I. Please help me to write a business report, that topic is — Which strategies are most effective for increasing workplace mindfulness? II. Please refer to the outline and Executive Summary I provided to complete the business report, request 5-7 pages.

PromotingSustainability1 TentativeOutlineandReferences1 xExecutiveSummaryDraft1 BeingIntentionalAboutWorkplaceMindfulnessPrograms1 EXAMPLEOFGOODREPORTSpr20221 x

I. Please help me to write a business report, that topic is — Which strategies are most effective for increasing workplace mindfulness? 

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II. Please refer to the outline and Executive Summary I provided to complete the business report, request 5-7 pages.

III. And please help me to correct my Executive Summary in the business report:

Here are comments to guide my revision of the report: 1. Use a running header that consists of a shortened version of the report title; please see the example Executive Summary. 2. Include a blank line between paragraphs. 3. Delete findings and background material from the first paragraph. 4. Focus on presenting only major findings of strategies for increasing workplace mindfulness; delete other details that can be read in the report. The summary is a synopsis or abstract. 4. Explain how you located the report sources in the second paragraph. ( Professors provide two resources, and one is from the university online library)

Ⅳ.Three resources are:

1. Being Intentional About Workplace Mindfulness Programs(attached)  

2. Promoting Sustainability: The Effects of Workplace Mindfulness Training (attached) 

3.  A Workplace Mindfulness Intervention May Be Associated With Improved Psychological Well-Being and Productivity. A Preliminary Field Study in a Company Setting (  



Note: this is a very important assignment, and it needs to be put on Turnitin. 

EJBO Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies Vol. 23, No. 1 (2018)

20 http://ejbo.jyu.fi/

Promoting Sustainability: The Effects of

Workplace Mindfulness Training


Mindfulness training is enjoying grow-
ing popularity in work life settings, with
the aim to increase employees’ mindful-
ness level and thereby their well-being.
Prior evidence suggests that higher
mindfulness is associated with reduced
stress (Ciesa and Serretti, 2009) and bet-
ter recovery from work (e.g. Hülsheger,
Land, Depenbrock, Fehrmann, Zijlstra
and Alberts, 2014). Mindfulness can be
defined as non-judgmental, moment-to-
moment awareness which can be culti-
vated through formal meditation and
informal practice in everyday life (e.g.
Kabat-Zinn, 2003). Trait mindfulness
refers to how mindful individual tend
to be and act in daily life. Mindfulness is
constituted of various facets, such as non-
reacting, observing, acting with aware-
ness, describing and non-judging experi-
ences. Of these, non-reacting, defined as
the ability to step back from and not be
overwhelmed by distressing experiences,
is an important contributor to employee
well-being (Malinowski and Lim, 2015).

Three broad streams of mindfulness
research exist. First, correlational and
cross-sectional research explores asso-
ciations between mindfulness levels and
other factors (e.g. Malinowski and Lim,
2015). Second, diverse intervention stud-
ies examine the effects of various types
of mindfulness training, while the third
stream consists of laboratory-based re-
search (c.f. Keng, Smoski and Robins,
2011). In this variety of methods used
to study the effects of mindfulness train-
ing, there seems to be a lack of studies
employing mixed methods. In addition,
participants in workplace mindfulness-
training interventions frequently have
been employees in the health care and
education sectors. Therefore, the aim of
the current study was to use quantitative
and qualitative methods to explore the
effects of workplace mindfulness-based
stress reduction (MBSR) training for
factory employees.

Mindfulness training

Previous research indicates that mind-
fulness training can lead to higher self-
reported mindfulness (e.g. Anderson,

Lau and Bishop, 2007), and a number of
studies have demonstrated that increases
in mindfulness levels mediate the effects
of mindfulness interventions on out-
comes, such as well-being (for a review,
see Keng, Smoski and Robins, 2011).
For instance, a structured, group-based
MBSR programme employed mindful-
ness meditation to develop enhanced
awareness of the moment-to-moment
experiences of perceptible mental pro-
cesses and thereby improve psychological
and physical well-being (e.g. Grossman,
Niemann, Schimidt and Walach, 2004).
In accordance of these findings, it was
proposed that:

Hypothesis 1: Compared with the par-
ticipants in the control group, the partic-
ipants in the mindfulness-based training
group will display increased mindfulness
after the training.

Mindfulness and emotions at work

In general, mindfulness seems to support
emotion regulation, for instance, reduc-
ing emotional reactivity (e.g. Arch and
Craske, 2010). Furthermore, mindful-
ness seems to stabilise attention in the
present and decrease mind wandering,
which has close links to negative affect
and negative mood. This link is espe-
cially strong when the mind wanders
to past topics which include negative
content (i.e. rumination). (Smallwood
and O´Connor, 2011; Smallwood and
Schooler, 2015.) Therefore, if mind-
fulness training can increase focus on
the present moment and reduce mind
wandering, this training might decrease
negative emotions. In line with this spec-
ulation, a body of empirical evidence sug-
gests that MBSR training decreases the
emotions of fear, anger and worry (Rob-
ins, Keng, Ekblad and Brantley, 2012).
Mindfulness is associated not only with
diminished negativity but also enhanced
positive emotions. Overall, evidence from
correlational studies suggests that higher
mindfulness is associated with higher lev-
els of positive affect (Keng, Smoski and
Robins, 2011). For instance, Schutte and
Malouff (2011) reported an association
of mindfulness with higher positive affect
and lower negative affect, and in another
study, mindfulness training focused on

Jaana-Piia Mäkiniemi
Kirsi Heikkilä-Tammi

Mindfulness training is enjoying
growing popularity in workplaces.
In the current study, the effects
of workplace mindfulness training
were evaluated using quantitative
and qualitative methods. The
study’s novelty value arises from
the implementation of workplace
training among factory employees
and the mixed-methods approach to
evaluation. The quasi-experimental
design with training and control
groups included pre- and post-
measurements and four focus
group interviews. The results of
the pre-post-test indicated that,
compared with the participants in
the control group, the participants
in the mindfulness-based training
group displayed significantly greater
increases in mindfulness, positive
emotions and hope pathways
after training. The findings from
the focus group interviews also
indicated positive effects associated
with relaxation, creativity at work,
quality of social interactions and
quality of sleep. The participants
also perceived challenges in the
training, such as inexperience,
odd and difficult mindfulness
practices, difficulties with home
practice, a lack of social support
and the demanding features of the
environment. These results were
discussed in light of the added value
of the mixed-methods evaluation

Key Words: workplace mindfulness
training, mindfulness, positivity,

EJBO Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies Vol. 23, No. 1 (2018)

21 http://ejbo.jyu.fi/

loving-kindness meditation was able to increase daily experi-
ences of positive emotions (Fredrickson, Cohn, Coffey, Pek and
Finkel, 2008). Based on these findings, it was hypothesised that:

Hypothesis 2: Compared with the participants in the control
group, the participants in the mindfulness-based training group
will show higher increases of positive affect (a) and greater de-
creases of negative affect (b).

Mindfulness and hope at work

Hope can be defined as the perceived capability to see path-
ways to desired goals and to motivate oneself through agency
thinking to use those pathways. The hope construct distin-
guishes between agency and pathway thinking, but hopeful-
ness requires both as they feed on each other (Snyder, 2002).
It has been proposed that, when individuals have mindfulness
and can step back from emotional reactivity, they experience
more hopeful attitudes (Malinowski and Lim, 2015). Accord-
ingly, an integrated mindfulness and hope-theory-based med-
itation-training intervention could increase participants’ hope
(Thorton, Cheavens, Heitzmann and Dorfman, 2014), and in
a mindfulness-based meditation-training intervention, the hope
of the training group increased significantly more than that of
the comparison group (Munoz, Hoppes, Hellman, Brunk,
Bragg and Cummins, 2016). In addition, higher trait mindful-
ness has been found to be associated with lower cynicism (Tay-
lor and Millear, 2016), which can be seen as a counterpoint to
hope. Basing on these findings, it was suggested that:

Hypothesis 3: Compared with the participants in the con-
trol group, the participants in the training group will display
increased hope in general (a) and increased agency (b) and path-
ways (c) in particular.

Mindfulness and social relations at work

Researchers have suggested that the participants in mindfulness
training ‘relat[e] more mindfully’ to others and the ability to
be more present might result in better listening and focusing
on others’ needs (Bihari and Mullan, 2014),. Social interactions
at work can evoke many feelings, from irritation and anxiety
to joy. Mindfulness training suppresses automatic tendencies
to react to internal and external triggers, such as irritating per-
sons and uncomfortable topics of conservations. Consequently,
mindful people might be more able to respond to experiences
an intentional and skilful way, exhibiting less reactivity and
more tolerance in social interactions, for instance (c.f. Bihari
and Mullan, 2014). In a qualitative study of nurses’ experiences
of MBSR training, the participants explained that the training
helped them focus more on patients and listen more deeply at
work (Cohen-Katz, Wilev, Capuano, Baker, Deitrich and Sha-
piro, 2005). In another study, family therapist trainees reported
improved compassion and acceptance of others due to training
(McCollum and Gehart, 2010). Based on a review by Boelling-
haus, Jones and Hutton (2014), qualitative studies seem to give
more support than quantitative studies to the idea that mind-
fulness training improves other-focused concern. This differ-
ence suggests that different data collection methods can paint
divergent pictures of the benefits of mindfulness training in the
context of social relations. In addition, mindfulness also seems
to be linked to openness to new social relationships. For exam-
ple, one type of mindfulness meditation, loving-kindness medi-
tation, has been shown to increase feelings of social connection
and positivity towards novel individuals (Hutcherson, Seppälä
and Gross, 2008). Together, these findings indicate that mind-

fulness training may affect the quality of social relations. Based
on these studies, it was hypothesised that:

Hypothesis 4: Compared with the participants in the control
group, the participants in the mindfulness-based training group
will show increased openness (a) and friendliness (b) to other
people at work.

Mindfulness and creativity at work

Mindfulness has been shown to be associated with creative
thinking. However, in a meta-analysis of 33 empirical corre-
lational and intervention studies, the effect sizes ranged from
small to medium. (Lebuda, Zabelina and Karwowski, 2016.)
The mindfulness–creativity link likely exists as mindful atten-
tion to the present moment reduces the tendency to perform
habitual responses, and creative problem-solving often requires
openness to various new aspects which emerge in the present
situation. Similarly, empirical evidence suggests that even brief
mindfulness training can lead to better performance on insight
problems (a class of problems in which non-habitual respons-
es or intuition are key factors) (Ostafin and Kassman, 2012).
Mind wandering, which often decreases as mindfulness increas-
es, however, seems to be beneficial for creativity (Smallwood
and Schooler, 2015). Given that the general pattern of evidence
supports a positive link between mindfulness and creativity, it
was proposed that:

Hypothesis 5: Compared with the participants in the control
group, the participants in the mindfulness-based training group
will report higher increases of self-reported creativity at work.

Mindfulness and workability

Workability can be defined as employees’ ability to do their job
satisfactorily or how well and able they can do their job at pre-
sent and in the near future given their work demands, health
and mental resources. This concept can be divided into two di-
mensions: mental and physical workability (Ilmarinen, Tuomi
and Klockars, 1997). To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no
prior studies have measured the effects of mindfulness train-
ing on workability. However, one correlation study proposes
that mindfulness has an indirect effect on workability through
perceived quality of life (Vindholmen, Høigaard, Spnes and
Seiler, 2014). Nevertheless, it can be assumed that constructs
such as burnout and work engagement are possible frames of
reference as they share features with the concept of workabil-
ity: all capture dimensions of employee well-being (c.f. Warr,
1990; Harju, Hakanen and Schaufeli, 2014). Generally, lower
self-reported mindfulness seems to be associated with ill-being
at work, such as higher burnout (e.g. Taylor and Millear, 2016),
whereas higher mindfulness seems to be related to well-being at
work, such as work engagement (e.g. Leroy, Anseel, Dimitrova
and Sels, 2013; Malinowski and Lim, 2015). For example, two
facets of mindfulness, non-judgmental attitudes and less reac-
tivity, have been shown to be associated with lower levels of
burnout, particularly lower emotional exhaustion and cynicism
(Taylor and Millear, 2016). In addition, mindfulness training
has been reported to be effective at reducing stress reduction
(Ciesa and Serretti, 2009) and supporting recovery from daily
work demands (e.g. Hülsheger et al., 2014), for instance, by im-
proving sleep quality and duration (e.g. Hülsheger, Feinholdt
and Nübold, 2015). Based on these findings, it was hypoth-
esised that:

Hypothesis 6: Compared with the participants in the control
group, the participants in the mindfulness-based training group

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will show increased physical (a) and mental (b) workability.


Intervention design
Before the training intervention, the researchers discussed
with management and other staff how to tailor the mindful-
ness training to meet the needs of the organisation and employ-
ees. In the discussion there was a concern that the scales and
measurements might be too difficult to complete as the topic
of the questionnaire was abstract and unfamiliar to many. Con-
sequently, there was we attempt to make the questionnaire as
easy to complete as possible. Some options on the scales were
harmonised, as described in detail in the measures section and
discussed in the limitation section. The management and com-
pany representative also made an input regarding the protocols
of the focus group; for instance, they helped to identify the most
suitable times for interviews and the most appropriate interview
duration for their employees.

The mindfulness training programme called InnoPresence
consisted of 10 sessions and an introductory session at which
information (e.g. procedure, risks) was given in oral and written
form to obtain informed consent following the principles of the
American Psychological Association (2010). The training was
held over approximately 10 months, with a break between the
spring and autumn sessions. Each training session lasted two
hours and took place in a large meeting room in the factory.
The first five sessions were intended to increase mindfulness
in general and were led by a certified MBSR teacher. These
sessions closely followed the principles and guidelines of the
MBSR programme, which aims to reduce stress and includes
specific exercises, such as mindfulness meditation, body scan
and gentle yoga (Kabat-Zinn, 1990; 2003). The participants
were also given a CD with recorded exercises to support mind-
fulness practice at home and were encouraged to informally
practice mindfulness at home or work (e.g. mindful lunch,
mindful conversation). The last five sessions were aimed at in-
creasing mindfulness at work and included short mindfulness
exercises and a variety of group exercises—also art based—led
by an experienced facilitator. In these exercises, the participants
identified and shared moments in which they felt present and
mindful at work, as an example.

The training participants were blue- and white-collar work-
ers in a Finnish company in the forestry industry. Initially, 32
employees expressed willingness to participate, but only 25 ac-
tually started the training. The company representative selected
the participants and invited them to the introductory session
and training, but participation was voluntary. The average
number of participants at the training sessions was 17, ranging
from 11 to 25 per session.

Quantitative study

The quasi-experimental design consisted of pre- and post-
measurements among employees of a Finnish forest factory.
The participants completed a survey before (Time 1) and af-
ter the training intervention (Time 2). The analysis included
the 17 participants who completed both the pre- and post-test.
These participants form the experimental group. Eleven (64.7
per cent) were women, and they had an average age of 43 years
and had been at the company for approximately 16 years (SD =
8.2). None had previous mindfulness experience. About 65 per
cent had work which included some supervisory responsibilities

(e.g. factory foreman/woman).
A control group of 19 co-employees answered identical sur-

veys through an electronic answering system. The control group
(N =19) included fewer women and more managers: 52.6 per
cent were women (n=10), and about 84 per cent (n= 16) had
managerial duties. The participants in this group had an aver-
age age of 42 years (SD = 10.43) and had been with the com-
pany for 13.5 years (SD = 9.0). The training and control groups
had no significant differences in the initial mean values for the
main variables measured with independent samples t test.

Pre- and post-test measures
Mindfulness was assessed with the one-dimensional, 14-item
Freiburg Mindfulness Scale (Walach, Buchheld, Buttenmül-
ler, Kleinknecht and Schmidt, 2006). Its scale ranged from 1
(never) to 5 (always). Back translation was used to translate the
scale from English to Finnish.

Positive and negative emotions
Positive and negative emotions were measured with a slightly
modified version of the Short Form of the Positive and Nega-
tive Affect Schedule (PANAS; Thompson, 2007). The re-
spondents were asked to indicate how often they had experi-
enced certain feelings at work during the past week. The scale
ranged from 1 (never) to 5 (always) and included 10 feelings:
upset, hostile, alert, ashamed, inspired, nervous, determined, at-
tentive, afraid and active. Back translation was used.

The Trait Hope Scale (Sneider et al., 1991) was used to explore
the construct of hope. The scale used ranged from 1 (never) to 5
(always), and sub- and total scores were calculated. Back trans-
lation was used to translate the scale from English to Finnish.

