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CGF Articles & Editorials

WORKPLACE STRESS: A REAL ORGANISATIONAL RISK (2017-04-12)

Article by Dr Dicky Els and Terrance M. Booysen

It is imperative that the impact of work-related stress and the negative impact of distress be incorporated into the organisation’s enterprise-wide risk management framework. A Bloomberg study conducted in 2013 revealed that South Africa is the second-most ‘stressed’ country out of a study of 74 countries.

This is hardly surprising given the high prevalence of political instability, economic uncertainty, high unemployment and growing crime rates in South Africa. The recent cabinet reshuffle and the decision of Standard & Poor‟s (S&P), including Fitch rating agencies to downgrade the country‟s credit rating below investment grade to BB+ further exacerbates the political and economic uncertainty in South Africa.

In the longer term, South Africa‟s downgrade to “junk status” will have a number of dire consequences that directly affect the country‟s future investment, interest rates, business growth, debt repayment and employment. When considering the volatility of corporations, globalisation, political activism, greater B-BBEE compliance, corporate restructuring and retrenchments; all these factors add to the stress among workers, be it directly or indirectly. Notwithstanding the fact that there are mounting socio-economic pressures being placed upon employers and employees alike, employees are still expected to produce optimal results. These expectations contribute to workplace stress.

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