Measuring the impact of organizational behaviors on work disability prevention and management

Publication type
Journal article
Amick B, Habeck RV, Hunt A, Fossel AH, Chapin A, Keller RB, Katz JN
Date published
2000 Jan 25
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Open Access?

Increased rates of work disability and its associated costs have prompted businesses to develop innovative approaches to managing the health and productivity of the work force. The paper 1) provides practitioners with the results of research that demonstrates the importance of employer organizational factors in preventing and resolving work disability, and 2) provides researchers with measures that can efficiently assess organizational factors and advance clinical research by incorporating contextual factors involved in occupational rehabilitation. Data from a series of studies in Michigan are reviewed and it is concluded that employer reports of organizational policies and practices (OPPs) are important in reducing the number of work-related disabilities and their consequences for the employee and for the company. We test the hypothesis that employee reports of OPPs are reliable and valid. To test the reliability and validity of an employee version of the same instrument, we used data from a prospective community- based study of 198 workers with carpal tunnel syndrome. Four OPPs were identified as important: people-oriented culture (alpha = .88), safety climate (alpha = .88), disability management policies and practices (alpha = .88), and ergonomic practices (alpha = .88). These four scales were shown to have strong test-retest reliabilities and predictive validity. It was concluded that the conceptual model guiding the research in Michigan was supported with research from another State, Maine, using an individual-level measure of OPPs