Subjective indicators as a gauge for improving organizational well-being. An attempt to apply the cognitive activation theory to organizations

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2005 Nov;30(10):1022-6. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2005.03.016.


Globally, organizations are undergoing substantial changes, commonly resulting in significant employee stress. However, facing similar stressors and challenges, departments within an organizations, as well as companies within the same area of business, vary in the way they cope with change. It was hypothesized that collective uncertainty about the future as well as unclear organizational goals contribute to chronic stress in organizations exposed to change. Applying the theoretical cognitive activation theory of stress--CATS--model by Ursin and Eriksen at an organizational level, support was found for the above hypothesis. Changes in chronic stress indicators between two assessments were related to clarity of organizational goals. It is suggested that the CATS model might be fruitful, not only in understanding variations in individual stress responses and experiences, but also to interpret and manage organizational stress. By doing so, both organizational health and well-being will improve, creating enterprises with healthy employees and healthy productivity and economic results.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Goals
  • Hospital Administration
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organizations*
  • Personnel, Hospital / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Work