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Thursday, October 21, 1999 Published at 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK

UK: Scotland

'Macho' Scots firms ignoring stress

'Macho' work culture mean firms ignore stress

A 'macho' work culture is stopping employers in Scotland addressing workers' stress problems effectively, according to a report.

The Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh found that, despite having been given recommendations on how to tackle problems, some of the organisations involved were failing to resolve them.

The institute found that among the reasons for failure was a macho organisational culture, which viewed stress as a weakness.

[ image: Firms need
Firms need "hands on" approach to stress
Research team leader Richard Graveling said: "It became evident to us during our research that some organisations still view stress in the workplace as a weakness and generally are not committed to tackling it.

"Although some organisations have successfully addressed specific problem areas identified by the Organisational Stress Health Audit, the overall reported levels of stress in the four organisations we focused on throughout our research have apparently not decreased since we applied the OSHA."

The IOM looked at a number of un-named companies and organisations including an engineering firm, an NHS trust, a finance house and a telecoms company.

The telecoms firm and the heavy engineering company had not acted on the recommendations arising from previous research.

Seven point plan

The NHS trust and the financial company had focused on the main recommendations but overall stress levels had not changed.

Among the problems pinpointed during the research was the perception that workplace stress was a low priority and macho organisational cultures viewed the stress as a weakness.

Constant organisational change and lack of commitment by organisations to tackle workplace stress were also identified.

On the basis of the findings, the IOM has drawn up a seven point plan to help organisations develop a stress management programme.

This includes the development of a stress management steering group and ongoing risk assessment.

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