Impact of Occupational Stress on Employee Engagement

14 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2015

Date Written: December 7, 2015


Occupational stress is unavoidable in organisations today. It is a personal experience resulting from noxious aspects of work content, work organisation and the work environment where an individual reacts emotionally, cognitively, behaviourally and psychologically. Excessive levels of occupational stress causes fatigue, anxiety, depression and social withdrawal and disengages employees from work. Employee engagement is the individual’s involvement and satisfaction with as well as enthusiasm for work. Engagement occurs when individuals are emotionally connected to others and cognitively vigilant. An engaged employee is found to be committed to her/his organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to its success and are able to enhance their own sense of well-being. Existing literature suggests a negative relationship between occupational stress and employee engagement. However, an acceptable level of stress is identified to improve individual’s performance. Therefore, this conceptual paper argues that the relationship between occupational stress and employee engagement is not a negative linear, but an inverted ‘U’ relationship. Accordingly, it suggests that maintaining an optimal level of occupational stress can result in a higher level of employee engagement. The paper also presents implications for theory and practice.

Keywords: Occupational Stress, Employee Engagement, Inverted ‘U’ Relationship

JEL Classification: M51

Suggested Citation

Simon, Nishanthini and Amarakoon, Upamali Asanka, Impact of Occupational Stress on Employee Engagement (December 7, 2015). 12th International Conference on Business Management (ICBM) 2015, Available at SSRN: or

Nishanthini Simon (Contact Author)

University of Kelaniya ( email )

Sri Lanka
Kelaniya, Western 11600
Sri Lanka

Upamali Asanka Amarakoon

University of Kelaniya ( email )

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