Corporate Responsibility for Systemic Occupational Stress Prevention
The purpose of this paper is twofold: to highlight the increased focus on corporate governance responsibility for managing employees’ psychological health, and to present an argument for a systemic approach to prevention of occupational stress. The paper commences with a brief description of the problem posed by occupational stress as a threat to organisational effectiveness. It then discusses the types of currently observed organisational responses to this issue and the extent to which they are shaped by beliefs about occupational stress. There are two fundamental approaches to dealing with work stress, one aimed at the individual and the other, at the organisation. The more comprehensive approaches have been increasingly reported to be more effective. The argument for a systemic approach to its prevention is then developed, in line with the risk management framework currently being adopted by Government jurisdictions governing Occupational Health and Safety in Australia and New Zealand. As the stress issue is now couched in health and safety terms, it is a moral and legal duty of the Board to satisfy itself that it is effectively addressed.
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