Organizational Support for Mental Health, Stigmatization of Employees with Depression and Performance Appraisal: A Management Simulation Study
Martin, A and Hobman, E and Howarth, E and McDonald, K, Organizational Support for Mental Health, Stigmatization of Employees with Depression and Performance Appraisal: A Management Simulation Study, Psychosocial Factors at Work in the Asia Pacific: From Theory to Practice, Springer International Publishing, A Shimazu, R Bin Nordin, M Dollard and J Oakman (ed), Switzerland, pp. 267-288. ISBN 978-3-319-44399-7 (2016) [Research Book Chapter]
Copyright 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland
There is a high prevalence of depression in working adults (lifetime prevalence estimates are one in five people or greater). This presents significant social and economic issues for organizations. Effective workplace management of employee depression and factors that influence these processes has been identified as an important area for research. This quasi-experimental simulation examined how attitudes toward employees with depression (affective, cognitive and behavioral forms of stigma) are influenced by contextual cues reflecting an organization’s support for mental health and how these attitudes and context are associated with performance ratings of a fictional depressed employee. Participants (N = 348) in the experiment assumed the role of a call center manager with an employee suffering from depression and were randomly assigned to a group where cues were provided to them that reflected an organizational context that was either supportive or unsupportive toward mental health. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that participants in the ‘unsupportive’ condition reported higher levels of cognitive stigma toward an employee with depression (B = 0.126; SE = 0.133; p < 0.05) and that the supportive or unsupportive nature of the cues participants received also moderated the relationship between an identified predisposing individual characteristic, help-seeking reticence, and cognitive stigma (B = 0.416; SE = 0.122; p < 0.01). Affective stigma was associated with participants rating the performance of a depressed employee more negatively (B = −0.189; SE = 0.025; p < 0.01). These results provide impetus for organizations to develop work environments that signal support for employee mental health, strategies to reduce depression stigma among managers and appropriate mechanisms for dealing with employee depression in performance appraisal and performance management processes.