1 Department of Business Administration - Management, Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Department of Management, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University4 Institut for Psykologi5 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
Collective stress and interpersonal relations
Stress and burnout has become an increasingly significant problem for the individual, organizations and society as a whole and the economic loss due to stressrelated absenteeism alone are astronomical. Prior research on stress has almost exclusively focused on the individual and/or work‐related factors as explanatory variables, but never research has drawn on areas such as social‐psychology, sociology and anthropology. This allows for a more integrated approach highlighting the collective aspects of stress symptoms, perceived stress, and coping mechanisms. By applying social network analysis (SNA) and a theoretical contribution from the areas of communication networks and social support in the workplace we present a model for the complex interplay between network position and stress. One particularly interesting issue is the causality, since it can be argued convincingly that there are both effects of network position on stress levels and vice versa. Therefore we’ve designed a longitudinal case study of one large department of a Danish pharmaceutical company using both a series of SNA questionnaires with a comprehensive set of stress questions and a series of interviews. Besides the purely academic interest there are obvious managerial implications in gaining a more nuanced insight into what causes stress and how it might possibly spread or be mediated by social factors that are at least partially within their powers to change.