The Creativity at Work Scale was developed based on the em-
ployee creativity items (Tierney, Farmer and Graen, 1999).
The respondents were asked to indicate how often they acted in
certain ways at work. The scale included eight statements, such
as ‘I demonstrate originality in my work’, ‘I like to produce new
ideas in doing my job’ and ‘I generate novel but feasible work-
related ideas’. The scale ranged from 1 (never) to 5 (always).

Social relations: connectivity and kindness at work
Connectivity was measured with the Connectivity at Work
Scale adapted from the longer High-Quality Relationship Scale
(Carmeli, Brueller and Dutton, 2009). The respondents were
asked to indicate how often they acted in certain ways at work.
The scale ranged from 1 (never) to 5 (always) and included four
items, such as ‘I am open to listening to my co-workers’ new
ideas’ and ‘I am open to diverse opinions, even if they come from
unconventional sources’.

Friendliness in the workplace was measured with the modi-
fied Kindness at Work Scale developed by Perhoniemi and Ha-
kanen (2010). In practice, the respondents were asked to self-
evaluate, for instance, how often they were friendly to others
or tried to cheer up workmates. Four items were included on a
scale ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (always).

The Shortened Workability Index was used to measure the
respondents’ level of workability (Tuomi, Ilmarinen, Jahkola,
Katajarinne, and Tulkki 1998). The index had two questions:

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How do you rate your current workability regarding the physi-
cal demands of your work? How do you rate your current work-
ability regarding the mental demands of your work? The scale
ranged from 1 (very poor) to 5 (very good).

Quantitative analysis
The quantitative data were analysed with statistical methods
using SPPS 22. The hypotheses were tested with two-way
repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) using time
(Time 1/pre-test vs. Time 2/post-test) by group (training
group vs. control group). Time was the within-subject factor,
while the group the between-subject factor. Finally, a paired
samples t-test was conducted to examine the within-group dif-
ferences between the two time points (see Table 1 p. 23).

Qualitative study

Focus group interviews
Qualitative data were collected through focus group interviews
to capture the participants’ views, opinions and shared experi-
ences of the training and to get a deeper understanding of the
effects of training. Four focus groups were organised. The first
author moderated all the interviews, and the research assistant
helped tape-record them. The interviews were organised in the
factory’s meeting room and lasted approximately 50 minutes
each. All of the interviews were tape-recorded.

The key questions asked in the focus group interviews were:
1. Why did you decide to take this programme? 2. What moti-
vates you to continue with the programme? 3. What challenges
related to the training have you experienced? 4. Have you ob-
served any personal benefits from the programme? 5. How are
you practicing mindfulness outside the training? 6. What has
been your general experience of the training? In addition to
the key questions presented above, more specific questions were
asked in an attempt to elicit broader and more detailed answers.
The interview questions were devised on the basis of prior stud-
ies, for example, the study by Cohen-Katz et al. (2005), and on
observations during training. For instance, researchers noted
that some practices were more unpleasant than others, and this
presented an opportunity to obtain information about the chal-
lenges and possible negative experiences faced by employees.

The company representative invited potential participants to
the focus group interviews and helped with the practicalities
of the meetings. Also, anyone who had already dropped the
training was asked to participate. However, participation was
voluntary, and all of those who expressed willingness to par-
ticipate were admitted. Eighteen participants in the training
(experimental) group also took part in the four focus group
interviews. Two focus groups were held after the first five ses-
sions before the summer break, and the other two after all the
training was completed. The participants included 5 men and
13 women who worked in both office and factory settings. Two
participants dropped out during the first five training sessions.

Qualitative analysis
The interview data were transcribed verbatim and subjected to
inductive data-driven content analysis (Elo and Kyngäs, 2008).
Two researchers independently read the interview transcripts
several times and coded the data. The two analyses were com-
pared, and any differences were discussed to reach mutual un-
derstanding. The analysis was carried out inductively so that
the themes emerged from the data. The same two researchers

analysed all four focus group interviews. Only the themes re-
lated to the perceived benefits and challenges of the training are
reported here.


Quantitative study

Table 1 (p. 24) shows the alphas, means and standard devia-
tions for the training and control groups and the results of the
within-group t-tests.

Two-way repeated measured ANOVA showed a significant
group x time interaction effect on self-reported mindfulness
(F(1,28) = 6.411, p = .02, n2 = .19). This result indicated that
the participants in the training group reported significantly
higher increases in mindfulness between the two time points
than the participants in the control group. Therefore, hypoth-
esis 1 was completely supported (Table 1).

There was a significant group x time interaction effect on self-
reported positive emotions, (F(1,34) = 5.405, p = .03, n2 = .14),
indicating that the increase in positive emotions was significant-
ly higher in the training group than the control group. There
was no significant group x time interaction effect on negative
emotions (F(1,33) = .631, p = .43). Therefore, hypothesis 3a
was supported as positive emotions increased after the training,
as expected, and hypothesis 3b was rejected (Table 1).

There was a significant group x time interaction effect on self-
reported hope pathways (F (1, 32) = 5.347, p = .03, n2 = .14).
This indicated that, compared to the control group, the train-
ing group showed significant increases in hope pathway. There
was no significant group x time interaction effect on hope agen-
cy (F(1,34) = 3.601, p = .07) or on total hope (F(1,33) = 3.974,
p = .06). Therefore, hypothesis 2b was completely supported
(Table 1).

Social relations, creativity and workability
There was no significant group x time interaction effect on
the quality of social relations, namely, connectivity (F(1,34) =
1,154, p = .30) and friendliness (F(1,34) = .002, p = .97). There
was no significant group x time interaction effect on creativity
(F(1,34) = 2,501, p = .12), psychological workability (F(1,34) =
1.193, p = .28) or physical workability (F(1,34) = .035, p = .85).
Hypotheses 4a, 4b, 5 and 6 were rejected as the self-reported
quality of social relations, creativity and workability did not in-
crease significantly after the mindfulness training (Table 1).

Qualitative study

The key themes regarding the effects and benefits of the training
were the physical and emotional benefits, increased awareness,
quality of social interactions, creativity and increased accept-
ance. These themes are described in more detail in this section.

The physical and emotional changes were the most impor-
tant benefits described by all the participants. For instance, the
interviewees reported that their bodies felt more relaxed due to
the training. They were calmer, could keep their calm in dif-
ficult situations and could work with a good spirit. For the par-
ticipants who worked shifts, the practice gave them a tool to fall

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24 http://ejbo.jyu.fi/

asleep. Several participants reported better sleeping in general,
and some blue-collar workers especially highlighted this bene-
fit. For instance, one participant stated: ‘Well, in my opinion, it
is just there—that you know how to pay attention to relaxation.
It is that you are able to fall asleep when you can relax. … Well,
yes, all in all, it has a big impact on overall well-being, that, in a
way, you know how to get yourself relaxed’.

In the training, one of the main mindfulness practices was a
breathing exercise which taught how to stay present in breath-
ing. This practice seemed to help the participants stay present
and calm in difficult work situations. Also, the participants
felt that their stress tolerance increased. Factory-floor workers
did not panic in difficult and demanding situations. The par-
ticipants explained that, for example, when a machine broke
down, they had to deal with the situation quickly and remain
cool-headed. Some white-collar workers felt that their ability
to manage information load improved, as described in the fol-
lowing extract: ‘Well, I have a bad habit of having lots of emails
open at the same time, and then I write a little bit on that and

on that. And then, I have tried to answer one of them, and then
that is done, and then next, so they are not all open at once’.

The participants interviewed described increased awareness.
As the training progressed, the participants felt that they could
more easily notice when they were present in the moment.
They also described thinking more clearly and noticing some
things that they did not previously. At work, this meant, for
instance, that they noticed when they needed to take breaks
or calm down. Some changed their way of working. They de-
scribed working in a more focused way: ‘I think, surely, I have
the same—that you can somehow pay attention to calming
down through breathing. That is the thing. It feels that, all to-
gether, everything goes at this point as hard as in the spring.
That is not the … the situation is what it is’.

The training seems to have greatly varied effects on social
interactions. In general, the participants felt a growing com-
munality within the training group. They considered this to be
quite a remarkable change in the everyday work life in the fac-
tory. In the training groups, the blue- and white-collar workers,

Table 1. Mean scores, SDs, alphas for the study variables and results of within group t-tests

Training group Control group

M SD alpha t df p M SD alpha t df p

Mindfulness pre 3.30 0.38 .88 3.34 0.55 .88
Mindfulness post 3.57 0.42 .90 -2.56 12 .025 3.30 0.51 .89 .53 16 .602

Positive emotions pre 3.75 0.53 .84 3.77 0.55 .79
Positive emotions post 4.09 0.47 .79 -2.88 16 .011 3.74 0.54 .82 .29 18 .774
Negative emotions pre 2.08 0.40 .50 2.18 0.74 .78
Negative emotion post 1.98 0.48 .72 .89 16 .387 2.23 0.70 .77 -.34 17 .736

Social relations
Connectivity pre 4.12 0.57 .83 4.18 0.63 .89
Connectivity post 4.31 0.58 .89 -1.50 16 .154 4.20 0.57 .76 -.12 18 .904
Friendliness pre 4.32 0.48 .76 4.22 0.61 .78
Friendliness post 4.40 0.55 .89 -.70 16 .492 4.30 0.63 .81 -.92 18 .369

Hope agency pre 3.74 0.51 .54 3.53 0.64 .82
Hope agency post 3.90 0.41 .64 -1.32 16 .207 3.39 0.60 .82 1.37 18 .189
Hope pathway pre 3.35 0.39 .63 3.46 0.49 .60
Hope pathway post 3.51 0.53 .75 -1.40 16 .180 3.39 0.60 .82 1.00 17 .331
Hope total pre 3.54 0.38 .69 3.47 0.51 .84
Hope total post 3.71 0.42 .81 -1.49 .158 3.38 0.53 .85 1.35 17 .195

Creativity pre 2.92 0.40 .84 2.95 0.61 .90
Creativity post 3.18 0.58 .90 -2.12 16 .050 2.95 0.59 .89 .06 18 .955

Physical workability pre 4.29 0.47 3.95 1.03
Physical workability post 4.35 0.49 -.44 16 .668 4.05 0.71 -.52 18 .607
Psychological workability pre 4.06 0.66 4.00 0.67
Psychological workability post 4.24 0.56 -1.00 16 .332 3.95 0.78 .44 18 .667

Table 1. Mean Scores, SDs, alphas for the study variables and results within the group t-tests

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even some supervisors, could talk to each other and exchange
ideas as equals. One participant stressed that ‘it has brought,
kind of communality here, too, [that] is beneficial. When there
are different people like in the factory, like in this group, then
you get to know new people’. Many participants also described
situations in which they used more mindful conversation styles.
They told that they had started to listen to each other and had
become more aware of their own ways of talking and listening.
One participant described this: ‘I have paid attention to, let’s
say, someone who says really something important. In a way,
you look at his/her facial expressions, and sometimes you wake
up, and you listen actively’.

The participants also cited benefits related to creativity. They
reported that some new ideas emerged from group work dealing
with the innovation processes in the factory. For instance, one
participant explained how the training helped her think of ideas
and break habitual work routines: ‘Of course, yes, [at work, this
could be useful for getting new ideas]. You are just there and
think about everything, and you are present in what you do. It
would take much more when you are somewhere else. You just
do your work routine and think of something else’.

Increased acceptance meant that the participants could let go
of things more easily. In difficult situations, they could more
clearly see and understand what was happening and accept it
more easily, which seemed to help them move on. A female
participant, for instance, felt that, due to the training, she was
more able to accept and cope with a difficult situation in her
personal life, so it did not disturb her work as much: ‘Well, lets’
say, … for me, it was kind of, of course … let’s say, at the mental
level, this period in my private life was a … heavy spring. In a
way, this … I could let go a little bit in between. I have after-
wards thought that, if I had had this, it would have been much

The analysis showed the different work groups in the first
(spring) and second (autumn) set of focus group discussions
had somewhat different emphases. In the first set of interviews,
the white-collar workers highlighted the importance of com-
munality in the training group. For blue-collar workers, the
most important changes were improved relaxation and sleep
habits, which aided in recovery from work. In autumn (the sec-
ond phase), the white-collar workers highlighted the change in
chaos management and handling information load, while the
blue-collar workers emphasised inventing new ideas and think-
ing clearly.

Challenges in training
In the focus group discussions, the participants also reported
challenges which can be assumed to have influenced how much
they benefited from the training, as briefly discussed here. The
challenges concerned difficulties with home practice, a lack of
social support, odd and difficult mindfulness practices, features
of the environment and a lack of experience in mindfulness

Some participants found it difficult to practice at home be-
tween the training sessions. The primary reasons were difficul-
ties finding time and place at home amid their families. In ad-
dition, some participants confessed that they were too lazy to
practice at home: ‘It is just that laziness. You cannot find that
place and time for it’.

A lack of social support seemed to be a challenge for some
participants. Support from others in the factory would have in-
creased their commitment to the training, according to some
participants. Some interviewees reported that their co-workers,
mostly men, who did not belong to the training group called

the practices odd or even ridiculous. One male participant de-
scribed a specific instance in which social support was lacking:
‘What I heard in the smoking area was, “Oh, you are part of
that mattress club, too”’. Several participants did not complete
the training, which affected negatively the climate of the train-
ing group.

Also, the participants considered some mindfulness practices
to be odd or difficult and were not motivated to do them. These
practices included compassion meditation, yoga, eating, and
talking about their experiences in the group, as the following
extract indicates: ‘Everything was OK, but that walking medi-
tation and that kindness meditation—they were a bit … that
walking meditation was really funny’.

The environment also presented challenges. The physical
space where the sessions were held was considered to be un-
comfortable, especially at the beginning of training. The floor
was cold and drafty, and the noise of machines disturbed the
practice. A female participant, for example, stressed that con-
centrating in such a noisy environment was challenging: ‘At
least, I couldn’t cut out that noise there’. However, later in the
autumn, these challenges no longer seemed to bother the partic-
ipants. The practice had become easier—not as challenging any
more—and the disturbances did not affect the participants in
the same way. Even lying on the floor was considered to be nice.
For instance, a female participant explained that a kind of train-
ing routine developed, and mindfulness training came more eas-
ily: ‘Oh, yes, a certain kind of a routine. It was much easier when
you knew what you were doing with that pillow and blanket. It
was fun to lie down. You really looked forward to it’.


The present study was designed to investigate the effectiveness
of a tailored MBRS-based training intervention at a Finnish
forestry industry company. In addition to conventional pre-
post questionnaires, focus group interviews captured the expe-
riences of the perceived benefits. Thus, the novelty of this study
lies in the implementation of the workplace training among fac-
tory employees and the mixed-methods approach to evaluating
of the effectiveness of the training.

Based on existing empirical evidence, it was hypothesised
that, compared with the participants in the control group, the
participants in the mindfulness-based training group would
show higher increases in mindfulness (H1) and positive af-
fect (H2a) and greater decreases in negative affect (H2b). The
training group was also expected to display higher increases in
hope (H3a), hope agency (H3b) and hope pathways (H3c). Fi-
nally, it was proposed that the training group would experience
higher increases in openness (H4a) and friendliness (H4b) to-
wards co-workers and in self-reported creativity at work (H5)
and physical (H6a) and psychical (H6b) workability.

In general, the results revealed that the training intervention
was effective at increasing the mean scores for the all measured
variables in training group (Table 1.). Unexpectedly, not all the
changes in the mean scores were statistically significant, and
the results of the two-way repeated measures ANOVA sup-
ported only three hypotheses. As hypothesised, mindfulness
levels (H1), positive emotions (H2) and hope pathways (H3c)
increased significantly in the training group compared to the
control group. As expected, the control group reported no sig-
nificant changes. Overall, these findings are in line with existing
evidence suggesting that mindfulness-based training increases
mindfulness levels, positive emotions in general and hope spe-
cifically (e.g. Anderson et al., 2007; Robins et al., 2012; Keng et

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26 http://ejbo.jyu.fi/

al., 2011; Munoz et al. 2016; Schutte and Malouff, 2001; Fre-
drickson et at., 2008).

Unexpectedly, based on the pre-post-test measures, the self-
reported quality of social relations, creativity at work and work-
ability did not increase significantly, so hypotheses 4a, 4b, 5 and
6 were rejected. The discrepancies between the current and pre-
vious findings likely arise from the use of non-identical scales in
studies. For instance, mindfulness and creativity are measured
with multiple scales. More specifically, the self-reported crea-
tivity scales used in the current study clearly differ from those
used to study the ability to resolve insight problems or to gener-
ate ideas as indicators of creativity (c.f. Ostafin and Kassman,

The reported challenges during the training also offer expla-
nations for the results and the absence of some expected effects.
Based on the focus group interviews, the key challenges were
difficulties with home practice, the perceived lack of social sup-
port, odd and difficult mindfulness practices, certain features of
the environment and lack of experience of mindfulness train-
ing. When planning future workplace mindfulness trainings
and interventions, these issues could be taken into account, for
instance, in the selection of the training space and which mind-
fulness practices to present in earlier and later in training. Most
likely, odder and more difficult practices should be introduced
later when the participants have more experience and estab-
lished routines.

