The Economic Crisis and Occupational Stress

The Economic Crisis and Occupational Stress

New Horizons in Management series

Ritsa Fotinatos-Ventouratos and Cary Cooper

The global economic crisis of 2008 caused the collapse of the world’s financial institutions, large-scale unemployment, the devaluing of housing stocks leading to mortgage defaults and left many countries in debt, unable to meet their financial obligations. The consequences of this in the workplace were substantial and for those who remained employed, longer working hours, heavier workloads, an insecure working environment and micro-management became manifest. Examining the impact of the recession on organizations and individuals at work, this book explores the long lasting effect the crisis will have on workplaces for the future. An insightful and thorough account of how the economic crisis has unfolded on an international scale is presented and the profound psychological impact that this recession has had on the workplace assessed.

Chapter 3: Lessons learnt from the past

Ritsa Fotinatos-Ventouratos and Cary Cooper

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour, organisation studies, economics and finance, economic psychology, health policy and economics, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


The aim of the previous chapter was to draw attention to the origins of the economic crisis and highlight the various global problems that have been created. The objective of this chapter is twofold: first, it is necessary to assess whether various scientists, governments and official bodies were aware that such a recession would occur, and if so, why were preventative measures not taken? And secondly, if such a crisis was inevitable and known, what lessons, if any, have been learnt from the past? This chapter is primarily an economic review of historical events, which may indeed resemble the current economic crises being experienced and the consequences thereof. Although economically driven, such information is needed in order to fully examine the ‘W’ component of our model (that is, the workforce), which we discussed earlier, which is of primary concern to industrial/organizational psychologists. It is natural to suggest that in order to evaluate whether any lessons have been learnt from the past, one must be aware of what history reveals in terms of previous economic crises. History acts as a pointer; as the old saying goes, ‘history repeats itself’, so we need to put this crisis in some kind of historical perspective.

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