Werner Sattmann-Frese - Well-being and ‘Ill-being’ at Work
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Like this? Share it with your network


Werner Sattmann-Frese - Well-being and ‘Ill-being’ at Work

Uploaded on

Werner Sattmann-Frese PhD ...

Werner Sattmann-Frese PhD

Well-being and ‘ill-being’ at work: How can spirituality help us survive the pressures of the global market place and contribute to the creation of a sustainable world?

Spirituality, Leadership, and Management (SLaM) Conference 2010

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
    Be the first to like this
No Downloads


Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds



Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

    No notes for slide


  • 1. Well-being and ‘Ill-being’ at Work How can spirituality help us survive the pressures of the global market place and contribute to the creation of a sustainable world? Dr Werner Sattmann-Frese Spirituality, Management, and Leadership Conference 2010
  • 2. I am currently working as a Senior Lecturer and Program co-manager at the Jansen Newman Institute – Think Education Group in Sydney. To share your feedback, please contact me at slse@bigpond.net.au
  • 3. Employee well-being is good for everyone Employee well-being is a key factor in determining an organisation's long-term profitability. Many studies show a direct link between productivity levels and the general health of the workforce ( http://www.workandwellbei ng.com/)
  • 4. Well-being: Organisational fitness Organisational fitness promotes sustainability by providing a workplace that’s healthy for the people who work in it, and for their clients. “We need to look beyond products and services for profitability, to the feelings and the quality of life satisfaction that organisations are creating for the people who work with and for them,” he [Dr Grant] says. http://www2.agsm.edu.au/agsm/web.nsf/Content/AGS MMagazine-AnthonyGrant
  • 5. So why, then, is the health of workers deteriorating? If this is true, why do many organisations continue to risk the health and well-being of their workers through:  Long working hours  Downsizing  Outsourcing  Undermining the powers of unions  Compromising OHS principles and practices?
  • 6. Ill-being: Long work hours In relation to potential negative outcomes for workers themselves, Spurgeon, Harrington and Cooper (1997) suggest that long work hours may impair personal health and jeopardise safety both directly and indirectly. They may operate as a direct stressor in that workers need to continue performing adequately despite any accumulating fatigue. In addition, long work hours may increase stress indirectly by prolonging workers' exposure to other sources of job stress. http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/respaper/rp35.h tml#literature
  • 7. Treat work injury, illness like road toll: union More than 7,000 Australians are estimated to lose their lives due to workplace injuries or disease every year - a number four times higher than the annual road toll. ACTU President Sharan Burrow says "When you think that ... we invest every effort to keep that national road toll as low as possible, then we've got to do the same for workplace injury and death." http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/05/11/2565 991.htm
  • 8. Ill-being: Conflict at the work place Definition of OHS: “The general area of concern in employment which covers the physiological and psychological well-being of persons engaged in work. Employers have a common law duty to take reasonable care to guard their employees' health and safety at work” (http://www.redgoldfish.co.uk/viewglossary.as p?gid=138). In practice, population health has so far shown comparatively little interest in the health effects of conflict at work.
  • 9. The impact of conflict in the workplace can be devastating to the parties involved, to colleagues and teams, to clients, and to the business as a whole. Some of the results of unresolved conflict in the workplace include:
  • 10. And more conflicts:
  • 11. Causes of ill-being: downsizing  “It is notoriously difficult to get accurate statistics on downsizing. Sociologist Richard Sennett (1998, p.49) scanned the literature covering 1980-1995, and found a low estimate of 13 million workers, and a high estimate of 39 million. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show from 1992 through 1997, 16.4 million people lost their jobs to permanent layoffs …”  http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qs t;jsessionid=LjpMJF8hm7DXtn1hvQphLtzK3 Zl4pSSfwhtDvsk2CDDtyRJrWYb2!1196327867!1517079229? docId=5001885522
  • 12. Causes of ill-being: downsizing  “Many terminated workers suffer changes in their mental health. They may experience a high level of depression, anxiety, stress, and loss of self-esteem and identity. Physical health complaints are most prominent during the period of anticipation. Physiological changes suggest an increased likelihood of coronary disease, diabetes, peptic ulcer, gout, arthritis, and hypertension. Job-related stress and life stress are related to workers' physical health and illness (Tang & Hammontree, 1992)”.  http://www.allbusiness.com/management/changemanagement/546933-1.html
