shared common concerns.
Among these were anxieties over aging and death, a questioning of the meaning of their lives, and a need for affirmation of themselves by society through success in their careers. The men also underwent a common experience of taking stock of their lives, of realizing and accepting the disparity between their early life goals and their present achievements. Finally, around age 45, they entered a new stage of stability and began to emphasize those things in their lives which were fulfilling and became responses to a questionnaire from over 1000 teachers and other employees of a school district.
They discovered that individuals in their early forties shared a general feeling of dissatisfaction with life and exhibited a marked drop in self-concept which revived again in the late forties. It is important for those entering their middle years to negotiate the mid-life stage properly in order to avoid the crisis it may contain. Otherwise, a mid-life crisis, which s experienced by many people during the mid-life transition, can happen. Sometimes, events such as unemployment or underemployment, realizing that a Job or career is causing significant disruptions to work-life balance, etc. Loud also trigger a mid-life crisis. It is therefore common to hear of a senior executive who left, what from the outside, seemed like a great career in the corporate world. A “high potential” executive, who seemed to have great career advancement opportunities and new Job assignments that most people dream of – only to leave it behind, for what seems like at the very least “a road less traveled. In a study by Herbert, Amuser, & Snyder (1959) on mid-life career changers, it was found that the common reasons for career change was in the realm of intrinsic work motivation.
A near majority of the respondents in the study (48%) indicated that “a better fit of values and work” was a very important motivation for change (an additional 21% said it was of some importance), and a slight majority in the sample (53%) said that “more meaningful work,” was a very important factor for them, with an additional 23% indicating this was of some importance. Accumulated research and experience suggest a few characteristics of mid-life transition. One of these is depression, a common state in those undergoing a major transition.
Hops describes the state as “feelings of powerlessness, of aspects of life out of one’s control. This is often made worse by the fear of loss of control over one’s own emotions” (Hops 1982, p. 21). The failure to come to grips with the mid-life transition implies an “impoverishment of emotional life”. This may eventually lead to real character deterioration. The mid-life transition is the entry to the last half of life through which all must pass. Successfully negotiated, the transition can lead to a long period of fulfilling life that is OTOH stable and productive.
An unsuccessful effort, alternatively, can lead to a frustrating life of turmoil and despair. 4. CONCLUSION Senior executives are subject to a lot of stresses that are mentally demanding. Not only do they have to cope with work pressure, they have to manage the home and maintain their marriages. For senior executives undergoing a mid-life transition, a career developmental stage may occur. During that stage, one of the most pressing questions in the mid-career The number of people making major career changes had risen significantly over the last decade and is expected to grow further.