Industrial relations, worksite stress reduction, and employee well‐being: A participatory action research investigation

Catherine A. Heaney, Barbara A. Israel, Susan J. Schurman, Elizabeth A. Baker, James S. House, Margrit Hugentobler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


The workplace has become the locus of many stress management and stress reduction interventions. However, little attention has focused on how worksite factors affect the implementation and impact of such interventions. In this paper, we investigate the effect of new versus traditional industrial relations practices on the impact of a worksite stress reduction program in a manufacturing setting. More specifically, a participatory action research (PAR) stress project is described and evaluated in two different labor–management relations contexts. One organization is characterized by the emerging ’new‘ industrial relations system where labor–management relations incorporate elements of joint problem‐solving. The other organization has a more traditional approach where labor–management relations are formally adversarial. Results indicate that the labor–management relations context did influence the impact of the stress project. Involvement in the PAR stress project enhanced employee participation in decision‐making in both contexts. However, involvement in the stress project enhanced employees' perceptions of the climate for participation only in the organization with more cooperative industrial relations. Increases in coworker support and decreases in depressive symptoms were associated with involvement in the PAR stress project in the organization with more adversarial industrial relations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-510
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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