Job stress interventions. Murphy LW, Hurrell JJ, Sauter SL, Keita-GP, eds. Washington, DC: American Psychological Associaton, 1995 Jan; :217-233
Organizational health can be measured in a variety of ways other than by an analysis of the profit and loss account. Profitability is a clear indicator of the success and financial health of an organization at a given point of time. However, it is not necessarily a good predictor of future performance, unless account is taken of the ability of the organization and its workforce to continue to sustain and possibly increase that level of performance over time. An automobile may be running perfectly well one day, despite a neglectful owner, but it is invariably only a matter of time before a costly breakdown occurs. Similarly, the performance and financial health of an organization is dependent upon the physical and psychological health of its members. There are a range of indices that are indicative of organizational ill health, other than the more obvious data such as sickness absenteeism, high labor turnover, and low productivity. These indices include high insurance and health care costs, poor accident and safety records, low levels of organizational commitment and job satisfaction, and generally deteriorating industrial relations. As the human and financial costs of occupational stress to business and industry have become increasingly well documented (Elkin & Rosch, 1990), a growing number of organizations have introduced initiatives designed to reduce stress and improve employee health in the workplace. DeFrank and Cooper (1987) suggest that stress intervention in the workplace can focus on the individual, the organization, or the individual-organizational interface. Interventions that focus on the individual are concerned with extending the physical and psychological resources of employees to enable them to deal more effectively with stress. Health and stress education and skills t raining in the area of time management or assertive behavior are examples of such interventions. In contrast, organizationally focused interventions are concerned with reducing workplace stress by addressing factors that operate at the macro level. Such interventions might include changing aspects of the organizational structure, reviewing selection and training procedures, or developing more flexible and "employee-friendly" systems and personnel policies that more closely meets the needs and demands of the workforce.