However, it is worth noting that the qualitative focus group
interviews indicated benefits related to creativity, workability
and quality of social relations. For instance, the pre- and post-
measurements did not indicate significant increases in creativ-
ity levels, but the qualitative data suggested that the partici-
pants experienced heightened creativity. The participants, for
instance, reported that the training gave them new ideas and
enabled them to break habitual patterns of thought. These
findings support the notion that mindfulness can decrease ha-
bitual thinking, thereby increasing creativity (c.f. Ostafin and
Kassman, 2012). In addition, the pre-and post-tests did not
indicate statistically significant improvements in the quality
of social interactions, but the participants in the focus groups
spontaneously reported experiences related to improved qual-
ity of social interactions, such as a feeling of community and
increased ability to focus on and listen to others. These results
are in line with the claim of Boellinhaus et al. (2014) that quali-
tative studies offer stronger support than quantitative research
that mindfulness increases other-focused concern, which is a
necessary for constructive social interactions. Thus, the results
of the quantitative and qualitative analysis were not identical.
Possible explanations include that not all the participants who
answered the survey were interviewed, and qualitative measures
might simply be more sensitive than quantitative measures (c.f.
Boellinhaus et al., 2014).

However, some quantitative and qualitative results were also
well in line. For instance, based on the pre-post-test, levels of
mindfulness improved significantly due to the training, and
the participants in the qualitative interviews reported improve-
ments to their level of awareness and their ability to be present
in the present moment. In addition, the focus groups interviews
pointed to some benefits not measured in the pre-post-test. For
instance, the questionnaires included no questions about the
relaxation of the physical body or the quality of sleep, but the
interviewees considered these to be important benefits of the
training. These findings accord with existing evidence suggest-
ing that mindfulness is associated with sleep quality and recov-
ery from work (e.g. Hülsheger et al., 2014; 2015). Likely, the

discrepancies arose as the topics and options in the tests were
pre-selected and presented to the respondents, but in the focus
group discussions, the participants were free to raise any ben-
efits or other issues they felt were relevant. Similarly, a system-
atic review of the effects of mindfulness-based interventions on
nurses and nursing students found that qualitative and uncon-
trolled studies cited benefits, such as internal calmness, better
communication and clearer analysis of difficult situations, only
rarely taken into account in randomised controlled trials (Guil-
laumie, Boiral and Champagne, 2016).

Furthermore, based on the current results, a key strength of
a qualitative approach is that it can point to issues, such as ben-
efits and challenges, especially relevant for a particular group
of employees due to the type of work they do. For instance,
some participants did physical shift work, which likely explains
why they highlighted in the interviews that the training enabled
them to relax physically and sleep better. Those doing office
work, in contrast, emphasised benefits associated with better
managing intensive knowledge work and multitasking. There-
fore, it appears that qualitative research might be able to better
inform interventions about occupation- or work-specific factors
and relevant indicators (e.g. quality of sleep, ability to manage
knowledge work) and to take into account communities’ unique
characteristics in planning interventions. Overall, these results
support the view that qualitative data can complement quan-
titative data (c.f. Molina-Azorin, Bergh, Corley and Ketchen,
2017) and thus suggest that integrating or mixing methods can
create synergy and help better understand the benefits and chal-
lenges of mindfulness training in work life settings.

Although this study provides evidence suggesting that mind-
fulness training can increase mindfulness levels, positive emo-
tions and hope based on the pre-post-test and the participants’
experiences of various benefits mentioned in the focus group
discussions, the conclusions must be tempered by the poten-
tial limitations of the study. First, the study design resulted in
small training and control groups. The factory where the train-
ing was held was also quite small, and more than 10 per cent
of all employees were included in either the training or control
group. During the design of the current study, the authors were
not aware of any mindfulness studies on factory employees, so
the training and intervention were designed and planned in
close co-operation with the factory management and human
resource staff to ensure the environmental fit of the procedures.
Doing so was considered to be important as it is well known
that organisational interventions often fail due not to the con-
tent of their design but to contextual and process factors (c.f.
Biron, Karanika-Murray and Cooper, 2012). Therefore, based
on management and staff feedback, some questionnaire scales
were homogenised to ensure the respondents’ ability to answer
fluently. Thus, the scales used are not totally identical with the
original ones, which should be taken into account when com-
paring results between studies.

As well, for practical reasons, follow-up-tests were not con-
ducted, so the current data do not provide information about
the long-term effects. Additionally, some scales used in the cur-
rent study could be applied differently in future studies. For
instance, creativity and the quality of social relations could be
measured through co-workers’ evaluations, instead of or in ad-
dition to self-reported. Further, although the atmosphere of the
focus group discussions was free and positive, that they were
organised at the workplace most likely influenced how they
proceeded. Experiences of mindfulness practices can be quite
personal and not appropriate for sharing at work. Therefore,
participants likely more discussed their experiences related to

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27 http://ejbo.jyu.fi/

work than their personal experiences (c.f. Cohen-Katz et al.
2005). Also, social desirability bias might have appeared, espe-
cially during the focus group interviews. In practice, this means
that participants may have discussed matters and answered
questions intentionally in a manner that would be viewed fa-
vorably by other participants and/or by researchers.

At a more general level, it is important to note that mindful-
ness training in a workplace setting may have specific pitfalls
and limitations. First, some may experience unpleasant feelings
or discomfort during the formal training exercises, especially if
they have a past history of trauma (Creswell, 2017). Second, not
everyone is willing to express, deal with or discuss these feelings
in a workplace setting. Therefore, training may in some cases
threaten employees’ privacy, especially if they have no aware-
ness before the training of potential consequences that may
cause them discomfort. On the other hand, it is widely accepted
that employee well-being depends on multiple factors, such as
individual factors (e.g., level of mindfulness), work-related fac-
tors (e.g., workload), organisational factors (e.g., the organisa-
tion’s culture) and management (e.g., leadership styles). Thus,
in stressful work situations, demanding factors should be iden-
tified and modified accordingly. Mindfulness training should
not be used as the only way of coping with stress, especially in
cases where the stress is clearly a result of factors other than

individual ones, for example, an overly heavy workload, a low
level of autonomy or destructive leadership.

Overall, this study suggests that mindfulness training can
support, at least indirectly, employee well-being as employees’
mindfulness, positive emotions and hopefulness increased sig-
nificantly, and they reported benefits related to the quality of
sleep and ability to relax. Together, these factors lay a strong
foundation for employee well-being. For instance, positive
emotions have been shown to mediate the effect of mindfulness
on work engagement, which is a positive work-related state of
well-being characterised by vigour, dedication and absorption
(Malinowski and Lim, 2015). Furthermore, positive, hopeful
employees seem to be more able to perceive or experience job re-
sources than job demands. Job resources are factors which help
employees to achieve work-related goals, reduce physiological
and psychological costs and stimulate personal growth and de-
velopment (Xanthopoulou, Bakker, Demerouti and Schaufeli,
2007). Finally, the abilities to relax and sleep well are important
contributors to recovery from work (c.f. Hülsheger et al., 2015).

Note: The authors would like to thank Business Finland (former The Finnish
Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) for financial support
(Project name: HYVE 2020: Työ, yhteisö ja kestävä talous). We also
thank Anna-Liisa Liski, Laura Bordi and Jenni Heinonen for assistance.


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Jaana-Piia Mäkiniemi Tampere University, FI-33014 University of Tampere, School of Management, Wellbeing at Work research group

Post-doctoral reseacher Jaana-Piia Mäkiniemi holds a PhD in social psychology. She works with variety of topics related to employee well-
being, such as how to promote and lead well-being in digitalized work-life.
Email: jaana-piia.makiniemi@uta.fi

Kirsi Heikkilä-Tammi Tampere University, FI-33014 University of Tampere, School of Management, Wellbeing at Work research group

Research Director Kirsi Heikkilä-Tammi holds a PhD in adult education and has a long history of working with the themes learning at work
and wellbeing at work. She leads Wellbeing at Work Research Group. She has several research and development projects in this area. She is
also responsible of the wellbeing at work-studies at the University of Tampere.
Email: kirsi.heikkila-tammi@uta.fi


Which strategies are most effective for increasing workplace mindfulness?


Student’s name:


Tentative Outline

Which strategies are most effective for increasing workplace mindfulness?


The course focuses on determining the factors that enhance employee mindfulness and the viability of the strategies in maximizing the organization’s performance. In attaining the goal of the course, research questions were developed, and data collected from various secondary sources to support the theory.

Research question

I. What are the strategies to use in enhancing workplace mindfulness?

II. How can employee burnout be addressed in the organization?

III. What is the difference between workplace burnout and workout stressors?

Background information

A skill for the twenty-first century is the ability to be present and mindful, stay involved intentionally without judging, and do so without judgment. Companies with mindful personnel have an advantage in today’s ever-changing world. When employees are given the permission and space to think – to be present, they build mental agility, resilience, and self-awareness. Mindfulness can also help people feel less emotionally depleted, more receptive to new ideas, and develop their compassion and empathy. In today’s environment, the ability to remain calm and react rapidly to changing conditions is and will continue to be a competitive advantage. Another advantage of having a mindful workplace is the potential to attract new personnel. An increase in mindfulness at work may have a comparable effect, resulting in improved levels of dedication and engagement, lowering the amount of money wasted due to employee turnover (Blaszczynski, 2018).

Methods of research

Document review was the main method used in collecting data to answer the research questions. In this method, articles were searched from various databases after which they were appraised based on their relevance to the main research topic. This led into the use of the most appropriate articles in support the research questions.

2. Findings

I. Workplace mindfulness can be enhanced through mitigating workplace stressors.

When the stressors in a workplace environment are solved, the employee can easily think of ways to enhance productivity. Therefore, mitigation of workplace stressors acts as an intervention to enhance self-awareness and resilience or reduce emotional exhaustion.

II. Incentive alignment can help in enhancing workplace mindfulness.

Simply explained, an employee incentive program or award is a program or prize created in the workplace to motivate and inspire people to perform more. Aside from material objects, rewards are frequently focused on actions or intangible advantages. In these arrangements, the incentives are designed to encourage the employees to handle their tasks effectively (Kersemaekers et al, 2018).

III. Workplace mindfulness training

Teaching or studying mindfulness techniques is a form of training that aims to assist learners in learning how to live more fully in the here and now. Becoming present and aware is a powerful antidote for the common tendency to rehash past experiences or to worry about future scenarios in a workplace setting.

IV. There is a difference between workplace stressors and workplace burnout.

Based on the document analysis done from the sources, workplace burnout is the result of a failure to manage long-term workplace stress successfully. Burnout symptoms include energy depletion or exhaustion, a rise in mental detachment from one’s job, and feelings of negativism or cynicism about one’s career. The word “work stress” refers to the conflicting demands of a person’s job. When employees’ emotional and physical reactions to working demands become uncontrollable, they are under severe work stress.

3. Conclusions

There is a need to develop strategies in an organization that enhances workplace mindfulness. Organizations should focus on ensuring the employees have sufficient space to think about ways to improve their productivity in the organization. Among the strategies that should be implemented include incentive alignment, addressing workplace stressors, and implementing regular mindfulness training.

4. Recommendations

Managers should promote opportunities for employees or their subordinates to engage in behaviors that help cope with stress. Among the behaviors include relaxation practices, physical activity, and proper nutrition. Organizations should develop mandatory vacation and similar stressors-mitigation policies and make the programs a priority (Mäkiniemi & Heikkilä-Tammi, 2018).

5. References

Blaszczynski C (2018). Being Intentional About Workplace Mindfulness Programs, pages 48-53. Accessible from Cal State LA College of Businesnd Economics home page: Scroll down to Academics and click on Business Forum link, then click on cover of Business Forum journal (in yellow)

Kersemaekers, W., Rupprecht, S., Wittmann, M., Tamdjidi, C., Falke, P., Donders, R., … & Kohls, N. (2018). A workplace mindfulness intervention may be associated with improved psychological well-being and productivity. A preliminary field study in a company setting. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 195.


Mäkiniemi, J-P. & Heikkilä-Tammi, K. (2018). Promoting Sustainability: The Effects of Workplace Mindfulness Training. Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, 23 (1), 20-28. Retrieved from 



Which Strategies are Most Effective


Increasing Workplace Mindfulness?

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Section (30910)

XXXXXXX University, Los Angeles

March 18, 2022




Completed Analytical Report Increasing Workplace Mindfulness Most Effective Strategies

Here is the report you requested on (January 30, 2022), Which Strategies are Most Effective or Increasing Workplace Mindfulness?

Data gathered from books, periodicals, and websites support the conclusion that present-moment awareness can be developed via both professional meditation and casual practice in daily life.

I am glad that this opportunity to write this report for you, Dr. XXXXXXXX. If I can answer any questions for you, please let me know.



The research problem in this article is the impact of workplace mindfulness training. Workplace mindfulness training is becoming increasingly popular, with the goal of increasing employees’ awareness of their state of mind and, as a result, their overall well-being. According to previous research, greater mindfulness is related to less stress and faster recovery after a stressful workday. Mindfulness is a state of non-judgmental, present-moment awareness that can be developed via both professional meditation and casual practice in daily life. Mindfulness encompasses a variety of components, including non-reaction, observation, conscious action, and articulating and non-judgmental experiences. Non-reaction, defined as the capacity to pull away from and be unaffected by stressful circumstances, is a critical component of employee welfare. The present study sought to investigate the impact of workplace mindfulness-based stress management training for manufacturing employees using quantitative and qualitative approaches.

The research study employed a quasi-experimental design and focus group interviews on data collection. In this quasi-experimental approach, pre-and post-measurements were taken between the Finnish forest industry workers. Before and following the instruction, participants filled out surveys (at Time 1 and Time 2). (Time 2). The 17 people who took the pre-and post-tests were included in the study. The study looked at the 17 people who took both the pre-and post-tests. These people are in the experimental group. Eleven of the people who worked in the industry were women, and they were all over the age of 43 and had worked there for about 16 years. SPPS 22 was used to do statistical analysis on the quantitative data. In order to assess the hypotheses, a two-way repeated test analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used. Focus group interviews were used to gather qualitative information about the training to capture the respondents’ perspectives, thoughts, and shared memories and gain a better comprehension of the training’s impacts.

The pre-post assessment results suggested that, compared to the control group, the mindfulness-based training team showed considerably more significant gains in mindfulness, positive feelings, and hope pathways following training. Additionally, the data from the interviews suggested that relaxation, innovation at work, the nature of social contacts, and sleep quality all had favorable benefits. Further, participants identified obstacles during the program, including inexperience, unusual and challenging mindfulness exercises, difficulty with house practices, low social support, as well as the demanding characteristics of the environment.

In conclusion, this study shows that mindfulness training can have a favorable impact on employee welfare, at least implicitly, by increasing employees’ awareness, pleasant emotions, a sense of hope, and their capacity to sleep and rest. These variables form a solid basis for employee well-being and productivity when taken together. According to research, positive emotions, such as joy and happiness, can moderate the influence of mindfulness on work engagement. Work engagement is defined as a good sense of well-being associated with one’s job characterized by vigor, devotion, and absorption. Moreover, optimistic and hopeful employees appear to be more capable of perceiving or experiencing workplace resources than work demands. When developing future workplace mindfulness workshops and solutions, the identified issues could be incorporated, for example, in selecting the training location and the mindfulness exercises to include in the initial and subsequent stages of training. Probably, stranger and more challenging practices ought to be added later, after participants have gained expertise and developed routines.


27, ISSUE 1


. … ‘

BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 1

  • Business Forum
  • is dedicated to improving the effectiveness of business in contemporary
    society. We provide a forum for fresh ideas, impactful research, and possible solutions to business
    challenges. We strive to close the gap between research and practice and enable evidence-based
    business management.

    Our peer-reviewed articles address specialized and interdisciplinary issues of interest to
    business practitioners. We accept manuscripts from all domains of business, usually themed by
    a particular journal issue. We also publish reviews of books and digital materials of interest to
    our audiences as well as important insights shared by business and civic leaders.

    Business Forum is published semiannually as an educational service of the College of Business
    and Economics at California State University, Los Angeles. As such, papers addressing
    economic development in our region, or useful to its business managers or for the public good
    are especially welcome.

