‘Sense of coherence’ affects workers’ responses to merger

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

WASHINGTON - Employees with a strong sense of coherence have a more positive response to workplace changes resulting from a merger, suggests a new study.

Led by Krista Pahkin, of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, the researchers looked at how sense of coherence affected employee responses to a merger (not involving mass layoffs) at one large company. A strong sense of coherence-consisting of comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness-has been linked to a reduced risk of mental health problems, including stress-related disorders like burnout.

In surveys including about 4,000 employees, those with a low sense of coherence were about 80 percent more likely to say their work situation got worse after the merger.

Workers with a low sense of coherence also tended to have a higher rate of psychiatric problems within two years after the merger.

Among workers who thought they had been negatively affected by the merger, only those with a low sense of coherence were at increased risk of psychiatric events.

Employees with a strong sense of coherence were less likely to experience serious mental health problems-even if they felt worse off after the merger.

“Strong sense of coherence is a resource that enables people to manage tension, to reflect on their external and internal resources, and resolve tension in a health-promoting way,” wrote the researchers.

The findings have been detailed in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. (ANI)

Filed under: Business

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