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June/July 2016 (vol. 13/1)

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Research Plus

Organisational change and wellbeing

Organisational restructuring is generally bad for employee wellbeing, this systematic review of 39 longitudinal studies concludes. Types of restructuring studied included downsizing, closure, change of ownership, mergers, privatisation or combinations of these. Restructuring had a negative effect on general, physical and mental health, sick leave and job attitudes in most (18 out of 23) studies where staff numbers were cut. Change also impaired wellbeing in eight of nine studies where there were no job losses. Communicating information about the change, procedural justice, and training promoted wellbeing; higher physical demands and lower job control hampered wellbeing; and job insecurity increased absence and harmed self-rated health and mental health. Not all employees experience the negative effects of change – workers in the higher-status pre-merger organisation or those experiencing a positive change in job position might experience improved wellbeing compared with other workers. 

Work & Stress 2016; 30(1): 91–114. doi: 10.1080/02678373.2015.1136710.

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Occupational Health at Work June/July 2016 (vol. 13/1) pp40