Preliminary investigation of employee's dog presence on stress and organizational perceptions

Randolph T. Barker (School of Business, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA)
Janet S. Knisely (School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA)
Sandra B. Barker (School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA)
Rachel K. Cobb (School of Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA)
Christine M. Schubert (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright‐Patterson AFB, Ohio, USA)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Publication date: 23 March 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a preliminary study of the effect of the presence at work of employees' dogs on stress and organizational perceptions.

Design/methodology/approach

A pre‐post between‐group design with repeated measures was used to compare differences between employees who bring their dogs to work (DOG group), employees who do not bring their dogs to work (NODOG group), and employees without pets (NOPET group) on physiological and perceived stress, perceptions of job satisfaction, organizational affective commitment, and perceived organizational support.

Findings

Combined groups scored significantly higher on multiple job satisfaction subscales than the reference norm group for these scales. No significant differences were found between the groups on physiological stress or perceived organizational support. Although perceived stress was similar at baseline; over the course of the day, stress declined for the DOG group with their dogs present and increased for the NODOG and NOPET groups. The NODOG group had significantly higher stress than the DOG group by the end of the day. A significant difference was found in the stress patterns for the DOG group on days their dogs were present and absent. On dog absent days, owners' stress increased throughout the day, mirroring the pattern of the NODOG group.

Originality/value

This paper provides the first quantitative exploratory study of the effects of pet dogs in the workplace setting on employee stress and perceptions of satisfaction, support and commitment.

Keywords

Citation

Barker, R., Knisely, J., Barker, S., Cobb, R. and Schubert, C. (2012), "Preliminary investigation of employee's dog presence on stress and organizational perceptions", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 15-30. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538351211215366

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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