  • 13. Common stress reactions during downsizing may include:
  • 14. Stress reactions after downsizing may include homicide and suicide A vice president of HR with 20 years' professional experience wrote HR Magazine anonymously about a company reorganization that resulted in major layoffs. This HR VP, responsible for carrying out the downsizing activities, received numerous death threats and was physically attacked twice. Within the company, employees were fighting, and suicides at home and at work were becoming common. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-12461473.html
  • 15. Ill-being at work: lack of power “No one feels secure in his or her job, as they can be replaced at any moment by a younger and more efficient person willing to do the same work for a lower salary. […] Workers feel as if they were chess pieces that can be moved according to the will of their boss. They all feel replaceable and disposable.”  Nélida Rodriguez Feijóo, 2004, Job Insecurity and Stress Level, Interdisciplinaria, número especial, Centro Interamericano de Investigaciones Psicólogias y Ciencias Afines, Buenos Aires, pp. 249 – 257.
  • 16. Ill-being at work: outsourcing  “A growing body of research indicates that changes to work organization associated with outsourcing adversely affect occupational health and safety (OHS), both for outsourced workers and for those working alongside them. This study assessed the OHS implications of the shift to home-based workers in the Australian clothing industry by systematically comparing the OHS experiences of 100 factory-based workers and 100 outworkers. The level of self-reported injury was over three times higher among outworkers than factory-based workers undertaking similar tasks”.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10079399
  • 17. Causes of ill-being at work: exploitation U.S. inspectors found [on the island of Saipan Chinese workers whose passports had been confiscated and who were working 84-hour weeks at subminimum wages (cf. McMichael, 2004, p.95). “The International Labor Organization estimates about 80 million children younger than age 14 working across the world in conditions hazardous to their health […]. Many of these children work 14-hour days in crowded and unsafe workplaces” (McMichael, 2004, p.96).  McMichael, P, 2004, Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective, Sage Publications, London.
  • 18. The new corporate cultures “Corporate cultures […] have changed dramatically and too often nor for the good. Employees are confused as to their purpose at work, distrustful of most everyone, and motivated to pursue self-interests (as do their bosses). They feel isolated, reactionary, and afraid. They are detached, disillusioned, and prone to gather in underground subcultures (Deal & Kennedy, 1999: 175). Deal, DE & Kennedy, AA 1999, The New Corporate Cultures, Perseus Publishing, New York
  • 19. Health Factor: Poverty through exploitation and loss of work
  • 20. What, then, are the drivers of these unsustainable practices? There are, of course, many different views: Marx: The inherent dynamic of the capitalist system Spencer: “Might makes right” (Social Darwinism) Reich: Sexual repression creates a willingness to be exploited by others Buddhism: Greed, hatred, and ignorance
  • 21. Spiritual aspects In this presentation we focus on the spiritual aspects of health, well-being- and change.
  • 22. The three poisons “In Buddhist teachings, greed, hatred, and delusion are known, for good reason, as the three poisons, the three unwholesome roots, and the three fires”. http://www.naljorprisondharmaservice.org/pdf/ThreeP oisons.htm
  • 23. The alternatives to these three poisons To antidote and overcome greed, we learn to cultivate selflessness, generosity, detachment, and contentment. To antidote and overcome hatred, we learn to cultivate loving-kindness, compassion, patience, and forgiveness. To antidote and overcome delusion, we cultivate wisdom, insight, and right understanding. http://www.naljorprisondharmaservice.org/pdf/ThreeP oisons.htm
  • 24. What is spirituality? “spirituality (SPIR-ih-choo-A-lih-tee) Having to do with  deep, often religious, feelings and beliefs, including a  person’s sense of peace, purpose, connection to others,  and beliefs about the meaning of life”. http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary/?CdrID=441265
  • 25. Spirituality at work  More and more people are asking questions about the meaning of their work and life, the quality of their relationships, and the impact of their work on their inner self and spirit.  However, the growth and vitality of the company will depend on the quality of relationships and issues to do with: how people are treated; how decisions are made; the level of commitment of the employee which flows from their sense of purpose and meaning of their work and the quality of the company culture – is it life giving or life threatening? Is it in harmony with the spirit?  http://svc203.wic019v.server-web.com/about-ethics/ethicscentre-articles/ethics-subjects/business-ethics/article-0293.html
