Evaluating the complementarity of knowledge and psychosocial risk management to improve employee well-being and performance through improved work organisation and management

Fadipe, Tolulope G. (2019) Evaluating the complementarity of knowledge and psychosocial risk management to improve employee well-being and performance through improved work organisation and management. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The ever-changing economic and social environments, and technological advancements have resulted in significant changes to the world of work. These changes have led to growing recognition that to be sustainable, organisations must promote a positive psychosocial work environment (PWE). A number of approaches have been developed to improve business sustainability and maximise organisational performance, two among these include Knowledge Management (KM) and Psychosocial Risk Management (PRM). Various Psychosocial Risk Management (PRM) initiatives have been developed to enable organisations to control psychosocial risks (associated with aspects of work organisation, design and management that have the potential to cause various negative outcomes to employees and organisations) at source where possible or minimise their negative impact. On the other hand, the Knowledge Management (KM) concept was introduced for organisational competitiveness and economic growth, and aims to achieve these objectives through also addressing aspects of work organisation, design and management.

This doctoral research therefore aimed to investigate how KM can complement or promote PRM in managing the PWE. It did this by identifying key dimensions of the main KM frameworks and analysing their focus on people and work organisation issues within these frameworks. It then explored the extent of complementarity between these key dimensions of KM frameworks and the ten core dimensions of the psychosocial work environment as identified in the scientific literature. Finally, it investigated the role KM can play in managing the PWE in practice within the context of an organisation, identifying key KM drivers, barriers, and priorities for action.

Therefore, Study 1 reviewed 109 KM frameworks, and using thematic analysis further analysed 28 of these frameworks identifying key themes of focus on people and work organisation issues. Study 2 analysed the extent of complementarity between the previously identified KM themes and psychosocial work environment dimensions using framework analysis. Finally, Study 3 used a case-study approach (involving documentary analysis of company policies and interviews with 40 managers) to investigate how KM can be used to promote psychosocial risk management in practice. Based on the complementarity found between KM themes and psychosocial work environment dimensions, a case is made in this thesis about the importance of Knowledge Risk Management (KRM) in organisations. For this to happen, the organisation must prioritise knowledge infusion into RM. Despite favourable arguments in using KM to promote psychosocial risk management (PRM), it was evident that the KRM concept is underutilised for the management of psychosocial factors.

In support of using KRM to promote the effective management of the psychosocial work environment, findings showed that leadership must clarify employees’ contribution in setting objectives (employee engagement/empowerment). This must be fostered by a culture of trust and delegation in decision-making from management to employees. Organisational learning promoted through leadership, collaborations, training, network of peers, communities of practice, trust and individual leadership capabilities can encourage good workplace climate, work retaining employee interest and in general a positive PWE. It was found that motivation and reward for employees to share and use knowledge through social networks and work systems averted work-related psychosocial risks. In addition, clear communication can ensure that new information resulting from changes in work is disseminated across organisational culture and functions to prevent people’s exposure to various types of risks.

The studies highlighted that sustained knowledge-based risk prevention initiatives could improve employee well-being and performance by alleviating negative outcomes and promoting positive ones, beyond people’s devotion or loyalty to work or the organisation. Notwithstanding, good work systems were found to promote increased positive behaviours which, in turn, influenced working conditions. Leadership’s influence had an important part to play in all aspects of work organisation and management. Findings from the studies are integrated and further discussed in the final chapter of the thesis. The limitations of this research are critically analysed with recommendations for future studies. In addition, recommendations for best practice are presented based on the case study analysed.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Jain, Aditya
Leka, Stavroula
Keywords: Knowledge management, Work environment, Psychosocial factors, Employee wellbeing, Employee performance
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WA Public health
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Item ID: 57086
Depositing User: FADIPE, Tolulope
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2020 09:34
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2020 09:34
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/57086

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