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The Psychology of the Recession on the Workplace

The Psychology of the Recession on the Workplace

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper

An economic recession can affect the aggregate well-being of a population. This highly regarded and timely book shows a significant increase in the mean levels of distress and dissatisfaction in the work place in recent years. In particular, increasing job demands, intrinsic job insecurity and increasingly inadequate salaries make substantial contributions to psychological distress, family conflict and related behaviors. The contributors reveal that the recession has fundamentally altered the way employees view their work and leaders. With employers and employees still facing a continued period of uncertainty, a severe impact on employment relations is a continuing reality.

Chapter 6: The adverse effects of recession-related events on the health and well-being of individuals

Oi-Ling Siu

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour, strategic management


Almost everyone has been affected by the global recession that started in September/October 2008. During a recession or economic crisis, mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, downsizing and privatizations are inevitable. Recession is a stressful event that affects most organizations and the ensuing major organizational changes result in stressful layoffs and unemployment. The employees or survivors who remain after organizational change may perceive the consistent threat of job insecurity and may need to work longer hours to keep their jobs. Hence, both layoffs and survivors suffer from stress-related health problems (physical and mental health) and negative effects on their well-being (career, financial, physical, psychological and social). This chapter will discuss the model of occupational stress in recession, and the adverse effects of recession-related events on the health and well-being of individuals. The effects of the aftermath of recession on health and well-being will also be discussed. The environmental adaptation-level theory explains how a curvilinear relationship can occur between the recession and the outcomes, which suggests that people may adjust to the adverse effects of recession and the effects may level off gradually. Ways of coping with recession at the individual level will also be discussed in this chapter.

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