City Research Online

An exploration of occupational health in a UK organisation

Kenyon, A. (2004). An exploration of occupational health in a UK organisation. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Having worked for the past three years in a role assessing the occupational health, productivity and satisfaction of employees, I decided to explore the aspects relevant to self-reported health and well-being within a work setting in greater depth. This thesis is formed of three main parts:

(i) Research component consisting of three linked but distinct studies
(ii) Critical Review
(iii) Consultancy

The research component explored aspects relevant to self-reported occupational health, and attempted to assess the impact of these components upon employee productivity. The research concluded with a qualitative study in which the occupational health constructs identified were explored in greater depth. Study I, II, and III are summarised below, detailing the methodology and key findings of each.

The aim of study I was to explore key components relevant to the occupational health and well-being of 235 UK based employees, with reference to health behaviours and attitudes towards health. The objective was exploratory rather than confirmatory in nature. A questionnaire was administered throughout selected offices of a nationwide UK organisation. The same organisation was involved for study I, II and III, and is referred to as RC throughout the research. A Likert scale was used to assess responses to items measuring aspects relevant to occupational health, health behaviour and attitudes towards health. The data were subjected to a Principal Component Analysis, and 7 components were identified from the 44 variables analysed. The components were labelled according to the theme of the combined variables found to load upon each. Overall, the components highlighted the importance of workplace integration, enjoyment, motivation, achievement and efficacy, with key influences involving managerial support and the working environment.

Study II attempted to establish whether the components of occupational health identified in study I were of relevance to the productivity of employees. An objective measure of performance (fee generation) was used to select a group of 31 high performers and 31 low performers within the company. The scores of the high and low performers (n=62) were compared upon the five components identified in the principle component analysis conducted in study II (n=259). A significant difference was found with regard to the scorings upon three components when employment duration was controlled for. There was a significant effect of the ‘environmental/managerial support, integration and commitment’ component (Fa, 58) = 4.224, p = 0.019), with high performers revealing greater enjoyment and motivation, higher levels of integration, stronger commitment and loyalty to the organisation, and a greater tendency to believe efforts are recognised. High performers scored significantly higher upon the ‘career stability and advancement’ component (Fa,58) = 13.711, p = 0.000). There was also found to be a significant effect of ‘drinking behaviour’ (F(2,58) = 5.032, p = 0.010), with low performers more frequently exceeding the recommended daily limit of alcohol, more frequently consuming alcohol in response to stress, and showing a higher tendency to go into work suffering from the effects of alcohol consumption. The findings highlight the importance of creating a supportive, motivational and enjoyable working environment in which commitment and integration is encouraged, drinking behaviour is moderated, and career advancement and staff retention is facilitated.

The final stage of the three-part research programme attempted to explore the meaning of components relevant to occupational health and aspects impacting upon work experience. Study III involved conducting semi-structured interviews with five employees within the company. These interviews attempted to explore areas of work enjoyment, motivation and integration. The full version of grounded theory was used to analyse the data. The findings suggest that employment experience is a combination of various factors, with individual, environmental and activity elements interacting to determine the quality of working experience. Within this framework it would appear that the foundation criteria (i.e. an individual’s trait orientation, identity, drive, potential and needs), the environmental/circumstantial criteria (i.e. role, degree of integration, management, well-being, and available resources), individual perception, including both deductive processes and attitudinal tendencies, and the successful mobilisation and utilisation of aspects such as initiative, innovation, effort and the resulting action, will combine and interact to form the outcome. The outcome is represented by the performance of the individual and the degree of gratification (i.e. satisfaction and fulfilment) the individual experiences within the workplace. These elements would appear to require compatibility and appropriate balance in order for optimal functioning. Through identifying aspects that may impact upon employee satisfaction, health and well-being, it is hoped that employment policies and decisions may be guided. By focusing upon these areas, this research does suggest that employee productivity will also be optimised.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Kenyon thesis 2004 PDF-A.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Download (10MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login