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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D. (Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book describes organizational and health issues in the workplace, an especially salient topic in these uncertain economic times, which have created job insecurity and increasing stress. Previous editions were published in 1996 and 2002.
Purpose: According to the editors, "In the two previous editions of this Handbook we tended to concentrate on understanding the psychosocial factors in the workplace or the sources of stress, with some work on stress management or organizational change approaches to enhancing well-being and reducing ill health. In this new volume, although we will highlight some new work and health psychology problems, we will devote more emphasis on individual and organizational interventions and prevention."
Audience: The book is described as "an essential resource for students, researchers and practitioners in organizational psychology, health psychology and occupational medicine, and an invaluable source of practical insights for HR professionals and policymakers in the field." Cary L. Cooper is a distinguished professor at Lancaster University in the U.K.; James Campbell Quick, a distinguished professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, is a visiting professor at Lancaster; and Marc J. Schabracq is a consultant in work and health psychology. The contributors represent an international authorship from the U.K., the Netherlands, the U.S., Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, and Sweden.
Features: An introduction to work and health psychology begins the book. Next, the authors describe the workplace, defining the "psychological contract" which "describes the informal and implicit understanding that arose between a worker and the organization in which he or she worked." This nonverbal agreement sets the stage for the workplace and expectations of both employer and employee. The authors also discuss the social context and why burnout occurs, showing how stress relates to cardiovascular disease. The second part presents how individuals experience stress and the differences between men and women. The authors spend some time understanding job control and how important it is for achieving a sense of well-being and improved physical health. They discuss providing support in the workplace, using EAP (employee assistance programs) and other means to help manage stress. They end with ideas for how executives can create a healthy workplace through their leadership styles and encouraging employee involvement in developing corporate policies. The book presents ideas from both individual and corporate vantage points, backed by research, and gives practical suggestions.
Assessment: This excellent book helps readers understand how difficulties arise in the workplace and focuses on prevention of problems. It is practical, easy to read, and gives recommendations for positive change. The book covers many different topics, both on the individual and organizational level. It ends with encouraging the organization to become healthy, while maximizing profits, productivity, and employee sense of well-being. The third edition incorporates new research findings and has new contributors who focus on intervention and prevention.