    Marianne James, Ph.D., CPA, CMA, Cal State LA

    Editorial Board Members
    Andre S. Avramchuk, Ph.D., CGEIT, Cal State LA

    Vickie Coleman Gallagher, Ph.D., Cleveland State University
    Tyrone Jackson, Ph.D., Cal State LA

    Xiaoquan Jiang, Ph.D., Florida International University
    Michael R. Manning, Ph.D., Benedictine University

    Robert Marley, Ph.D., CPA, University of Tampa

    Managing Editor
    Xiaohan Zhang, Ph.D.

    Digital Works / Book Review Editor
    Shirley Stretch-Stephenson, Ph.D.

    Copy Editors
    Rhonda Albey and Masood Khan

    Issue Editor
    Andre S. Avramchuk, Ph.D.

    Cover design by Pablo Martinez

    ISSN: 0733-2408
    Publisher: College of Business and Economics, Cal State LA

    5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90032
    Phone: 1-323-343-2942




    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 2


    Editorial ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………3
    Andre S. Avramchuk

    Adapting to an Evolving Healthcare Environment ……………………………………………………………………………..5

    Cástulo de la Rocha

    Cal State LA’s Mind Matters Initiative: Making a Difference ……………………………………………………………..7

    Jillian Beck


    Pixels and Patients: Using Technological Innovations to Reduce Healthcare Costs and
    Improve Health Outcomes …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………8
    David R. Weinstein
    Lonnie S. Barish
    Micah P. Frankel

    Addressing Employee Burnout Through Mitigation of Workplace Stressors ………………………………………..17
    Portia Jackson Preston

    Fast Food, Supermarkets, and Obesity in the Inner City: A Study of Food Access and Health in South
    Los Angeles ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….24
    Tom Larson
    Deborah Compel Larson

    Who Did the Affordable Care Act Help and Who Did It Fail? ……………………………………………………………..33
    Zhen Cui
    Devika Hazra

    Lessons from the Healthcare Funding Challenges at Konkola Copper Mines in Zambia? …………………….39
    Mwadi Kakoma Chakulya
    Francis Wambalaba
    Barbara W. Son

    Being Intentional About Workplace Mindfulness Programs ………………………………………………………………..48
    Carol Blaszczynski


    The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D. ………………………………………………………..54
    H. Rika Houston

    Call for Paper Submissions and Reviewers


    Sponsors ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………58

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 3


    It is an exciting time at the Business Forum, a peer-reviewed,
    scholar-practitioner journal published by the College of Business and
    Economics at Cal State LA. The journal provided scholarly advice and
    application to business practice since the mid-1970s and is now renewed
    in a modern print-online format. Our articles have always aimed to
    advance business practice through application of research or theoretical
    synthesis of information relevant to business. This Healthcare Currents
    issue is not an exception, as we highlight an array of interesting topics
    from reviewing healthcare technology advancements that contribute to
    reductions in costs of care to helping managers understand wellbeing
    and mindful practices at work.

    We open with two vignettes setting a practical context for the articles. The President of AltaMed
    Health Services Corporation shares how his company handles healthcare industry changes and
    leads the way into technological and service innovation in the underinsured Southern California
    communities and beyond. The “Mind Matters” initiative in the second vignette showcases one
    of the wellbeing programs that engender positive change in how work-and-study community
    members empower themselves with knowledge about compassionate engagement and managing
    stress. Echoing previous research on compassion and change (e.g., Avramchuk, Manning, &
    Carpino, 2013; Worline & Dutton, 2017), both vignettes illustrate the need for leaders to take their
    organizations further on a path toward social responsibility and human thriving.

    The main Articles section begins with a review of technologies for monitoring and supporting
    patient care remotely. David Weinstein, Lonnie Barish, and Micah Frankel lead us on a fascinating
    journey into innovative market solutions targeting improvements in preventive care and therefore
    increasing its quality while reducing overall care costs. The quality-versus-costs dilemma (Bradley
    & Taylor, 2015) is central in the healthcare management field, and most articles chosen for this
    special issue try to tackle it in some practical way.

    Addressing healthcare costs from a workplace angle, for example, Portia A. Jackson Preston
    synthesizes the literature on workplace stressors and shares evidence-based recommendations for
    dealing with employee burnout. Tom Larson and Deborah Compel Larson then take us outside of
    the workplace and into a South Los Angeles community to demonstrate through their research how
    the food deserts in urbanized environments coexist with the obesity epidemic and other healthcare
    cost drivers among our local population, including its working-age segment.

    Among the key currents in our healthcare field is the set of monumental changes due to the
    enactment and ongoing implementation challenges of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care
    Act of 2010 (ACA). Zhen Cui and Devika Hazra have examined the associated positive and


    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 4

    negative impacts on healthcare cost coverage and provide interesting, original statistics on who the ACA
    helped and who it failed in this regard. Their research gives insight into the issue of health insurance
    for the self-employed and suggests policymaking implications for healthcare coverage of part-time
    employees in the United States.

    Mwadi Kakoma Chakulya, Francis Wambalaba, and Barbara W. Son bring into the spotlight an
    increasingly important, global view on employee healthcare financing through a unique case of Zambian
    copper miners. The authors’ survey research illuminates the nuances in employee attitudes toward
    paying for healthcare costs, producing potentially useful lessons for the unionized miner workforces in
    particular and labor-management partnerships in general.

    We then close with the article by Carol Blaszczynski that harnesses and showcases the power of workplace
    mindfulness through a synthesis of literature and current organizational practices. The author presents a
    compelling business case for mindfulness programs in different work settings and across employee and
    management job levels. The article furthers the encouragement from several authors of this special issue
    to build organizational communities for a sustainable workplace and a healthy society.

    Finally, H. Rika Houston reviews The Gene: An Intimate History, a book by Siddhartha Mukherjee, that
    helps us to “challenge and reimagine preconceived notions of health and wellness” (Houston, 2018, p.
    54). As we struggle to reconcile business imperatives with societal priorities (Rosenthal, 2018), there are
    paradigm shifts emerging to affect the core of what we know about our struggles, passions, and nature.
    The Business Forum journal aspires to bring our audiences fresh perspectives on how to work effectively
    and organize efficiently yet continue to live with wonder about a better world filled with creativity,
    innovation, and purpose. The Healthcare Currents issue attempts to deliver on this hefty promise.

    Andre S. Avramchuk
    Issue Editor


    Avramchuk, A. S., Manning, M. R., & Carpino, R. A. (2013). Compassion for a change: A review
    of research and theory. In A. B. (Rami) Shani, W. A. Pasmore, R. W. Woodman, & D. A. Noumair (Eds.),
    Research in Organizational Change and Development, Vol. 21, pp. 201-232. Bingley, U.K.: Emerald.
    Bradley, E. H., & Taylor, L. A. (2015). The American health care paradox: Why spending more
    is getting us less. New York, NY: PublicAffairs.
    Houston, H. R. (2018). The gene: An intimate history by Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., Business
    Forum, 27(1), pp. 54-55.
    Rosenthal, E. (2018). An American sickness: How healthcare became big business and how you
    can take it back. New York, NY: Penguin.
    Worline, M. C., & Dutton, J. E. (2017). Awakening compassion at work: The quiet power that
    elevates people and organizations. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 5

    If you’ve been
    paying attention to
    what’s happening in
    Washington, D.C., you
    know that change is,
    ironically, a constant in
    health care. This includes
    new policies from our
    nation’s capital as well
    as the medical needs of
    our communities. Over
    the last several years,
    AltaMed Health Services
    has adapted to these
    changes and has forged

    itself as a leader in ensuring access to health care and
    preventive services. Whatever happens in Washington,
    we are dedicated to continuing our nonprofit mission of
    providing quality health care without exception to each
    and every person we serve.

    In more than four decades of operation, our key to success
    remains our focus on serving our local communities,
    particularly the underinsured. This has helped AltaMed
    grow from one storefront neighborhood clinic, staffed by
    volunteer physicians who treated 11,000 patients a year
    on a five-figure budget, into a $600 million health care
    provider with nearly 2,700 employees, delivering more
    than one million patient visits annually.

    One of the hurdles we faced in achieving this growth was
    adapting to a state health care market that moved from a
    fee-for-service model to a managed care system. To remain
    competitive, we had to shift from operating as a grant-
    driven organization to a market-driven one with the ability
    to provide contracted Medi-Cal, Medicare and commercial
    health care services to every HMO in the region.

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) proved to be both a
    challenge and a growth opportunity. When the ACA was
    enacted, it was a victory for health care advocates across

    the nation. It also became a game changer for community
    clinics. It enabled us to receive reimbursement for much
    more of the care we provided, because more patients now
    had private insurance or began to qualify for Medicaid
    because of its expansion. Community clinics like ours
    were able to use federal grants to expand facilities and
    add services, such as dentistry, urgent care or mental
    health care. Many clinics that once spent years in the
    red, barely able to keep their doors open, are now finally
    breaking even because of the ACA.

    Patients who became insured as a result of the new
    legislation were now able to visit the doctor without
    the fear of unexpected medical costs. They have the
    security of a known co-pay and deductible, and can plan
    accordingly. In the case of Medicaid patients, they have
    the security of knowing that lack of income will not get in
    the way of their need for medical care.

    At AltaMed, we have traditionally treated and prepared
    ourselves to act as safety net to a largely low-income
    demographic that would otherwise have very limited
    options for receiving medical care. Close to 185,000 of
    our patients – approximately 70 percent – currently rely
    on Medicaid for coverage across Los Angeles and Orange
    counties. Our ratio of Medicaid patients is significantly
    higher than the Medicaid coverage rate across California,
    as approximately one-third of California residents under
    65 are on Medi-Cal.

    We also have more than 50,000 patients who do not
    qualify for traditional coverage. These are patients who
    rely on our sliding fee scale and the fee-for-service

    The implementation of the ACA forced us to increase the
    number of facilities we offer, to expand our capacity to
    serve more patients, improve and manage our operational
    costs, and ensure that we consistently deliver the best
    possible outcomes for our patients. Adjusting to the
    law was a difficult, two-year effort, but it helped move

    Adapting to an Evolving Healthcare Environment
    By Cástulo de la Rocha

    Cástulo de la Rocha is President and Chief Executive Officer of AltaMed Health Services Corporation, the largest nonprofit Federally Qualified
    Health Center in California in the nation. A social architect, Mr. de la Rocha has changed the faces of the communities AltaMed serves by
    expanding a sustainable and innovative model of health care delivery to provide access to quality care for millions of underserved patients.
    Accredited by the Joint Commission as a Patient Centered Medical Home, AltaMed is home to nearly 2,700 employees, provides care to
    approximately 300,000 patients, and delivers more than one million patient visits annually across nearly 50 medical, dental, HIV and PACE sites in
    Los Angeles and Orange counties.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 6

    AltaMed from the bottom quartile in performance to
    being ranked among Kaiser Permanente, CareMore and
    others as a top health care provider.

    If Congress repeals the ACA, California could lose
    $20 billion annually in federal funding for Medicaid
    expansion and insurance subsidies, leaving 7.5 million
    Californians without access to affordable insurance
    coverage. It will be a dark, dark day in this country’s
    history if we suddenly terminate coverage for the 22
    million Americans who now receive some kind of benefit
    through the ACA.

    Although plans for a replacement continue to be
    discussed in Congress, they just aren’t good enough.
    Many of the previously proposed plans have included
    potential cuts to Medicaid, which would largely affect the
    working poor and elderly. Getting rid of the individual
    mandate that all legal residents must be insured would
    likely mean that young, healthy people would stop
    buying plans, and insurers would once again be footing
    the greater part of the bill to cover people with higher
    medical expenses. That would lead to increased premiums
    and out-of-pocket costs for those who do continue to
    purchase insurance. By one estimate, 10 percent of those
    living in Los Angeles, Fresno, Kern, San Bernardino,
    San Joaquin and Tulare counties have received benefits
    under ACA. Some of these regions are represented by
    Republicans and have large numbers of Republican voters
    who’ve taken advantage of the ACA’s benefits. This is
    also true of many of the key states Republicans carried in
    the November election.

    In 2015, U.S. health care costs reached an all-time high
    of $3.2 trillion, partly due to millions of Americans
    gaining coverage through the ACA. Employers, small
    businesses and chambers of commerce have to take a
    more active role in the debate over affordable health care.
    In particular, we have a significant stake in serving the
    Latino market where there are significant numbers of
    unemployed and working poor. Washington has floated
    many proposals, including health care spending accounts
    and tax credits. We have to become actively engaged to
    ensure that whatever policy Republicans and Democrats
    pass will continue to provide access to affordable health
    care for the maximum possible number of people. The
    consequences of not instituting a policy solution that
    keeps health care affordable would create an undue
    burden for working-class Americans.

    And though we have seen ideas floated around, like
    expansion of tax-free health savings accounts or selling
    insurance plans across state lines, the best way to increase
    access to health care is yet to be determined. That said,

    AltaMed will continue working closely with Covered
    California to identify the greatest need for coverage that
    remains in our state, and we will continue to offer one-on-
    one assistance at our health centers to ensure that no one
    who qualifies in our community is left without coverage.
    We will continue to operate until changes are solidified,
    and we will do our best to continue advocating for those
    who are still seeking coverage assistance.

    The effect that the ACA has had on operating budgets,
    revenue and margins has forced some providers, like
    Aetna and United Healthcare, to leave the program. On
    a local level, we’ve seen Anthem Blue Cross exit the
    Covered California market. However, since the ACA
    became law, health care cost increases have been in the
    single-digit range, compared to previous increases of 12
    to 20 percent. To contain future health care costs, doctors,
    hospitals, clinics and pharmacies will need to move away
    from a fee-based system, reliant on volume, to a value-
    based system with a capped monthly rate for services.

    Across the spectrum, we all share responsibility for
    managing health care costs. As employers, we need to
    monitor and continually evaluate the care our employees
    receive and work with insurers to better manage those
    costs through wellness and other programs. Both
    employers and individuals have a role to play in choosing
    providers that deliver the best performance. Lastly,
    employees need to become more informed consumers
    and demand the information that will help them make
    decisions about their health care.

    Health care will soon resemble the consumer market
    in that breakthrough innovations are being driven by
    data and technology. Providers that leverage data and
    technology to engage their patients will be the winners.
    For AltaMed, it means we have to use more strategic
    technology to deliver cost-effective, high-quality medical
    care. We’re already using electronic medical records in
    our back offices, and electronic prescription management
    and telemedicine in the clinical setting. Where technology
    will be especially helpful is connecting bilingual
    psychologists, cardiologists, dermatologists and other
    specialists with our patients. That’s a major challenge for
    providers, but advances like smartphone apps and remote
    medicine will help us meet patients’ needs anywhere and
    anytime. In order to stay relevant, we have to keep up
    with the times and continue to listen and meet the ever-
    changing needs of the communities we serve.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 7

    Cal State LA’s Mind Matters Initiative:
    Making a Difference
    By Jillian Beck | Cal State LA News Service

    The goal of the Mind Matters initiative at
    California State University, Los Angeles
    is to integrate inner well-being into the
    framework of University life as a means
    of supporting student success.

    Cal State LA President William A.
    Covino and First Lady Dr. Debbie
    Covino created the Mind Matters
    initiative in 2013 to provide resources and
    programs to help students navigate the
    demands of academic excellence, family
    responsibilities and jobs. The President
    and First Lady realize that without inner
    well-being, there is no academic success.

    The Mind Matters initiative comes at a
    time when college students nationwide are
    experiencing high levels of stress, including
    problems caused by sleep deprivation and
    anxiety about adjusting to university life.

    “Now, perhaps more than ever, we need
    to ensure that our students understand
    the importance of caring for their inner
    selves,” President Covino said. “And we
    are providing them with ways to do so.”

    To help ensure student success, additional
    counselors have been hired for the Student
    Health Center, doubling the number
    available to assist students. Space was
    renovated in the center to accommodate
    the additional counseling and workshops
    and activities were added to promote
    physical and mental well-being.

    The number of peer health educators on
    the Student Health Advisory Committee
    (SHAC) has also expanded to more than
    50 students. These volunteers help educate
    students about health and wellness issues.

    Mind Matters programs include Well-
    Being Wednesdays, which promote
    inner well-being by encouraging a
    campus culture based on compassionate

    engagement and mutual support. Mind
    Matters and SHAC volunteers, Well-
    Being Ambassadors and the new Mind
    Matters eagle mascot, Welly, promote
    inner well-being on the Main Walkway on
    Wednesdays with materials that reinforce
    the values of care and compassion.

