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Job stress and employee outcomes: employment practices in a charity

Wen Wang (Business School, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)
Roger Seifert (Keele Business School, Keele University, Keele, UK)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 19 March 2021

Issue publication date: 13 July 2021




The study intends to examine employee relations with a changing workforce resulting from the business-like transformation in the charity sector. The authors investigated sector-specific employment practices that can alleviate job stress (as a given and which has been made worse by the transformation). Developed from the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation framework, the findings can inform human resource management practices in its new efficiency-seeking business model.


The authors collected both quantitative (through a staff survey and administrative records of sick leave in the previous 12 months) and qualitative data (through interviews and focus groups) from one branch of an internationally well-established and UK-based religious charity between 2017 and 2018.


The quantitative results support a strong mediating effect of job satisfaction between job stress and staff sick leave. The negative correlation shown between job stress and job satisfaction is subject to paid staff perception of meaningful work and their level of involvement in decision-making, with the latter having a stronger moderating effect. The qualitative data provides further contextualized evidence on the findings.

Practical implications

It is important for charities to uphold and reflect their charitable mission towards beneficiaries and paid staff during the shift to an efficiency-seeking business model. Charities should involve their new professional workforce in strategic decision-making to better shape a context-based operational model.


The study examined employee relations in the non-profit charity sector with a changing workforce during the transition to a more business-oriented model. In particular, the authors revealed sector-specific factors that can moderate the association between job stress and absenteeism, and thereby contribute to the understanding of human resource management practices in the sector.



Wang, W. and Seifert, R. (2021), "Job stress and employee outcomes: employment practices in a charity", Employee Relations, Vol. 43 No. 5, pp. 1178-1193.



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