  • 26. The need for a paradigm shift The creation of a healthy  and psychosocially and  environmentally  sustainable society will  be dependent on our  willingness to embrace a  paradigm shift in regards  to our perceptions,  values, and behaviours.
  • 27. A paradigm is really a paradigm (as much as the unconscious is really unconscious - Freud)  “A scientific account of the  world is no more and no less  than an explanation proffered  at a particular place and time  that is judged by a particular  community of researchers to be  true” (Oelschlaeger, 1995, p.  4).
  • 28. This paradigm shift will require moving from categorised to storied consciousness, from a horizontal to a vertical worldview (Dethlefsen and Dahlke)  Conventional medical science seeks to detect commonalities in people’s illnesses and categorises signs and symptoms.  It frequently confuses the pathophysiological mediation mechanism of illness with its emotional, psychosocial, and environmental background (cause).  Holistic science seeks to understand a person’s illness (dis-ease) as expression of his or her life story and views the symptoms as “body-languaged” guides to hidden conflicts and wounds and as a response to physically or emotionally unhealthy conditions.  In such a spiritual view of illness, pathological signs and symptoms are regarded as the language of our struggling souls.
  • 29. Ruediger Dahlke writes:  In our society, disease is not considered to be a language, or a pathway, or even to have any form of sense. It is not recognised as being something central to our existence, but is rather seen to be an abundance of objectionable, more or less coincidental setbacks in life. For this reason we find it normal to refer to "diseases" in the plural, although this in itself makes no more sense than to refer to "healths". In contrast, the majority of major religions and their esoteric traditions always consider disease to be a fundamental part of our being.  http://www.alternative-medicine-naturopathy.com/ruedigerdahlke-disease-as-the-language-of-the-soul.html
  • 30. And Eckhard Tolle remarks: “The return movement in a person’s life, the weakening or dissolution of form, whether through old age, illness, disability, loss, or some kind of personal tragedy, carries great potential for spiritual awakening – the disidentification of consciousness from form” (Tolle, 2005:284). Tolle, E 2005, A New Earth, Penguin Books, Camberwell, VIC, Australia.
  • 31. What are the questions that we have to ask ourselves if we get sick at work or elsewhere? Am I being myself? Am I more a ‘human doing or consuming’ than a human being? Are my current goals worth living for? What is this, my life, really about? Is there a balance in my life between giving and taking, resting and being active, being responsible and having pleasure, and …?
  • 32. Leadership for well-being  Helen S. Astin writes about leadership:  Leadership is concerned with fostering change in contrast to the notion of management which suggests preservation or maintenance  Leadership is inherently value-based since it is intentional and purposive  Since efforts to initiate change can come from anyone in the institution, all people are potential leaders  Leadership is a group process, a collective effort, rather than the actions of a single individual.  http://www.spirituality.ucla.edu/newsletter_new/past_pdf/volum e_1/vol_1_Issue_4/Helen_Astin.pdf
  • 33. Inspired leadership  Inspired leadership has five dimensions. Ethics is at its centre. ‘Self awareness’ and ‘mindfulness’ are necessary for us to become more conscious of the choices we make. If only we were to pay attention by invoking our own consciousness, we would become aware of the consequences of our ways of living. This would make us attract people in our organisation who are genuinely diverse and bring multiple intelligences of creativity and spirituality. The five pillars of ‘inspired leadership’ are ethics, mindfulness, compassion, ecological well being and diversity.  Anil Sachdev http://timesascent.in/article/79/20090804200908041223001407e2 28efa/The-five-pillars-of-%E2%80%98inspired-leadership %E2%80%99-are-ethics-mindfulness-compassion-ecological-wellbeing-and-diversity.html
  • 34. ‘Purplewashing’ Considering that shareholders of corporate companies have the legally enshrined right to maximise their return on investment – and do exercise this right - how can inspired leadership really reduce exploitation of workers and thus enhance well-being and environmental sustainability? Is the spirituality at work debate not much more than an exercise in ‘purplewashing’, similar to the spin and greenwashing maneouvres used by companies to maintain the status quo and to secure maximum profits?
  • 35. Questions How will we know that enlightened leadership has created lasting and deep changes? How will we see that a shift from ego-self consciousness towards an eco-self consciousness has taken place?