Researching workplace well-being for improved labour relations

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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The wellbeing of the workforce is potential a source of conflict in workplaces, both within Australia and internationally. The often disparate goals of employers who see workplace wellbeing as a productivity improvement and risk management strategy, and workers’ representatives and unions who see workforce wellbeing as a health and safety issue sets up an immediate tension. However, the commonality of goals between these groups provide a pathway to improved labour relations in the workplace. This paper draws on the first stage of a research project examining workplace wellbeing in a large government human services organisation in Australia. Interviews were undertaken with five management representatives, eight union delegates and thirty current and former front line workers. The frontline workers were sampled randomly using a sampling frame stratified for gender, role, geography and team size The analysis revealed a history of conflictual relations between management and union representatives have hampered progress towards achieving improvements in workplace wellbeing. However, all parties identified similar factors that impacted positively or negatively on wellbeing. By providing independent evidence of workplace wellbeing, the sources of workplace stress and employees preferred support mechanisms the research project has stimulated a solution-focussed dialogue between the parties, while building stronger relationships between academics, policy makers, employee representatives and frontline workers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings - 6th Regulating for Decent Work Conference
PublisherInternational Labour Organization
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2019
Event6th Regulating for Decent Work Conference: Work and well-being in the 21st Century - International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland
Duration: 08 Jul 201910 Jul 2019


Conference6th Regulating for Decent Work Conference
Internet address

Grant Number

  • 0000102515


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