Engaging with some of the most debated topics in contemporary organizations, Health at Work: Critical Perspectives presents a critical, contingent view of the healthy employee and the very notion of organizational health. Drawing on expressions such as ‘blowing a fuse’, ‘cracking under pressure’ or ‘health MOT’, this book suggests that meanings of workplace health vary depending on how we frame the underlying purpose and function of organization.
Health at Work takes some of the most powerful and taken-for-granted discourses of organization and explores what each might mean for the construction of the healthy employee. Not only does it offer a fresh and challenging approach to the topic of health at work, it also examines several core topics at the heart of contemporary research and practice, including technology, innovation, ageing and emotions.
This book makes a timely contribution to debates about well-being at work, relevant to practitioners, policy-makers and designers of workplace health interventions, as well as academics and students. This book will be illuminating reading for students and scholars across management studies, occupational health and organizational psychology.
Table of Contents
SERIES EDITOR PREFACE
INTRODUCTION - CONSTRUCTIONS OF HEALTH AT WORK
CHAPTER ONE - EFFICIENCY AND HEALTH: DISCOURSES OF THE MACHINE
CHAPTER TWO - EFFECTIVENESS AND HEALTH: DISCOURSES OF ORGANISM
CHAPTER THREE - CARE AND HEALTH: DISCOURSES OF FAMILY
CHAPTER FOUR - AGE AND HEALTH: DISCOURSES OF COMPETITION
CHAPTER FIVE - LEARNING AND HEALTH: DISCOURSES OF REINVENTION
CHAPTER SIX - TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH: DISCOURSES OF CYBERSPACE
CHAPTER SEVEN - POLITICS AND HEALTH: DISCOURSES OF POWER
CHAPTER EIGHT - CONCLUSIONS AND CONSEQUENCES
Dr Leah Tomkins is Senior Lecturer in Organization and Leadership Studies at the Open University, UK.
Dr Katrina Pritchard is Professor in the School of Management at the University of Swansea, UK.
Leah and Katrina first met in the 1980s, when they began their careers in the world of management consulting. They worked on developing strategies of organizational health for their clients, using an implicit model of the healthy employee focused on optimal performance, consistency with organizational values and non-resistance to change. Since leaving the corporate world for academia, they have developed a more sceptical view of health at work, and endeavour to distinguish between the rhetoric of institutional health messages and the lived experience of the human beings that such rhetoric often ignores.
"Quite simply, I love this book. Thank you, Tomkins and Pritchard, for this probing insight into how organizational and well-being discourses intersect, often to the detriment of the human beings they purport to serve. Highlighting the shadow side of exhortations to become "a new you" or fashion a life of boundless energy, the book questions whose purposes are really served by such aspirational health talk. By critically examining the metaphors which so easily colonize our way of thinking about the human body and what it "should" be capable of, the book will cause me to pause whenever I find myself thinking "I’m not hacking it" because I feel justifiably weary!" - Dr Donna Ladkin, Professor of Leadership and Ethics, Antioch University, USA
"In this book Tomkins and Pritchard use the lens of metaphor to consider how constructions of both "organization" and "health" relate to each other, and the implications of this for organizations and those who work in them. They reconsider the core metaphors of organization-as-machine and organization-as-organism, building on Morgan’s seminal work in Images of Organization, before exploring a series of other discourses such as "Family", "Reinvention" and "Cyberspace". Through thoughtful, critical analysis of the research literature and examples from their own practice, the authors show how the metaphors that shape discourses of organization and health can either help or hinder attempts to enhance health in the workplace. A lively, engaging text that I would recommend to researchers and practitioners alike." - Dr Nigel King, Professor in Applied Psychology, University of Huddersfield, UK
"The book adopts a critical and analytical approach to the ways in which health is represented and dealt with in organisational work contexts, and the potential and often divergent consequences for both individual employees and the organisation itself. It is a powerful critique and dissection of the images, metaphors and discourses of health deployed in organisational settings… Scholarly and insightful textbooks like this, are much needed by both academics and students alike and the authors are to be commended for writing such an excellent text." - Lorraine Green Edge Hill University