The effects of interventions towards the psychological environment – A blind spot in the evaluation theory

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Bad psychological working environment means high costs for the employees envolved, the workplace, the public sector and for the Danish society in general. The psycological working environment is important for the performance of public workplaces and has to be prioritized for both financial and social reasons. Moreover, managers can make a difference by using their skills and personal competences.
However, the public organizations’ initiatives towards improving psychological working environment are seldom evaluated. Furthermore existing research often have an individual orientation at the expense of an organization approach. Due to the high complexity of stress it is hard to measure the effect of stress interventions and to classify the causal link between cause and effects. Cost-benefit analysis is a mathematical method to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments and is often used within health care. Cost-benefit analysis measures the amount of return relative to the investments cost while non-monetary effects are not taken into account, e.g. quality of life and organizational image. Counterfactual theory is a way to operationalize the link between intervention and effects of stress interventions. Counterfactual theory is introduced to highlight the complexity of the link between stress intervention and identify ways to handle (some of) these challenges. This paper presents first draft of a model to evaluate the effects of initiatives towards the psychological working environment in public organizations. Evidence from the evaluation and stress literature are used to create pro and cons argument towards this new evaluation model.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date15 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2017
EventNOPSA 2017: Nordic Political Science Congress 2017 - Odense, Denmark
Duration: 8 Aug 201711 Aug 2017


ConferenceNOPSA 2017
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