Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The “Management Standards” for stress in large organizations

an article by Nadine Mellor and Phoebe Smith (Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), Buxton, UK) and Colin Mackay and David Palferman (Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Bootle, UK) published in International Journal of Workplace Health Management Volume 6 Issue 1 (2013)


In Great Britain, the ‘”Management Standards” were launched in 2004 and formally published in 2007 by the Health and Safety Executive to help organisations manage work-related stress. The purpose of this paper is to examine how these Standards are translated into organisational practice.

The research uses case studies carried out in five large organisations drawn from the public and private sectors in Great Britain.

Senior management commitment and worker participation are key to managing work-related stress and are commonly reported across organisations, although to variable form and depth. The solution chosen to identify stress issues is a short assessment of all staff via annual staff surveys, coupled with in-depth assessments of groups at risk. Common practice also includes combining individual and organisational interventions. One significant challenge emerges as the translation from identified stress issues to focussed interventions and their evaluation.

Research limitations/implications
The implementation processes outlined in this study are by no means exhaustive due to the small sample size but are consistent with previous research.

Practical implications
The findings suggest that the HSE Management Standards approach for dealing with stress issues is do-able. Refining the information in the HSE guidance on implementing and evaluating interventions and broadening the current focus on organisation-level interventions is needed.

Publication of case studies of the implementation of the Management Standards has been limited. This paper illustrates the efforts made by large organisations to integrate national guidance on stress and this could be used for guiding and improving stress management in similar work settings.

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