    More than 440 faculty, students and
    staff, including the President’s Leader-
    ship Team, have been trained in Mental
    Health First Aid, an eight-hour course
    that teaches participants how to identify,
    understand and respond to signs of mental
    illnesses and substance use disorders. The
    training provides skills needed to reach
    out and provide initial help and support
    to someone who may be developing a
    mental health or substance use problem
    or experiencing a crisis. On Well-Being
    Wednesdays, those trained in Mental
    Health First Aid wear green “We Care, I
    Care” buttons.

    The Mind Matters initiative also features a
    speaker series, providing students, faculty
    and staff with insights on compassion,
    inner well-being and time management.

    The engaging speakers have included Los
    Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez
    and Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J., founder
    of Homeboy Industries.

    The Mind Matters Town Halls have been
    of great value to the campus commu-
    nity, complementing the civic-learning
    research Cal State LA students carry out
    in their classes. During the gatherings,
    students have created action plans for the
    health and well-being of the University
    community. Town halls are a proven
    practice that can contribute to student
    success and degree completion. More than
    2,000 students have participated in Mind
    Matters Town Halls, and another 2,500
    are expected to participate in the 2017-18
    academic year.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 8

    A R T I C L E S



    David R. Weinstein
    Extropy Health Solutions

    Lonnie S. Barish

    WellSpring Pharma Services

    Micah P. Frankel
    California State University, East Bay

    SUMMARY: Advancements in remote monitoring technologies provide new opportunities to
    mitigate the growth of healthcare costs while improving patient health outcomes. These
    technologies have the promise to positively impact a patient’s health by producing and
    contributing additional, valuable and timely “health information pixels” to the picture of a
    patient’s clinical profile. In this article, we review how the use of remote monitoring and support
    technologies to gather data, digitally connect patient data to healthcare teams, and generate
    actionable messages may further contribute to addressing the key dilemma of improving
    healthcare quality while reducing healthcare costs.


    The United States continues to grapple with significant challenges posed by the magnitude
    of healthcare costs and their year-over-year rate of growth. For example, family deductibles under
    the Affordable Care Act averaged over $12,000 for 2017 bronze plans, while average premiums
    rose over 20% from the prior year (Mangan, 2016). Average healthcare spending in 2016 was over
    $10,000 per capita in the United States. These numbers are projected to rise by another 50%
    between now and 2025, so even just a 1% reduction in actual healthcare spending growth rates
    will have a significant impact on absolute costs (Kamal & Sawyer, 2017). Advancements in remote
    monitoring technologies provide new opportunities to mitigate the growth in healthcare costs while
    improving patient health outcomes. These technologies have the promise to positively impact a
    patient’s health by producing and contributing additional, valuable and timely “health information
    pixels” to the picture of a patient’s clinical profile. In this article, we review how the use of remote
    monitoring and support technologies to gather data, digitally connect patient data to healthcare

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 9

    teams, and generate actionable messages may further contribute to addressing the key dilemma of
    improving healthcare quality while reducing healthcare costs.

    Medication Adherence

    One area targeted by these new technologies is poor medication adherence. The World

    Health Organization defines medication adherence as “the degree to which the person’s behavior
    corresponds with the agreed recommendations from a healthcare provider” (Jose & Beena, 2011,
    p. 155). Poor medication adherence is a growing concern for clinicians, healthcare systems, and
    other stakeholders (e.g., payers) because of mounting evidence that it is prevalent and associated
    with adverse outcomes and higher costs of care (Ho, 2009).

    The statistics are staggering. Poor medication adherence costs the healthcare system nearly
    $300 billion per year in additional doctor visits, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations
    (Bresnick, 2015). Chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia (i.e., high
    cholesterol) affect one out of every 10 American adults (Chronic Disease Overview, 2017) and
    account for 86% of healthcare costs (At A Glance 2015, 2015). Poor medication adherence may
    affect 50% of all patients and increases the likelihood of a hospitalization by up to 134% for
    chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol (Chronic Disease
    Overview, 2017). In 2003, the World Health Organization identified medication non-adherence as
    a leading cause of preventable morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs (World Health
    Organization, 2003).

    Data Pixelation

    Past efforts at improving medication adherence have suffered from “data pixelation,” the
    concept from computer graphics used to describe blurry digital images caused by a dearth of
    pixels—the information elements of these images. Data on daily medication dosing is rare.
    Physicians typically rely upon monthly prescription insurance claims created when patients pick
    up their medications at the pharmacy (Lam, 2015). Monthly data provide a fairly coarse view of
    the patient’s adherence behavior and are usually actionable only weeks or months after the fact.
    The metaphor of a low-resolution digital photo is striking; with their relatively few data points,
    monthly prescription insurance-claims data present a pixelated, under-informed view of the
    patient’s true medication adherence.

    Consequently, physicians often make assumptions about medication dosing behavior
    which may not comport with the facts (Goldberga, Cohena, & Rubinb, 1998; Hulka et al., 1976;
    Rand & Wise, 1994). Generally, physicians tend to overestimate the level of their patients’
    adherence to therapy (Philips, 1996). “Non-adherence to medications reduces treatment benefits
    and can confound the clinician’s assessment of therapeutic effectiveness, and is thought to account
    for 30% to 50% of cases where drugs fall short of their therapeutic goals” (Wroth & Pathman,
    2006, p. 478).

    Let us consider a hypertensive patient who forgets to take prescribed blood pressure
    medication every other day. This poor adherence behavior produces two health risks. First, by not
    taking medication as prescribed, the patient’s blood pressure may remain above the clinical goal,
    impacting long-term health through increased risk of cardiovascular events (Green, Kwok, &
    Durrington, 2002). Second, in response to the patient’s continued high blood pressure, the
    physician may raise the daily dose of blood pressure medication. Consequently, if the patient

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 10

    adheres more to the medication regimen in the future, the increased dose may create a risk of an
    undesired decrease in blood pressure resulting in lightheadedness or fainting (Victor, 2016).

    Smart Medication Vial Caps

    Among the patient-level factors underlying poor medication adherence, the leading cause
    is forgetfulness (Bosworth, 2012). One recent technological development aimed at improving
    medication adherence caused by forgetfulness as well as providing physicians with less pixelated
    views of the patient’s medication adherence is the smart medication vial cap or “smartcap.”

    Smartcaps have been introduced to the market by several companies in recent years and
    may be purchased for under $50, making them accessible to many consumer budgets (Ulanoff,
    2017). To use a smartcap to help support adherence, patients download an application (app) onto
    their smartphones, set a medication dosing schedule (e.g., “every day at 7:00 p.m.”), and sync the
    app with the smartcap. Smartcaps may be configured to fit on standard prescription medication
    vials and may be reused on prescription refills. In an encouraging sign for the smartcap industry,
    the Center for Connected Health, a division of Partners Health Care, reported a 27% increase in
    medication adherence under a randomized controlled study it performed with hypertensive patients
    using smartcaps (Brian, 2010).

    How Smartcaps Work

    Smartcaps employ a multi-modal approach to supporting good medication adherence. The
    smartcap illuminates or glows when a medication dose is due, and the smartcap app produces a
    dose alert on the patient’s phone. Dose reminders can also be configured to be sent to a patient by
    SMS, email, or phone call. When a patient opens the smartcap to take a medication dose, the
    smartcap sends data to the app recording the event. If a patient is late in taking a dose, the cap will
    glow again, and the smartphone app will remind the patient accordingly by SMS, email, or phone
    call. If the patient takes the medication dose at any time during this process, the reminders for that
    dose will stop. Non-responsiveness is recorded as a missed dose (i.e., non-adherence). If the patient
    is away from the medication vial, a taken dose can be logged directly via the smartphone app.

    Through this process, reports on daily dosing are created on the smartphone and can be
    shared with the patient’s physician at the next office visit. These data add greater “pixels” to the
    picture of the patient’s medication adherence. By recording dose-level data, the “resolution” of the
    patient’s adherence picture is increased from a single data point per month—the data produced by
    prescription insurance claims—to 30 or more data points per month.

    Sentinel Support

    The smartcap also empowers a patient’s friends or relatives as a powerful medication
    adherence support system. Not unlike a feature found in both Facebook and LinkedIn, a smartcap
    user can send another individual a “med friend” invitation. The med friend receives alerts when
    the patient’s medication doses are missed; patients can configure when those alerts are triggered
    (e.g., one hour after a missed dose) and how those alerts are delivered to the med friend (e.g., SMS,
    email, phone call). While the mechanics of a med-friend functionality seem simple, the impact of
    having someone whom a patient trusts to support their appropriate medication dosing is powerful.
    Economics dictate that physicians cannot be expected to fill the sentinel role for medication

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 11

    adherence. Now, through the use of technology, free support from friends and relatives can be
    integrated into the patient’s care system.

    In addition to the sentinel support provided by med friends, the power of smartcap is
    enhanced by the Hawthorne Effect, a well-documented phenomenon from social sciences whereby
    an individual’s awareness of monitored behavior biases that behavior toward the desires of the
    monitoring agent (The Hawthorne Effect, 2008). In this example, knowing that a med friend will
    receive an alert if a dose is missed may contribute to reducing the likelihood of missing a dose in
    the first place.

    Additional Health Information Pixels

    The challenges posed by data pixelation in health care are not limited to medication

    adherence management. Let us continue considering a hypertensive patient, assuming medication
    adherence can be under control with smartcap support. The patient visits a physician for a regular
    monthly check-up where the blood pressure is measured as part of the encounter. The blood
    pressure reading, however, is only a single data point and may not be representative of typical
    blood pressure levels during the preceding 30 or more days. Wearable smart blood pressure cuffs
    (“smartcuffs”) may provide a solution to this challenge by both reading daily blood pressure levels
    as well as uploading the data to the patient’s smartphone to produce time-series reports for
    physician review. Between the data provided by smartcap (medication adherence) and the
    smartcuff (blood pressure time series), the physician would have a clearer, less pixelated picture
    of the patient’s blood pressure and medication adherence.

    Multiple Sclerosis Example

    The challenges posed by data pixelation are not limited to behavioral or vital sign
    interpretations. Data pixelation also impacts physicians’ abilities to manage diseases of motion
    such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), where patient progress is often measured subjectively. There are
    over 20 different MS medications on the market (Medications for Multiple Sclerosis, 2017).
    Today, medication selection and evaluation for MS patients involve considerable trial and error
    (New Survey Finds Multiple Sclerosis Patients Struggle with Misdiagnosis and Invisible
    Symptoms, 2017). It is not uncommon for the cost of MS medication therapy to exceed $5,000 per
    month, so determining the proper medication and dose as soon as possible can significantly reduce
    unnecessary costs (Hartung, 2015).

    As part of the evaluation process of current medication therapy, a physician would typically
    ask the MS patients to describe how they are feeling during face-to-face office visits. Perhaps a
    particular patient just walked a long distance from the car to the office, generating a response of
    “not too well.” Even if such a patient’s response was appropriately qualified, the physician is still
    faced with assessing the patient’s condition based upon largely subjective data. An objective, time-
    series report of how an MS patient’s physical pathway has presented over the past month or two
    would be extremely informative to the physician. Because it is a disease manifesting in motion,
    another technological innovation, the accelerometer, makes it possible to provide objective, time-
    series data to physicians. An accelerometer is an electromechanical device that measures and
    records acceleration-of-motion forces. Accelerometers are found in smartphones, smartwatches,
    and automobiles. They can also be incorporated into bracelets or similar wearable devices that
    patients can have on their bodies. Accelerometers are inexpensive; in 2013, the average price of
    an accelerometer was less than a dollar (Carbone, 2013). A recent study showed that

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 12

    accelerometers can be used to objectively quantify physical activity levels in individuals with MS
    with different disability levels (Fjeldstad, 2015). By pairing two or more accelerometers worn by
    an MS patient, perhaps one on the wrist and one on the ankle, a physician can gather time-series
    information read by these devices—“painting” additional pixels into a more holistic picture of the
    patient’s progress. Consequently, accelerometers have the promise to help reduce the time to reach
    effective medication therapy in MS patients, improving outcomes and reducing healthcare costs.

    Incentive Alignment

    Ultimately, for this paradigm of remote monitoring, positive behavior reinforcement, and

    more informative data production to become widely adopted, patients will need to find satisfaction,
    ease of use, and value in using these supporting devices; and payers will need to find value in
    sponsoring the costs of purchasing the devices and compensating physicians to monitor them. The
    good news is that incentive alignment among these stakeholders has already begun.


    Patient satisfaction is critical to facilitate widespread adoption of remote monitoring. One
    study of asthma patients using a remote inhaler sensor found that over 90% of respondents reported
    satisfaction using the device, and over 50% felt that their asthma was better controlled as a result
    of using the device (Merchant, 2016). Similarly, a study at the Joslin Diabetes Center examined
    patients via a survey tool about certain aspects of their diabetic care. The patients in the treatment
    group used a remote glucose-monitoring device and shared data collected by the devices with care
    management teams. The study found that these patients “reported a significantly higher perception
    of adherence to diabetes self-care recommendations, lower diabetes-related emotional distress and
    an enhanced experience of health care delivery” (Bose, 2016, p. 1).

    Government Payers

    In recent years, changes in payment structures have developed to motivate physicians to
    embrace innovative solutions that reduce the growth in healthcare spending while improving
    health outcomes. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) contains
    elements that link compensation of healthcare providers to the quality of care they deliver. For
    example, the ACA provides for the formation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), loosely
    defined affiliations that may include physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers to deliver
    care to Medicare patients (Gold, 2015). An ACO may participate in a Shared Savings Program
    (SSP) in which it can receive bonuses from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
    based upon cost savings if it also meets quality thresholds defined by CMS (Lazerow, 2014). With
    SSPs, physicians in ACOs have a financial incentive to deliver cost-effective quality care.

    In 2015, CMS initiated an incentive for physicians in the form of a reimbursement schedule
    for Chronic Care Management Services (CCM) (CMS.gov, 2017). Using a new billing code for
    CCM, CPT 99490, physicians now have an avenue for additional recurring revenue of between
    $43 and $94 per month to remotely monitor patients with chronic diseases (Centers for Medicare
    & Medicaid Services, 2016). This revenue is accretive to that received by physicians participating
    in Shared Savings Programs or other quality driven incentives. By providing a cost effective type
    of “physician extender,” remote monitoring technologies can play a meaningful role in helping
    physicians realize these additional financial rewards.

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    Commercial Payers

    There are also signs that commercial payers are beginning to embrace payment for remote
    monitoring and data collection. For example, a remote monitoring patch that can detect and
    diagnose irregular heart rhythms is covered by Medicare and several commercial plans (irhythm,
    2017). In 2016, Humana joined a program called Air Louisville—albeit as an employer—in which
    asthma patients were given a commercially available sensor to use with their inhalers in order to
    help drive better asthma-patient outcomes (Propeller Health, 2016). While the program is funded
    by a third party (Robert Wood Foundation), positive results among Humana employees should
    serve to encourage the insurer to cover the device in the future.

    Positive Financial Returns

    Widespread payer support of these technologies will require demonstrations that they can
    produce financial returns. Since 2012, CMS has imposed severe penalties on hospitals for high
    readmission rates (McKinney, 2012). Accordingly, reducing hospital readmissions is a common
    metric of pilot programs that strive to prove the value of a new service or technology. In a study
    with members of Capital Blue Cross diagnosed with heart failure, a remote monitoring system
    found a 45% reduction in hospital readmission rates among the treatment group, translating into
    an annual savings of over $8,000 per year in monitored heart-failure patients (Geneia LLC, 2016).
    In a similar study focusing on hospital readmissions using a remote monitoring system that tracked
    the blood pressure, heart rate, and weight of 31 recently discharged heart-failure patients, none of
    the patients were readmitted within the first 30 days—while the expected number of readmissions
    was eight. This reduction in readmissions translated into a $216,000 savings (iGetBetter, Inc.,


    As healthcare spending, deductibles, and premiums grow at unsustainable rates,
    technological innovations present pragmatic, cost-effective opportunities to drive down these
    growth rates without undermining quality. Remote monitoring innovations such as smartcaps,
    smartcuffs, and accelerometers can provide quantifiable, objective data to health providers, payers,
    and patients. The examples reviewed in this article illustrate how such innovations allow patients
    as well as their caregivers, including friends, relatives, and clinicians, to obtain a more informed,
    less pixelated picture of patients’ health over time. The incentives of key stakeholders—patients,
    healthcare providers, and payers—appear to be aligning. As technologies become more effective,
    easier to use and implement, and less costly, a future of widespread adoption appears achievable,
    one that can contribute to a healthier society while mitigating the growth rate of healthcare costs.

