Managers Managing Stress at Work: Exploring the experiences of managers managing employee stress in the social housing sector
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThis research has explored how seventeen middle managers in the social housing sector manage employee stress and the reasons they take the approach they do. The research has been conducted in response to the increased prevalence of workplace stress. While workplace stress and mental well-being continues to rise up the political and business agenda; the most recent statistics from national and international organisations identify that the management of stress in the workplace needs to be improved. Workplace stress is a global issue for which the related direct and indirect costs are only beginning to be quantified, although the estimated cost of work-related depression in Europe is €617 billion per year. Furthermore, there is a trend towards devolving responsibility for managing workplace stress to individual managers. Despite their increasing responsibilities for managing stress at work, middle managers often lack the authority, skills and capacity to make the changes required to prevent workplace stress. Evidence suggests that middle managers are in a complex and challenging position between their superiors and more junior staff which can exposes them to role related stressors. The United Kingdom (UK) social housing sector is a particularly complex and vital one, comprising of a variety of private, public and charitable enterprises that build, manage and maintain housing stock. The complexities, political and financial challenges facing the sector expose middle managers and their staff to an increased risk of work-related stress. This study adopted a constructivist philosophy, relativist ontology and subjectivist epistemological position. Semi structured interviews were conducted with seventeen middle managers working in the social housing sector in an attempt to explore and better understand how they approach managing work-related stress experienced by the employees. The findings of this study are that, in contrast to what the extant literature recommends, participants adopt predominantly reactive approaches to managing employee stress and deploy mostly secondary and tertiary stress management interventions. The study also found that the participants tend to focus on managing stress caused by workload, relationships at work and home-work interface. Furthermore, this study contributes new insights into how middle managers are managing stress in practice such as, using their personal experiences of managing their own stress and by observing the behaviours and practices of other managers. This study also highlights a number of contemporary stressors in the context of the social housing sector. These contributions provide new practical insights into how middle managers might more effectively manage stress in the workplace. The need and focus of this research arose from the researcher’s practice as an occupational health and safety consultant working with social housing providers across the UK. His work involves advising housing providers and their middle managers on matters of employee stress and health. Often this advice is sought when the employee is already unwell and needs help to recover. This reactive approach to workplace stress is contrary to what UK health and safety (H&S) law requires and is known to be ineffective in tackling stress at work. The researcher’s professional experience in the housing sector and the trend in devolving responsibility for managing stress at work to middle managers, provided the initial spark for this research.
CitationParkyn, M. (2019). Managers Managing Stress at Work: Exploring the experiences of managers managing employee stress in the social housing sector (Doctoral dissertation). University of Chester, UK.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
The following license files are associated with this item:
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Effective weight management: Evaluation of "Lite 4 Life", a 12 week mutidisciplinary weight management programmeFallows, Stephen; Doolan, Anna (University of Chester, 2005-08)The purpose of this study was to ascertain if participation in a 12 week weight management programme results in favorable long - term changes in; weight, body composition and physical activity levels. Participants (N=35) attended the 12 week 'Lite 4 Life' programme, combining nutritional advice and diet prescription from NHS Community Dieticians, and weekly group based exercise led by qualified Exercise Advisers. Repeated measures of body weight, BMI, waist circumference and body fat percentage were taken at pre, post, 1 month post, 6 months, and 1 year post programme stage. Repeated measure ANOVA and Tukey's post hoc method of analysis of variance were adopted. Body weight (ave -2.32 kg), Waist circumference (ave -4.43cm), BMI (-0.93%), and body fat percentage (-2.72%) were significantly (p< 0.05) reduced from pre to post programme. Physical activity measured by pedometer over a 7 day period, was significantly increased (70%) from pre to post programme. At 1 month post programme significant changes in weight, BMI and Waist circumference seen at the post programme stage were maintained, but no further reductions were evident. At 6 months post programme stage, significant reductions in body weight were maintained, however reductions in waist circumference were not maintained to 6 months post programme. At 1 year post programme, due to low reporting numbers, no significant changes were evident in any variable. Participation in the Lite 4 Life programme results in significant weight loss which is maintained up to 6 months post programme, additional research is required to assess changes up to 1 year post programme.
The human factor in social capital management: The owner-manager perspectiveManning, Paul; University of Chester (Emerald, 2015-02-05)This book investigates the management of social capital processes as they are accomplished-understood, experienced and shaped-by owner-managers. The aim of the book is to develop a deeper understanding of the management of social capital processes, to achieve a greater congruence between real-life perspectives and experiences and social capital literature. The book argues that social capital is situational, and in the economic situation the theory has been bounded by rational choice framing assumptions. The research problem is that claims for the universality of the economic way of looking at life, and for looking at social capital processes are over-stated. Predicated on this insight the research investigates economic notions of rationality, and low and non-rationality, as well as their inter-dependence in the management of social capital processes. The research follows a qualitative approach for data collection, with flexible pre-coding to guide the research where to look, while retaining an inductive openness to emergent data. The research population is drawn from SME owner-managers in the service and retail sectors, who were researched over two years using semi-structured interviews, observation, and by researcher participant observation. The research presents a number of contributions to knowledge. First, the research offers an in-depth, single source review explicating the meaning of the economic form of social capital, with reference to its intellectual antecedents, conceptual debates and key theoretical authors. The second (emergent research) contribution is to identify the significance of ethics and autodidactic reading for managing social capital processes. The third (theoretical) contribution argues for an expanded social capital perspective, beyond the prevailing and over-confident rational framing assumptions, and also for a new holistic ontological understanding. The fourth contribution is to identify a number of generic processes that can guide the management of social capital processes.
Stress management as a feature of management style in Wirral Council Department of Adult Social ServicesWhewell, Stephen; Tomlin, Francesca (University of ChesterWirral Council, 2010-11)The Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPD) Absence Management Survey (2010) report that over a third of employers reported that stress-related absence has increased over the past year. Beresford et al (2008) report that stress related absence costs Wirral Council £1 million in 06/07. Although there are relatively few research studies that have focussed on stress experienced by people working in social services. Cooper, 1997 (as cited by Channel 4, 2010) undertook research on assessing 104 jobs and determined the top 20 most stressful jobs in Britain. Social Work was listed as third highest with the police second and prison officers being first. This aim of this research study is to explore stress management as a feature of management styles in Wirral Council Department of Adult Social Services. The research suggests that stress needs to be effectively managed in order to reduce high absenteeism related to stress and loss of productivity. The research clearly demonstrates that stress management is viewed as being effective when interventions focus on individual and organisational well being offering interventions such as well being support programmes and more importantly the way in which individuals feel valued and respected is critical to stress reduction and well being. The literature review determines that a link between stress management and management styles appears to be the ability of managers to deal with stress appropriately using a participative management style. In recognition of the relationship between management style and workplace stress the Health and Safety Executive (2005) management standards assist managers to reduce the numbers of people off work with stress and in 2009 developed a competency indicator tool for managers to use to assess their relevant management behaviours to assist with dealing with employee work place stress. This research study uses this competency indicator tool to assess how well managers in Wirral Council Department of Adult Social Services are dealing with work place stress.