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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume III, Work and Wellbeing by Peter Chen, Cary Cooper

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Chapter 1

Introduction

From Stress to Happiness

Peter Y. Chen

University of South Australia, Australia

Cary L. Cooper

Lancaster University, U.K.

Prior to the collapse of the dot-com bubble in the United States, a company the first author worked for had a bigger plan to grow. In a fall afternoon of 1999, one of his colleagues, called John, sent a message to say that he would be late for an appointment because of a meeting request from the VP. After he came back from the meeting, John revealed that his position had just been terminated after more than 20 years of service. Understandably, his disbelief, anger, and worry were evident—and about 30 minutes later he experienced a bad stomachache (Chen, 2007).

Occupational stressors and job strains experienced by workers, such as what John went through, are not foreign to us. We have witnessed workers who have suffered from depression and humiliation while being abused or harassed (Barling, Dupre, & Kelloway, 2009; Leiter, Laschinger, Day, & Gilin-Oore, 2011), some who have lost their lives at work (Gittleman et al., 2010) or who have developed cardiovascular illness in demanding jobs without much personal control (De Lange, Taris, Kompier, Houtman, & Bongers, 2003).

The grim reality we face today, as described above, is not new, and the focus on workers' wellbeing has not improved significantly in recent decades (Ilgen, 1990). Wellbeing at work has been a major concern since the turn of the last century. Hugo Münsterberg, 1898 President ...

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