    Corresponding author: Dr. David R. Weinstein, david.weinstein@extropyhealth.com.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 14


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    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 17


    Portia A. Jackson Preston
    California State University, Los Angeles

    SUMMARY: Workplace stressors are an increasing driver of healthcare costs in the United States.
    Insufficient compensation, the way in which work is managed, as well as one’s sense of job control
    may compromise employee health and productivity, and ultimately lead to increased job turnover.
    The reduction of burnout within organizations is best maintained through a combination of
    interventions at the individual and organizational levels. Future research should examine how
    work and non-work stressors can influence job-related stress.


    The World Health Organization’s global strategy on occupational health emphasizes that

    the way in which work is managed and one’s sense of job control can affect employee stress and
    health, which in turn, impacts worker engagement and productivity (WHO, 1994). Kronos
    Incorporated and Future Workplace (2017) surveyed human resource professionals in leadership
    positions and found that nearly half cited burnout as the driving factor in 20-50% of employee
    turnover. Contributing factors were cited as insufficient compensation, excessive responsibilities,
    and substantial work outside of business hours.

    Investment banking, for instance, is notorious for long work hours in exchange for a
    rewarding salary and the prospect of future success. A nine-year ethnography of two investment
    banks revealed that because work-life balance was hailed as an institutional value, individuals
    believed that they were in control of their choice to work up to 120 hours per week (Michel, 2011).
    While overwork led to increased performance in the short term, employee health and productivity
    declined in the end.

    According to Maslach, Shaufeli, and Leiter (2001), prolonged exposure to emotional and
    interpersonal stress at work can produce job-related burnout, characterized by emotional
    exhaustion, depersonalization or cynicism, and a lack of personal sense of accomplishment.
    Physicians are more likely than other workers in the U.S. to report burnout and dissatisfaction with
    work-life balance (Shanafelt et al., 2016), and suicide attempts among healthcare practitioners are
    of increasing concern (Braquehais et al., 2016). The impact that burnout can have on productivity,
    for example, an increase in medical errors, has significant implications for patient safety (Hall,
    Johnson, Watt, Tsipa, & O’Connor, 2016).

    A desire to remain competitive has led to an increase in job stress across various sectors,
    as employees work longer hours and take on additional responsibilities. In the gaming industry,
    developers work in excess of 20 hours per day for weeks or months on end, called “crunch,” to
    finish developing a game (Schreier, 2017). These long stints can have disastrous consequences for
    employee health and organizational productivity.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 18

    This paper reviews the relationship between work-related stressors and employee burnout.
    Interventions at the organization and individual level designed to help promote sustainable
    performance are also explored. While external stressors and individual characteristics undoubtedly
    influence burnout, and there is a wide range of consequences of burnout to the employee and
    organization, such a discussion is beyond the scope of this paper.

    What are workplace stressors?

    It is estimated that 5-8% of total health care costs in the United States, estimated at $125-

    190 billion, are attributable to workplace stress (Goh, Pfeffer, & Zenios 2016). One of the greatest
    drivers of these health care costs is work demands that exceed one’s capacity and resources. The
    National Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (1999) describes job stress as the
    “harmful physical and emotional responses” that occur when the requirements of the job are not
    aligned with the worker’s capabilities, resources, or needs. A survey of 2,200 chief financial
    officers and 1,000 US-based office workers conducted by Accountemps (2017) cited top
    contributors to job stress as overwhelming responsibilities, deadlines, trying to strike a balance
    between personal and professional lives, and fulfilling the expectations of those in supervisory
    roles. A meta-analysis of cohort studies conducted with employees in the US, Asia, and Europe
    found that the risk of cardiovascular disease among workers who experienced job stress was 50%
    greater than those who did not experience job stress (Kivimaki, Virtanen, Elovainio, & Kouvonen,

    What makes job stress so harmful to one’s health? McEwen (1998) describes the health
    impact of chronic stress over time by differentiating between the human body’s response to acute
    versus chronic stress. If one is startled by a loud, unexpected noise, a “fight or flight” may be
    triggered in response to this one-time stressor. Afterwards, hormones are released that ultimately
    help the body return to homeostasis (or balance) through a process called allostasis. However,
    chronic stressors that are experienced repeatedly can have a lasting effect on the body as a result
    of constantly activating the stress response system. Over time, this system may cease to work
    properly, producing a strain on the body. This “wear and tear”, also known as allostatic load, results
    in behavioral and physiological changes, increasing the risk of disease.

    In management practice, there is a prevailing belief that a moderate amount of stress can
    help motivate employees to achieve peak levels of engagement and performance (Gino, 2016;
    Benson, & Allen, 1980). This is an application of the Yerkes-Dodson law, which states that
    exposure to external stimuli can improve task performance to an extent, but exposure beyond a
    certain point can negatively impact performance (Yerkes & Dodson, 1908). It is believed that an
    optimal amount of stress should be encouraged in the work environment to stimulate peak
    performance, while excessive stress should be avoided. Person-environment theory, developed by
    Edwards, Caplan, and Van Harrison (1998), argues that stress results from a lack of fit between the
    individual and their environment, or in this context, the employee and their work. This theory relies
    on the assumption that all stress is negative. However, LeFevre, Matheny, and Kolt (2003) contend
    that whether stress is experienced as positive or negative—with the latter leading to strain—is
    ultimately determined by the individual, and whether they have the capacity to meet the demands
    placed upon them (LeFevre, 2003). Because the experience of stress is subjective, it is not possible
    to gauge (or manage) optimal levels of stress for all employees across an organization.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 19

    What is burnout?

    As mentioned in the introduction, ongoing exposure to job-related stress can result in

    burnout. Freudenberger (1974) coined the term of burnout based on his work with volunteers at a
    free clinic who exhibited signs of emotional exhaustion over time. As a result, burnout initially
    referred to those in the helping professions, with high levels of client interaction, who were
    increasingly unable to cope with pervasive stress and excessive job demands. Thus, a large volume
    of studies on burnout focuses on doctors, nurses, and educators. However, over time, burnout has
    increasingly been applied across professions.

    While there are a multitude of scales that assess burnout, this paper focuses on the Maslach
    Burnout Inventory (MBI), which measures burnout by assessing three dimensions: emotional
    exhaustion, depersonalization, and a lack of personal accomplishment (Maslach & Jackson, 1981).
    Emotional exhaustion occurs at the individual level when work demands exceed one’s physical or
    emotional capacity to fulfill them. A systematic review of studies examining burnout symptoms
    and factors in the workplace environment found substantial evidence to support the association
    between sense of control over one’s job and emotional exhaustion, as well as the link between
    support in the workplace and emotional exhaustion (Aronnson et al., 2017). Depersonalization
    operates at the interpersonal level, in which there is a sense of cynicism, negativity or disdain
    towards components of one’s work, including the clients they serve. Lastly, personal
    accomplishment entails how an individual assesses his or her own work. It captures feelings of
    incompetence or a lack of fulfillment from one’s role.

    Burnout is a cyclical process in which efforts to cope with negative stress lead to emotional
    exhaustion. This, in turn, activates depersonalization and a subsequent decrease in one’s sense of
    personal accomplishment, which leads to further emotional exhaustion (Maslach, Schaufeli, &
    Leiter, 2001). The Maslach Burnout Inventory General Survey (MBI-General Survey) is a
    validated measure of burnout in professions with less focus on personal interaction, and measures
    the three main dimensions as “exhaustion, cynicism (a distant attitude towards the job), and
    reduced professional efficacy” (Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001). When employees experience
    burnout, it takes a toll on their physical and emotional health. For example, burnout has been
    identified as a risk factor for coronary heart disease (Toker, Melamed, Berliner, Zeltser, & Shapira,
    2015) and depression (Aronnson, 2017). Having established the negative impact of burnout, the
    next section will discuss how organizations can address or prevent it.

    How interventions can promote sustainable performance

    Interventions to address burnout typically occur at the organization level—addressing

    policy and the way in which work is organized or delivered—or the individual level—focusing on
    stress management and communication. Organization level interventions might focus on
    modifications to job roles, performance assessment, and timing of shifts, while individual level
    interventions might include cognitive behavior based therapy or counseling, enhancing social
    support, and addressing skills that enhance one’s ability to adapt and communicate (Awa,
    Plaumman, & Walter, 2010).

    Several meta-analyses of burnout interventions have found that a combination of
    organization and individual-level interventions are most effective in sustaining reductions in
    burnout scores over the long term (Ahola, Toppinen-Tanner, & Seppanen, 2017; Awa, Plaumman,
    & Walter, 2010). It is not possible to eliminate all workplace stressors, thus underscoring the

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 20

    importance of combining both levels. Refresher sessions are recommended in order to maintain
    intervention effects. Le Fevre, Kolt, and Matheny (2006) recommend the introduction of
    individual-level interventions prior to employing organization-level interventions, to provide a
    strong foundation and supportive resources for individuals in preparation for organizational change.

    Practical Tips for Managers

    Managers who are interested in addressing burnout in their organizations should consider

    the following in developing their approach:

    1. Identify workplace stressors and implement strategies to reduce them
    According to Sauter, Muphy, and Hurrell (1990), there are a wide range of strategies that

    can be employed at the organization level to address workplace stress:
    • Assess job demands to determine whether they are aligned with employee capabilities, and

    ensure employees have adequate resources to fulfill their responsibilities
    • Define roles clearly and in a way that engages employees, imbuing them with a sense of

    meaning and the opportunity to use their skills
    • Assess the extent to which employees have a sense of control over their jobs. Ensure that

    they are consulted on decisions that impact them directly
    • Engage in clear conversation with employees about their career development and future

    options for advancement
    • Provide opportunities for social interaction at work, as interpersonal relationships can help

    to build collegiality and provide social support
    • Consider responsibilities employees have outside of the work environment when

    developing work schedules, to minimize work-family conflict

    2. Promote opportunities for employees to engage in positive stress coping behaviors
    Evidence-based wellness programs that promote healthy stress coping behaviors such as

    physical activity, getting adequate rest, proper nutrition, and relaxation practices should also be
    considered for adoption. In the Accountemps survey (2017), individuals reported dealing with
    stress positively through engagement in physical activity or hobbies, taking vacation, and spending
    time with others outside of work. Protecting time during the work day to take a break for exercise
    or rest can help individuals recharge and manage work-related stress. The Health and Retirement
    study found that those who reported high stress in their job were more likely to smoke (Ayyagari
    & Sindelar, 2010). Addressing job stress through workplace policies and interventions may
    ultimately reduce engagement in unhealthy coping behaviors.

    3. Make sustained performance a priority for your organization

    Set the pace for your organization by clearly communicating expectations from the top.
    Some gaming developers are addressing crunch by signing a pledge to decrease unnecessary
    overtime (Schreier, 2017). Investment banks are communicating to analysts that they should take
    one weekend day off, while others are setting a maximum number of average work hours per week
    (Surowiecki, 2014).

    Managers should be careful in leveraging tools such as email to enhance productivity
    without producing overwhelm. As technology continues to develop, the potential for overload will
    only increase (McMurtry, 2014). For example, the ability to check work email from one’s watch

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 21

    or other wearable device may lead to checking email more frequently. In the end, it is not what an
    organization says regarding work-life balance, but rather what managers do that communicates
    expectations to employees. If managers regularly send email outside of work hours or do not take
    vacations, employees may believe that such behavior is required for success.

    4. Make these changes a part of your organizational culture.

    Building approaches to promote well-being into the organizational policy, such mandatory
    vacation, flexible work hours, remote working opportunities, or expectations regarding
    communication is essential to sustainable performance over the long-term. This may require
    frequent reminders of benefits to the organization. A study of middle-age men at high risk for
    coronary heart disease found that those who reported a higher frequency of annual vacations had
    a lower risk for mortality due to coronary heart disease than those who did not (Gump & Matthews,
    2000). Meanwhile, two-thirds of employees surveyed by MetLife (2016) stated that flexibility in
    work site (remote work) would increase their loyalty to an organization, while 74% of employees
    believed flexibility in work hours would do so.

    Conclusion and Future Directions

    In summary, workplace stressors, such as job demands that exceed one’s capacity or

    resources, management style, and job control, can lead to burnout in employees. This should be of
    concern to managers because burnout is increasingly cited as a driving factor in employee turnover.
    It is also a risk factor for coronary heart disease and other conditions. Interventions to address
    burnout should focus on a combination of organization level interventions that address workplace
    stressors, as well as individual interventions that focus on stress management. Managers looking
    to address burnout in their organizations should take a top-down approach and ensure that efforts
    to reduce workplace stressors, promote positive coping behavior, and prioritize sustained
    performance are embedded within the organizational culture.

    Future research should examine the influence of personal stressors and characteristics on
    how employees experience stress in the workplace. Hakanen and Bakker (2016) encourage the
    examination of demands and resources outside of the workplace, as well as major life events (e.g.,
    marriage, birth of a child, divorce) that undoubtedly impact individuals. There also is a need to
    explore how felt strain from workplace stress drives engagement in negative coping behaviors,
    such as substance abuse, overwork, and sedentary behavior. An understanding of this relationship
    can lead to more effective interventions to prevent burnout.

    Corresponding author: Dr. Portia A. Jackson Preston, pjackso6@calstatela.edu.


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    Awa, W.L., Plaumann, M., & Walter, U. (2010). Burnout prevention: A review of intervention
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    Benson, H., & Allen, R.L. (1980). How much stress is too much? Harvard Business Review,
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    Hakanen, J., & Bakker, A.B. (2017). Born and Bred to burn out: A life-course view and
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    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 24



    Tom Larson
    California State University, Los Angeles

    Deborah Compel Larson

    Los Angeles Harbor College

    SUMMARY: The U.S. is experiencing an obesity epidemic. Obesity rates are especially high in
    low-income, inner-city areas. Many inner-city neighborhoods have been labeled “food deserts,”
    where affordable, nutritious food is scarce. South Los Angeles has been labeled a food desert as
    it is reported to lack full-service supermarkets but has a growing number of fast-food restaurants.
    This paper examines some of the claims about food access and health, provides new data on the
    availability of supermarkets and fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles, and reviews solutions
    for improving the health of South Los Angeles residents through changes in food access.


    Obesity rates in the United States have increased for several decades, with a dramatic rise
    after 1980. Obesity is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more. Adult obesity rates rose
    from 15% in 1980 to 31.3% in 2001 and to 38.1% in 2014 (Fryar, Carroll, & Ogden, 2016; see
    Figure 1 below). The U.S. is among the most obese nations on earth and is the most obese
    developed nation (OECD, 2017). In California, obesity rates are lower than in most states, but have
    also grown, for example, for adults, from 19.3% in 2001 to 24.8% in 2012 (Wolstein, 2015). This
    is leading to new challenges for grocers and restaurants, as government interventions are pursued
    in order to combat obesity.

    Obesity rates in Los Angeles County have also increased for adults from 13.6% in 1997 to
    22.2% in 2008. Obesity rates are much higher in low-income neighborhoods. South Los Angeles
    City Council Districts 8 and 9 have adult obesity rates of 35.1% and 36.7%, respectively. Child
    obesity rates are also linked to geographic locations, with a low rate of 3.4% in the affluent
    community of Manhattan Beach to a high rate of 38.7% in low-income Walnut Park (County of
    Los Angeles Public Health, 2011).

    Obesity is considered a disease by the World Health Organization (Wang & Beydoun,
    2007). It is also linked to two of the highest causes of death in the United States: heart disease (#1)
    and diabetes (#7) (Centers for Disease Control, 2016). Obesity is reported in medical journal
    articles as a public health epidemic (Wang & Beydoun, 2007). The health costs associated with
    current levels of obesity may be larger than those associated with smoking tobacco or excessive
    drinking (Strum, 2002). Health experts at the global and national level are advocating government
    interventions (Kleinert, 2015; OECD, 2017; World Health Organization, 2016).

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 25

    Source: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/obesity_adult_13_14/obesity_adult_13_14

    Figure 1. United States obesity rates

    The rise in obesity is linked to changes in both diet and exercise. Here, the impact of

    changes in the food environment is examined. A major problem in South Los Angeles is seen as a
    shortage of affordable nutritious food. This is a common problem in low-income, inner-city
    neighborhoods across the nation. South Los Angeles has had high poverty rates for more than 25
    years. Across South LA, the poverty rate was 34 % in 2013 (Pastor et al., 2016). Many low-income
    neighborhoods have been labeled “food deserts” because of a lack of affordable nutritious food.
    Part of the problem has been a shortage of full-service supermarkets. Below, it is shown that a
    shortage of supermarkets in South Los Angeles has persisted over the last 25 years. What has
    changed is the availability of chain fast-food restaurants.

