homeapplicationsnews20/20 audio seriessearchcontact

Introduction to the series by Christina Koutsoukos
back to the list »

Cary Cooper

At what point does pressure become stress?
We’ve reached the 21st Century, yet employees seem to be working harder for longer and feeling less secure than they ever have. The World Health Organisation recognises that on-the-job stress affects both the psychological and physical health of employees, as well as the physical health of the workplace.

The UK has put measures in place to address the impact of work-related stress on work-place absence. But this connection wasn’t always recognised or acknowledged. Professor Cary Cooper is professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University in the UK and among his many other professional distinctions, has been honoured with Commander for the British Empire Award for his work. Today he talks with Christina Koutsoukas about his research and practise in the field of occupational health and stress.  (Running time: 23 mins 23 secs Download: 32.9 MB)

Conversation Focus

  • We have a problem identifying the difference between pressure and stress. 
  • We need be able to identify the pattern of stress sources so that we can do something about stress. 
  • There are jobs that are perceived to be more stressful than others, but when it comes down to it, it’s actually constant change and removal of control from individuals that’s the stressor.
  • There’s no doubt there’s a nexus between stress and illness. 
  • There’s still a variety of attitudes by employers. Some say it’s their duty of care and looking for the source of the problem; others say it’s nothing to do with them. It’s really a two-way street between individuals and organisations. 
  • The UK is treating workplace stress as a national OHS issue. Stress is responsible for 40% of the country’s total invalid benefits. 
  • Research is now being done on the cost of stress to productivity. 
  • For companies serious about doing something about stress rates there’s a psychometric measure they can use to audit stress and set benchmarks within their organisation.

About Cary Cooper

Until October 2003 Cary Cooper held a chair at UMIST where he was formerly Deputy Vice Chancellor. He is Visiting Professor at Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh), and the universities of Sheffield, Exeter and Liverpool, and holds honorary doctorates from Heriot-Watt, Wolverhampton, Aston and Middlesex universities.

He holds many professional distinctions including Commander of the Order of the British Empire, has held a long list of leadership roles and has a number of editorial and publishing responsibilities including that of co-editor of The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Management -a twelve-volume scholarly international encyclopaedia of the management sciences, extensively revised in 2005.


About Professor Cooper 

Stress: a brief history 

Organisations and the psychological contract

Original artwork by Nicola Hensel
Disclaimer : Privacy : © VOICEMAP™ 2007 : admin@voicemap.net