Stress Management

3984 Words Dec 28th, 2005 16 Pages
Organizational Behaviour

What evidence is there to support the view that the incidence of work-related stress increased dramatically in Australian organisations during the 1990s and early 2000s? Should employers be made responsible for dealing with the negative effects of work- related stress on their employees? If so how could they do this?

Prepared for: Nick Foster

Udam Wickremaratne

Occupational stress is a major news item, which has captured numerous headlines across the industrialized world and rightly so. Stress is reported to cost employers US$120 Billion p.a. in North America and Europe, 200 million lost production days in the US and the European Union spends approximately 4% of GNP on mental health
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Based on ACTU data, stress claims in the NSW public sector grew tremendously from 1990 to 1994, accounting for a 400% increase in number claims. (ACTU Stress at Work - Not What We Bargained For, 1997)
In light of this increase, legislative changes were sought to address the spike of stress related claims. These changes had an impact on claims by reducing the number reported with Comcare during the late 1990's however, it has been recently reported that there has been an increase since late 2002 (Michael P, The Sunday Morning Herald, 21st June 2004)
Excessive workloads, near impossible deadlines and the increasing nature for 24/7 availability, employees are required to spend long hours in the office. This growing trend is also supported in the study conducted at the Victorian University of Technology's Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (cited in Foster & Steel 2002), which reported 206% increase in the number of people working 60hrs or more over the period on 1978 to 1995.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003), reported that approximately 1.7M Australians worked 50 hours or more per week, twice as many as in 1982 with a 30% (The Labour Force 1990; The Labour Force 1999) increase in the number of persons working 40 hours or more between 1990 and 1999.

The report (ABS 2003) further stated that the trend towards longer working hours was ‘relatively uncommon' among other OECD countries. In Japan, which is known for its long working hours, recorded

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