    Across the United States, full-service supermarkets that are part of major chain stores have
    been leaving low-income, inner-city neighborhoods. Full-service supermarkets are larger stores
    that have a wide variety of foods—from canned foods to dairy to fresh meat to fresh fruits and
    vegetables. They are likely to have healthy choices as well as high-fat-high-calorie foods. The
    chain stores have been moving to the suburbs, and the suburbs have expanded. This trend has been
    going on for decades and has been called “supermarket redlining” by Eisenhauer (2001). This
    exodus does not reflect a lack of demand for food in our inner cities. In South Los Angeles,
    residents often must leave their neighborhood to shop at a supermarket. This inner-city shortage
    reflects the attraction to major chain supermarkets of higher mark-ups that more prosperous
    neighborhoods will tolerate (Larson, 2003).





    1980 1990 2000 2010

    United States Obesity Rates,
    1980 to 2014

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 26

    A consequence of this supermarket shortage is the reduced availability of fruits, vegetables,
    and quality meat in low-income neighborhoods. This shortage of nutritious food is seen as an
    important contribution to the rise in obesity in inner-city neighborhoods (Chen et al., 2010).

    Chain Supermarkets in South Los Angeles

    This study identifies the supermarkets today and in 1995 in an area that was studied by

    Rebuild LA (RLA) after the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The area examined is shown on the maps in
    Figures 2 and 3. This is the RLA Retail Focus Area and represents the neighborhoods that had the
    greatest property damage due to the 1992 riots. RLA reported in 1996 that there were 32 major
    chain supermarkets in the RLA Retail Focus Area (RLA, 1996). This area included South Central
    LA plus neighborhoods north of the I-10 freeway—largely Koreatown and Pico-Union. This area
    was later examined by Amanda Shaffer (2002), who found only 30 major chain supermarkets.
    Today, there are 24 major chain stores. There were 23 independent supermarkets reported in 1996,
    with a total of 55 full-service supermarkets in 1996 (shown in Map1), serving a population of over
    700,000 (U.S. Census, American Community Survey). The total number of supermarkets is 56
    today (shown in Map 2), but is 60 if we add in stores near the RLA Focus Area that are in
    Inglewood. The majority of supermarkets today are independent.

    Los Angeles had a long history of development of local chains and independent stores,
    which was followed by a wave of mergers in the 1980s and 1990s that greatly concentrated
    ownership of supermarkets. In 1992, there were mostly independent and small chain, full-service
    supermarkets in South Central. The merger waves created the major chains we see today in Los
    Angeles. The dominant grocery chain today is owned by Kroger Corporation, which operates as
    Ralphs and Food 4 Less. The other major chain stores, Vons and Albertsons, are owned by a private
    investment company Cerberus Capital (Peltz, 2015). The wave of mergers brought major chains
    into South Central as they bought out local chains with some stores in South Central (Larson,
    2003). After taking over stores located in South Central, Ralphs divested of some of the stores and
    stayed with mostly warehouse stores under the Food 4 Less brand. Independents have taken over
    some of the Ralphs stores and have added some new supermarkets.

    The stores that serve South Central have been viewed collectively as inadequate for the
    needs of the population. An RLA survey done in 1995 of the retail needs of residents of the RLA
    Focus Area revealed that a lack of supermarkets was the number one problem facing residents.
    Residents were traveling up to five miles to get to a full-service supermarket. Of the residents
    surveyed, 25% had to use public transportation to get to a supermarket (RLA, 1996). Much grocery
    shopping occurred outside South Central due to the shortage of supermarkets. The RLA study of
    the demand and supply conditions for food in South Central estimated that 40% of the food
    purchased by residents had to be bought outside South Central. RLA estimated that South Central
    needed thirty more full-service supermarkets to satisfy resident demand in 1995. A more recent
    study by Community Health Councils compared travel access to grocers in South LA and West
    LA and found access was much easier in West LA (Bassford et al., 2010).

    For access to nutritional food, that food has to be affordable. It is often assumed that major
    chain supermarkets offer food at prices lower than at independent supermarkets. The chains do
    have a history of offering lower prices than small grocery stores and mom-and-pop stores. The
    major chains often have an advantage in paying lower prices for their inputs. For years, it has been
    argued that the poor pay more when living in ghettoes and barrios. This may be true for many
    purchases, but may not be true for food in independent supermarkets.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 27

    Sources: GIS map by Mario Garcia, UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. Data are from
    RLA (1996).

    Figure 2. Map 1: Supermarkets in South Los Angeles, RLA (1996)

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 28

    Sources: GIS map by Mario Garcia, UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. Data are
    available from authors.

    Figure 3. Map 2: Supermarkets in South Los Angeles in 2017

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 29

    Survey results from different cities have different conclusions. Chung and Meyers (1999)
    found higher food prices in inner-city grocery stores in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Ambrose (1979)
    found no difference between inner-city stores and suburban stores in Omaha. Hayes (2000) found
    that prices in inner-city neighborhoods in New York City were not higher. In studies where the
    poor have been found paying higher prices, small grocery stores in inner cities are often being
    compared to larger suburban, full-service supermarkets. Larson (2003) compared full-service
    supermarkets that were independent to similar-size, major chain supermarkets and found that the
    independent markets had much lower prices on fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, and eggs and similar
    prices on milk and sodas. This price study was repeated by the author in the Fall of 2016 with
    similar results. The independent supermarkets in South Los Angeles do have a reputation for low
    prices compared to the major chain stores.

    The Rise of Fast-Food Chain Restaurants in South Los Angeles

    Supermarkets compete with restaurants as well as with small markets, farmer’s markets,

    street vendors, and even with liquor stores, in providing food. Since 1995, as some chain
    supermarkets left South Central, fast-food restaurants were coming in. While supermarkets remain
    the major source of food, chain restaurants are getting a growing share of food sales.

    Before 1992, national chain fast-food restaurants were very rare in South Central. Around
    1994, McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in South Central. Since 1992, a number of other
    national and regional fast-food chains have built stores in South Los Angeles. This has increased
    the variety of foods available and has aided full-time workers in saving time from household food
    preparation. This has also benefited those without access to a kitchen. EBT cards can be used in
    many fast food restaurants in low-income neighborhoods. These cards are used for food stamps
    and cash welfare benefits. People with no kitchen can spend food-stamp money at participating
    McDonalds. There are also more jobs for low-skilled workers.

    In 2008, the City of Los Angeles enacted a partial and temporary ban on new stand-alone,
    chain fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles. The ban reflected the view that chain fast-food
    restaurants were themselves “serious public health problems” (Office of the City Clerk, 2008). The
    ban also reflected a concern that the presence of fast-food restaurants was denser than in more
    affluent neighborhoods. The ban was made permanent in 2010. The ban was limited to stand-alone
    restaurants. Restaurants connected to other buildings (as in malls) were still allowed. Sturm and
    Hattori (2015) report that 17 more fast-food restaurants were built in South Los Angeles after the
    ban. The ban may provide the community with a signal that fast food represents a health hazard,
    but seems ineffective in halting the growth of fast-food outlets. Community Health Councils has
    recommended further restrictions on chain fast-food restaurants (Bassford et al., 2011).

    We used Los Angeles County Public Health data to identify and count the number of chain
    fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles and in Los Angeles County overall (Los Angeles
    County, 2017). The number of chain fast-food restaurants in South Central today is higher per
    capita than across Los Angeles County. There are almost 19 fast-food restaurants per 100,000
    residents in Los Angeles County. For South Los Angeles, there are almost 27 fast-food restaurants
    per 100,000 residents.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 30


    This study has shown that just as there was a shortage of full-service supermarkets in South
    Central (the RLA Focus Area) in 1996, there is still a shortage. Meanwhile, South Central and
    South Los Angeles have gone from hardly any chain fast-food restaurants to having a higher per
    capita number of chain restaurants than Los Angeles County overall. The shortage of supermarkets
    and the abundance of fast-food restaurants are both identified as contributing to an obesity

    The shortage of supermarkets may not represent a lack of opportunity for profit. In South
    Los Angeles, there is a major chain, Ralphs, that has stayed with most of the supermarkets acquired
    through mergers and has even built new discount supermarkets (Food for Less). There are also
    small independent chains that have expanded their supermarkets in South Los Angeles while
    offering competitive prices. The shortage of supermarkets may reflect a mis-assessment of profit
    opportunities by other major chains and a difficulty with financing for the small independent
    supermarkets. There are also other barriers that have been identified and solutions proposed in a
    report to the City of Los Angeles (Jordan, 2009). Urban planners need to think of supermarkets as
    important neighborhood institutions and look for ways to help bring more supermarkets into inner-
    city neighborhoods like South LA. A principle problem is simply finding sites large enough to be
    developed for a standard size supermarket. This can be done. The Juanita Tate Marketplace is an
    example of successful development in one of the poorest parts of South LA. The Marketplace has
    an independent grocer, Northgate, plus the kind of stores that are found in more affluent
    neighborhoods: CVS Pharmacy, Starbucks, Panda Express, Fatburger, and others. But, it took
    seventeen years to create the Marketplace.

    South LA has long lacked investment by major chain stores of all types. Community
    organizations have expressed frustration over the inability to get major corporations to invest in
    low-income neighborhoods. McDonalds, Burger King, and other fast-food chains are bringing new
    businesses. This may not be good for diets, but does bring some pride to neighborhoods that lack
    brand name retailers and shows that there are opportunities for investment in South LA.

    Sturm and Hattori (2015) found no impact of the City of Los Angeles ban on new chain
    fast-food restaurants. Plus, small mom-and-pop restaurants (mostly serving fast food) that number
    in the hundreds in South Los Angeles are not subject to the ban. There are alternatives to the ban
    on chain restaurants that could be more effective. Sturm and Cohen (2009) state that a primary
    cause of empty calories is drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). The World Health
    Organization (WHO) advocates taxing SSBs globally. The WHO also recommends a number of
    other government interventions aimed at combatting obesity epidemics in many nations (World
    Health Organization, 2015). A different approach than a ban was taken by the City of Berkeley
    when it placed a tax on SSBs in 2015. The SSB tax targeted beverages that are linked to obesity.
    Falbe (2016) states that SSB “consumption has become a public health priority.” In a study of
    Berkeley after the SSB tax was imposed, Falbe found that SSB consumption has been reduced
    significantly in low-income neighborhoods while water consumption increased. The tax is one
    cent per ounce and is associated with reduced SSB consumption of 21% and with increased water
    consumption of 63% in Berkeley.

    The obesity epidemic has costs to society that exceed private costs (known in economics
    as negative externalities). When individuals make choices that are harmful not just to themselves,
    but to others as well, economists accept that government action may be justified on the grounds of
    improvements in efficiency. Taxes on cigarettes and alcohol are seen as beneficial to society by

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 31

    curbing harmful behavior that is costly to society and not just to individuals. It is not clear what
    intervention would be efficient in combating obesity. The Berkeley experiment shows that a SBB
    tax can be effective and may represent an alternative to trying to limit the number of fast-food
    restaurants. Another alternative may be an increase in education regarding the links between diet
    and health. States, such as California, with successful anti-smoking campaigns have used bans,
    health education, and taxes to discourage smoking (Pierce, White, & Emory, 2011). The obesity
    epidemic is forcing businesses and government to work on solutions. Here, a tax may be better
    than a ban, but other interventions have to be expected.

    Corresponding author: Dr. Tom Larson, tlarson@calstatela.edu.


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    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 33


    Zhen Cui

    Devika Hazra
    California State University, Los Angeles

    SUMMARY: This study uses the 2007 and 2013 Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the
    Current Population Survey to examine the effect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on health
    insurance coverage among adults in the U.S. It finds that the ACA has improved coverage for men,
    youth, minorities, and low-income and less-educated individuals. However, those who are self-
    employed or do not work full-time have been negatively impacted. We analyze these results and
    discuss business and policy implications.


    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) has been a contention for
    policymakers since its inception. While evidence on actual health outcomes is still sparse, a few
    studies have shown a decrease in the number of the uninsured. A study done by Sommers,
    Buchmueller, Decker, Carey, and Kronick (2013) found sizable coverage gains for adults aged 19–
    25. The gains continued to grow throughout 2011, with the largest gains seen in unmarried adults,
    non-students, and men. According to Sommers, Gunja, and Finegold (2015), low-income adults
    within the states that expanded Medicaid reported significant gains in insurance coverage and
    access compared with adults within the states that did not expand Medicaid. Moreover, Sommers,
    Maylone, Blendon, Orav, and Epstein (2017) assessed changes in health care use and self-reported
    health after three years of the ACA’s coverage expansion, using survey data collected from low-
    income adults through the end of 2016 in two states (Arkansas and Kentucky) that expanded
    coverage, and Texas that did not expand coverage. By the end of 2016, the uninsurance rate in the
    two expansion states had dropped by more than 20 percentage points relative to the non-expansion
    state. Finally, Figure 1 shows the percentage of adults aged 18–64 who were uninsured or had
    private or public coverage at the time of interview in the U.S. between 1997–2016.

    After the main ACA provisions went into effect in 2014, racial disparities in coverage
    declined slightly as the percentage of adults who were uninsured decreased by 7.1 percentage
    points for Hispanics, 5.1 percentage points for Blacks, and 3 percentage points for Whites
    (Buchmueller et al., 2016). McMorrow, Long, Kenny, and Anderson (2015) found significant
    improvements in insurance coverage for all racial and ethnic groups between the second and third
    quarters of 2013 as well as 2014, which translated into reductions in absolute disparities in the
    uninsurance rates for Blacks and Hispanics in both expansion and non-expansion states.
    Furthermore, Chen, Vargas-Bustamante, Mortensen, and Ortega (2016) demonstrated that racial
    and ethnic disparities in access had been reduced significantly during the initial years of the ACA

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 34

    Figure 1. Percentages of adults aged 18–64 who were uninsured or had private or public coverage
    at the time of interview: United States, 1997–2016

    Despite coverage improvement for men, single adults, and minorities, the ACA had a

    negative effect on other subpopulations. For example, Blumberg, Corlette, and Lucia (2014)
    roughly estimated that the number of uninsured self-employed individuals and entrepreneurs
    would relatively increase by more than 11% following the ACA.

    Against the above background, the present study applies a probit regression separately to
    the 2007 and 2013 Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey
    (ASEC CPS). It then compares the effects of main demographic traits and socioeconomic factors
    on health insurance coverage in the U.S. for adults across all ages before and after the signing of
    the ACA. We find that the coverage has improved for men, youth, minorities, and low-income and
    less-educated individuals, while adversely impacting those who are self-employed or do not work
    full-time. These findings are largely consistent with the existing studies. Thus, this study makes
    two major contributions to the literature. First, it adds more empirical evidence regarding the
    impact of the ACA on health insurance coverage for the adult population in the U.S. Second, it
    provides practical policy and business insights by identifying specific groups which policymakers
    and practicing managers should focus on extending the insurance coverage to in the post-ACA era.

    The rest of the paper proceeds as follows. We describe the data and the econometric model,
    explain the regression results, and then present the concluding remarks as well as policy and
    business recommendations.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 35

    Empirical Strategy

    The ASEC CPS is a rich dataset that has detailed information on employment,
    demographics, and health insurance. The data used in this study are extracted from its 2007 and
    2013 series, marking the three years before and after the signing of the ACA. After removing
    missing values and restricting respondents to civilians aged 18–79, the number of individual
    observations in our final sample is 247,943 (125,851 for 2007 and 122,092 for 2013).

    The dataset has a constructed variable that indicates whether a respondent had any health
    insurance coverage (private or public) in the previous year. This study considers a respondent
    covered by health insurance if the answer is yes, and not covered by health insurance if the answer
    is no. Per this definition, about 82% of our sample had health insurance (83% for 2007 and 82%
    for 2013). Clearly, not everyone was covered even three years after the ACA was signed into law.
    This highlights the relevance and importance of studying the determinants of health insurance
    coverage in the post-ACA era. All statistics reported in this study are appropriately weighted.

    Existing studies on the determinants of health insurance coverage typically employ a binary
    response model (i.e., logit or probit regression). For example, Gius (2010) used the 2008 National
    Health Interview Survey and adopted a logit regression to examine the determinants of health
    insurance coverage for young adults. Cantiello, Fottler, Oetjen, and Zhang (2015) used the 2005
    and 2008 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to investigate the factors that influence young adults’
    decisions to have private health insurance. They incorporated structural equation modeling into a
    standard logit regression.

