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Stress among public middle managers dealing with reforms

David Giauque (Institute of Political, Historical, and International Studies (IEPHI), University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 21 November 2016




The purpose of this paper is to identify social and organizational antecedents of stress. This paper also investigates whether attitudes toward organizational changes and reforms might explain stress perception (SP) and mediate the relationships between social and organizational job characteristics and SP.


A quantitative approach is used to identify the relationships between the research variables. The investigated population is composed of middle managers working in Swiss public hospitals (n=720), which are currently being confronted by major reforms.


The findings show that perceived social support (work relationships with and support from colleagues), as well as several job characteristics (autonomy in performing tasks, flexibility in the organization of working time, degree of conflict) are significantly related to SP. Moreover, positive attitudes toward change are negatively related to stress, and mediate the relationships between perceived social support as well as job characteristics and SP.

Practical implications

This paper sheds light on several job characteristics which could contribute to mitigating SP among middle managers. The findings could therefore guide HRM specialists in their efforts to create a favorable work environment so as to facilitate middle managers’ activities.


The innovation of this paper is grounded in the specific population the author investigate, as the empirical inquiry concerns middle managers working in public hospitals. Moreover, this research highlights the central role of job characteristics and attitudes toward change in explaining SP.



This paper is part of a broader research project (No. 13DPD6_134764/1) financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (


Giauque, D. (2016), "Stress among public middle managers dealing with reforms", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 30 No. 8, pp. 1259-1283.



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