How social relationships influence academic health in the ‘enterprise university’: an insight into productivity of knowledge workers

Ditton, M. (2009). How social relationships influence academic health in the ‘enterprise university’: an insight into productivity of knowledge workers.  Higher Education Research & Development, 28(2), 151-164.

Ditton (2009) identified the relatively poor mental health status of academics in Australian universities, compared with the general population. Using a case study methodology, Ditton explored staff experiences of stress at the University of Newcastle.  A differentiation was made between productive stress, counterproductive stress and systemic stress. Issues such as disengagement, risk taking, individualism, opportunism and health problems were discussed in relation to staff responses to stress. Staff identified that they needed to know that they were cared about and valued, and that this factor could mitigate stress. In addition they wanted practical responses to the work-related health/stress problems of their colleagues, including adequate systems of staff relief. Ditton concluded the article by listing a number of recommendations designed to promote positive and stable social and collegial relationships (preventive), as well as effective staff management and support.

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