Taking a lead on stress: rank and relationship awareness in the NHS

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Abstract

Recent legislation from the Health and Safety Executive will have a significant impact on the expectations of how an organization manages stress. This paper considers the need for more awareness of risk assessment and risk management that takes into account the systemic antecedents of stress. It is suggested that assessment of organizational stress levels should include qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection to analyse the cumulative wear and tear on staff that contributes to the experience of workplace stress. This paper explores the importance of leadership within organizational hierarchies. Rank and status dynamics are identified as a potentially significant source of workplace stress. It is proposed that training in rank dynamics and relationship awareness are potential mediators in reducing workplace stress. The National Health Service could be a leader in establishing organizational well-being through patterns of leadership and relationship that tackles the growing epidemic of workplace stress.

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