A multiple case study approach to work stress prevention in Europe
SourceEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 9, 3, (2000), pp. 371-400
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI AO
European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
SubjectWork, Health and Performance
Work stress has become a major issue among European employees. The current practice of its prevention seems disappointing, as work stress prevention programmes are predominantly reactive and biased to the individual. The lack of organization-level intervention studies is a barrier to progress in reducing work-related stress. In addition to the "true experimental approach", multiple case studies may provide an adequate research strategy for addressing the potential impact of stress interventions in organizations. The study aim was to obtain more knowledge with respect to evidence-based work stress prevention in Europe, by focusing on both content (cause-effect relationships) and process ("how"). Therefore it was decided: (1) to collect from each European Union member state a work stress intervention study; (2) to analyse each of these cases as to content and process factors; and (3) to systematically compare these studies in a step-by-step approach. Through a network approach, 11 cases were identified. Nine projects received an acceptable methodological standard and were included in this study. Evaluation of these cases reveals that stress prevention is no "one time event", nor merely a technical process. It is concluded that "true prevention" (i.e., preventive measures that are based on an adequate diagnosis identifying risk factors and risk groups, which theoretically and logically fit in with the problems, and which are introduced and implemented in a proper way) may be beneficial to both the employee and the organization.
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