Office politics the biggest contributor to workplace stress

Office politics have become the greatest cause of workplace stress, according to research.

A survey of 490 managers by research firm Roffey Park found that 60% believe an “increase in political behaviour in their organisation in recent years” was their greatest cause of stress. This figure rises to 77% for those working in the public sector.

The Management Agenda 2007 report also found that seven in 10 respondents experienced stress as a result of work.

However, this was down from eight in 10 in 2005, and nine in 10 in 1998. There has been a marked decrease in causes of stress relating to “increased workload” and “increased responsibility”, according to the report.

Conflict in the workplace has also increased, with 44% of survey participants believing organisational politics to be a main cause.

Valerie Garrow, principal researcher at Roffey Park, said: “The overall rise in organisational politics accompanies the decline of traditional hierarchical organisational structures in favour of flatter, more democratic structures.

“As command-and-control style leadership has become less effective in these organisations, managers have had to become more adept at influencing, negotiating and navigating organisational networks in order to get things done.

“Similarly, the demise of the traditional career ladder now means that a good deal of influencing and networking is required.”

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