    Following those studies, we apply the probit regression below to the 2007 and 2013 data
    separately. A comparison of results from these two years would enable us to examine the effect of
    the ACA on adult health insurance coverage in the U.S.
    coveredi = α + β1 agei + β2 malei + β3 log_incomei + β4 fulltimei + β5 self_empi

    + β6 highschooli + β7 collegei + β8 graduatei + β9 whitei + ui,
    where coveredi is a dummy variable that takes 1 if individual i has health insurance coverage and
    0 otherwise, agei denotes the individual’s age, malei is a dummy variable that takes 1 if the
    individual is male and 0 otherwise, log_incomei denotes the individual’s logged annual pre-tax
    wage and salary income,1 fulltimei is a dummy variable that takes 1 if the individual has a full-time
    job and 0 otherwise, self_empi is a dummy variable that takes 1 if the individual is self-employed
    and 0 otherwise, highschooli is a dummy variable that takes 1 if the individual has completed 12
    years of schooling or received a high school diploma and 0 otherwise, collegei is a dummy variable
    that takes 1 if the individual has some college education or received an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s
    degree and 0 otherwise, graduatei is a dummy variable that takes 1 if the individual has a Master’s
    degree or above and 0 otherwise, whitei is a dummy variable that takes 1 if the individual is White
    and 0 otherwise, and ui denotes the standard classical error term. Therefore, our analysis takes into
    account both basic demographic traits (i.e., age, gender, and race) and various socioeconomic
    factors (i.e., income, employment, and educational attainment). Table 1 describes the summary
    statistics of all the variables.

    1 The income amounts have been adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (1999 =
    100). Also, striving for the maximum number of observations, we use log (inflation-adjusted income + 0.1)
    to account for income value of zero.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 36

    Table 1
    Summary Statistics

    2007 2013
    covered 0.83 0.38 0 1 0.82 0.39 0 1
    age 44.14 16.03 18 79 45.05 16.40 18 79
    male 0.49 0.50 0 1 0.49 0.50 0 1
    log_income 5.99 5.80 -2.30 13.16 5.55 5.91 -2.30 13.80
    fulltime 0.57 0.50 0 1 0.51 0.50 0 1
    self_emp 0.08 0.26 0 1 0.07 0.25 0 1
    highschool 0.33 0.47 0 1 0.31 0.46 0 1
    college 0.46 0.50 0 1 0.49 0.50 0 1
    graduate 0.09 0.29 0 1 0.10 0.31 0 1
    white 0.81 0.39 0 1 0.79 0.41 0 1

    Notes. SD = standard deviation.


    Table 2 shows the average marginal effects estimated using the probit regression model for
    the 2007 and 2013 data, respectively. The estimates suggest that all marginal effects are highly
    statistically significant. The age and gender gap in health insurance coverage has shrunk. A one
    year decrease in age reduced the average probability of having health insurance by 0.54 percentage
    point in 2007, but by 0.50 percentage point in 2013. The probability of adult males having health
    insurance was 3.32 percentage points lower than that of adult females in 2007; this number dropped
    to 2.99 in 2013.

    Table 2
    Average Marginal Effects of Probit Model, 2007 vs. 2013

    (N = 125,851)

    (N = 122,092)





    age 0.0054*** 7.30e-05 0.0050*** 7.28e-05
    male -0.0332*** 0.0025 -0.0299*** 0.0025
    log_income 0.0031*** 0.0003 0.0007** 0.0003
    fulltime 0.0040 0.0034 0.0330*** 0.0034
    self_emp -0.0859*** 0.0044 -0.1130*** 0.0047
    highschool 0.0884*** 0.0033 0.0801*** 0.0037
    college 0.1850*** 0.0033 0.1780*** 0.0036
    graduate 0.2890*** 0.0069 0.2740*** 0.0064
    white 0.0391*** 0.0029 0.0368*** 0.0029

    Notes. * p < 0.1. ** p < 0.05. *** p < 0.01.

    The race and income gap in health insurance coverage has also shrunk. For example,

    Whites were 3.91 percentage points more likely to have health insurance than non-Whites in 2007,
    but were 3.68 percentage points more likely in 2013. A 10% decrease in income reduced the

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 37

    average probability of having health insurance by 0.031 percentage point in 2007, but by 0.007
    percentage point in 2013.

    In addition, the education gap in health insurance coverage has shrunk. High school
    graduates were 8.84 percentage points more likely to have health insurance than those with below
    high school education in 2007; this number fell to 8.01 in 2013. For college-educated individuals,
    the probability of having health insurance was 18.5 percentage points higher than those who did
    not go to college in 2007, but were 17.8 percentage points higher in 2013. Individuals with
    graduate degrees or higher were 28.9 percentage points more likely to have health insurance than
    those who did not have graduate degrees in 2007; this number fell by 1.5 in 2013.

    Unfortunately, health insurance coverage has deteriorated for individuals who are self-
    employed or do not have full-time jobs. The self-employed were 8.59 percentage points less likely
    to have health insurance than their non-self-employed counterparts in 2007, but were 11.3
    percentage points less likely in 2013. For people without full-time jobs, they were 0.4 percentage
    point less likely to have health insurance than full-time job holders in 2007, but were 3.3
    percentage points less likely in 2013. These two marginal effect changes are the biggest among all
    the factors examined.

    Lastly, despite the changes observed between 2007 and 2013, the magnitudes of most
    changes are fairly small. Also, men, minorities, and young people are still less likely to have health
    insurance, so are low-income and less-educated individuals as well as those who are self-employed
    or do not have full-time jobs.

    Discussion of Implications

    This study examines the determinants of adult health insurance coverage in the U.S.
    between 2007 (pre-ACA) and 2013 (post-ACA). We find that after the signing of the ACA, health
    insurance coverage has improved among males, youth, minorities, and low-income and less-
    educated individuals, but deteriorated for people who are self-employed or do not work full-time.

    While the first set of findings is encouraging, the observed changes are still rather small.
    Moreover, the ACA did not expand health insurance coverage as fast and drastically as expected.
    Perhaps more public outreach and education are needed to magnify the positive impact. Also,
    future research should re-examine this topic when more recent data become available.

    The second set of findings is troubling. In light of these findings, we make the following
    recommendations to policymakers and practicing managers. For policymakers, we suggest that
    future policies offer companies more incentives to provide their part-time employees with health
    insurance. Also, policymakers should pay more attention to people who are self-employed by
    encouraging them to obtain coverage and making health insurance more affordable to them. This
    group of people will grow rapidly in size in the near future as technology advancement makes
    freelancing and entrepreneurship more accessible to the general public.

    For practicing managers, as internet-based technology progresses further, freelancing will
    become the future of work either by workers’ choice or due to business contingency. Currently,
    freelancers are considered as self-employed and are responsible for their medical and dental
    insurance entirely on their own. While this group of people is largely neglected by policymakers,
    one wonders if there is a solution in the private sector. For example, businesses could offer to
    partially contribute to a freelancer’s health insurance, if the freelancer agrees to pay into the
    company’s account reserved for covering the benefits of their regular employees. Given our

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 38

    findings, this approach would not only demonstrate a company’s commitment to social
    responsibility, but would potentially make itself more attractive to certain freelancers.

    Corresponding author: Dr. Zhen Cui, zcui@calstatela.edu.


    Blumberg, L.J., Corlette, S., and Lucia, K. 2014. The Affordable Care Act: Improving incentives
    for entrepreneurship and self-employment. Public Policy & Aging Report, 24(4), 162-7.

    Buchmueller, T. C., Levinson, Z. M., Levy, H. G., and Wolfe, B. L. 2016. Effect of the
    Affordable Care Act on racial and ethnic disparities in health insurance
    coverage. American Journal of Public Health, 106, 1416-21.

    Cantiello, J., Fottler, M. D., Oetjen, D., and Zhang, N. J. 2015. The impact of demographic and
    perceptual variables on a young adult’s decision to be covered by private health
    insurance. BMC Health Services Research, 15, 1-15.

    Chen, J., Vargas-Bustamante, A., Mortensen, K., and Ortega, A. N. 2016. Racial and ethnic
    disparities in health care access and utilization under the Affordable Care Act. Medical
    Care, 54(2), 140-6.

    Gius, P. M. 2010. An analysis of the health insurance coverage of young adults. International
    Journal of Applied Economics, 7(1), 1-17.

    McMorrow, S., Long, S. K., Kenney, G.M., and Anderson, N. 2015. Uninsurance disparities have
    narrowed for Black and Hispanic adults under the Affordable Care Act. Health Affairs,
    34(10), 1774-8.

    Sommers, B. D., Buchmueller, T., Decker, S. L., Carey, C., and Kronick, K. 2013. The
    Affordable Care Act has led to significant gains in health insurance and access to care for
    young adults. Health Affairs, 32(1), 165-74.

    Sommers, B. D., Gunja, M. Z., Finegold, K., and Musco, T. 2015. Changes in self-reported
    insurance coverage, access to care, and health under the Affordable Care Act. Journal of
    the American Medical Association, 314(4), 366-74.

    Sommers, B. D., Maylone, B., Blendon, R. J., Orav, E. J., and Epstein, A. M. 2017. Three-year
    impacts of the Affordable Care Act: Improved medical care and health among low-
    income adults. Health Affairs, 36, 1119-28.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 39


    Mwadi Kakoma Chakulya
    Konkola Copper Mines Medical, Zambia

    Francis Wambalaba

    United States International University, Kenya

    Barbara W. Son
    Anaheim University, USA, and Medical Tactile Imaging, Inc.

    SUMMARY: The global challenge of healthcare financing due to rising healthcare costs requires
    innovative solutions. This challenge is present not only at the U.S. national level and employer-
    based financing, but also internationally in organizations such as Konkola Copper Mines (KCM)
    in Zambia. This study sought to determine effective healthcare funding options for KCM’s
    employee medical services to be more self-sustaining and reduce its reliance on a single source of
    funding. We surveyed 285 KCM employees and nine management staff from June to July 2016.
    The employees showed a willingness to contribute towards prepayment medical schemes and
    earmarked employee contributions to support funding for specific areas of medical services.
    However, they did not favor employee contributions directly towards general medical services.
    This research offers suggestions for addressing inefficiencies with the current resources and
    implementing prepayment employee medical schemes as a funding option.


    Located in the middle of Southern Africa, Zambia was one of the world’s fastest growing
    economies with a real GDP growth averaging roughly 6.7% per year during 2004-2014. The
    country’s dependency on copper as its sole major export made it vulnerable to global price
    fluctuations (World Factbook, 2017). According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC, 2015),
    Zambia’s population was about 15 million, per capita income was $3,860, life expectancy at birth
    was 56 for women and 51 for men, and the top three diseases were HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and
    diarrheal and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, timely access to healthcare services and their
    availability and affordability that are dependent on well-functioning healthcare models are critical
    for Zambia’s development. According to the WHO Regional Office for Africa (2013), some of
    Zambia’s healthcare-funding models include sources such as donor countries that fund specific
    healthcare programs. Another model involves private organizations and facilities that also provide
    healthcare in Zambia. For example, the mining industry historically had developed a network of
    health facilities, particularly across the Copperbelt Province of Zambia, to provide healthcare to

    Unlike in the United States, where the health insurance system has been well established,
    the insurance system in Zambia has not been well developed. However, in both Zambia and the

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 40

    U.S., labor unions have been very instrumental in pushing the miners’ health agenda. For example,
    even after threats of coal-mining companies’ bankruptcies, the United Mine Workers Association
    (UMWA) has been instrumental in working with U.S. legislators to continue providing financial
    support, as evidenced in the 2017 Miners Protection Act (Volcovici, 2017). Mwale (2014) posits
    that, in terms of representation, the Mine Workers’ Union of Zambia (MUZ) was one of the most
    vital bargaining agents for most major mining companies in Zambia. Among the key goals of MUZ
    was providing members relief in sickness, accidents, disability, distress, unemployment,
    victimization trade disputes, and funeral expenses for deceased members.

    This study examines the health challenges for Zambian miners with implications for the
    mining industry in the US and elsewhere. Although the benefits of promoting employee health are
    extensively covered in the healthcare management literature, there is a lack of in-depth research
    that considers employee health promotion from the employee perspective in the Zambian mining
    industry. Furthermore, limited information is available to address the Zambian mining industry
    and how organizations such as Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) can develop strategies for funding
    employee medical services. Due to lack of resources and conflicting priorities between copper
    production and funding employee health services, KCM’s medical services were faced with the
    inability to become more financially self sufficient. Accordingly, this study examines how
    employees could have a role in helping the medical services department become financially
    sustainable. To address this issue, this study analyzes hypotheses regarding KCM employees’
    potential contributions towards medical services with respect to union membership, gender,
    marital status, and location based on a 2016 survey. The study also discusses implications of the
    empirical results on employer-based healthcare financing in the Zambian mining industry in
    general. Furthermore, this study sheds light on the growing challenges in the US mining industry
    and on the union problems regarding health coverage and financing. These issues are further
    examined in the discussion.


    KCM, one of Africa’s largest integrated copper producers, is situated in the Copperbelt

    Province of Zambia. The organization is a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources, which was founded
    in India in 1976 (Vedanta, 2017). KCM was previously under a mining conglomerate called
    Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM). ZCCM had established water and electricity utility
    facilities, recreational facilities, educational facilities, and health services. The privatization
    process in the late 1990s and early 2000s required the mining companies to take up most of the
    social services. Therefore, at the time of privatization, KCM inherited two mine hospitals, eight
    community clinics, and six plant site clinics (Kumar, 2016).

    The company has been offering free medical services to employees and their dependents
    for the past fifteen years since privatization. Despite opening up services to the public and
    contractors, the income generated by the services is only 11% of the total annual operating costs.
    Income earned from services rendered to fee-paying contractor companies began to dwindle as the
    decline of contractor jobs around the mine resulted in a reduced number of contractor clients
    accessing the services (Carrin, Doetinchem, Kirigia, Mathauer, & Musango, 2008). The
    organization therefore needed to seek other options in order for medical services to become self-
    sustaining. The increasing operational costs of running medical services with the ever-increasing
    costs of running the mining operations created internal competitive financial pressure on how the
    organization prioritizes and utilizes its resources. The low copper prices on the international

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 41

    markets also meant that the organization could not make significant revenues and profits needed
    to cover costs for the medical department (Chuma, Mulupi, & McIntyre, 2013). This is unlike the
    US coal mining industry, in which some mines had been abandoned and, hence, their retired
    workers had faced health benefit cuts (Samuels, 2017). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to
    examine the potential of employee contributions for enhancing sustainability of employee medical

    Given the potential for decreased availability of company-sponsored health services for
    employees, it was anticipated that employee contributions would reduce the risk of losing such
    services. Hovlid, Bukve, Haug, Aslak, and Von Plessen (2012) used the learning theory to assess
    the sustainability of healthcare improvements. They argued that theoretical frameworks can guide
    further research on the sustainability of quality improvements and that theories of organizational
    learning have contributed to a better understanding of organizational change in other contexts.
    Similarly, the moral hazard theory has been referenced in this context, arguing that when people
    pay a higher share of total health spending, they become more careful consumers of healthcare and
    forgo unneeded care (Gould, 2013). For example, in their study of the UMWA Health Plan in the
    US, Roddy, Wallen, and Meyers (1986) noted that in 1977, UMWA members were given a 40%
    coinsurance requirement with $250 deductible for hospital care. However, Nyman (2007) refuted
    the application of the moral hazard theory in this context, arguing that most of the theory
    represented healthcare that patients would not access without insurance.

    Considering ecological models, health promotion can be most effective when all the
    interwoven social, institutional, and environmental factors are targeted together (Golden & Earp,
    2012). Employers, too, have realized that by not investing in employee healthcare, they will incur
    high indirect health costs such as absenteeism, sick leaves, and loss of highly qualified labor
    (Porter, Teisberg, & Wallace, 2008). Employer-sponsored healthcare also ensures that employee
    welfare in the workplace is maintained by ensuring that employees are safeguarded from poor and
    unsafe working conditions through adherence to occupational health regulations, particularly in
    large industries such as mining, oil, and steel. This research assessed KCM employee preferences
    for healthcare cost share based on union membership, gender, marital status, and site location.


    This study used a descriptive research design that measures behavior, prevalence, or

    outcomes of a population under certain conditions (Bless, Smith, & Kagee, 2006). Employee
    healthcare benefits studies have previously utilized this form of study design to describe the
    various factors or phenomena associated with employer-sponsored healthcare (HRET, 2015). In
    this study, the population constituted 7,000 KCM employees, and the sampling frame was the list
    of all KCM employees in the human resources database in the information management system
    (SAP). Clustered and stratified random sampling techniques were used to obtain a representative
    sample of KCM employees. The clustering units were based on integrated business units (IBUs)
    or work locations, and each IBU was partitioned into several subpopulations, called strata,
    according to the KCM grade system. Samples were drawn independently across each stratum
    (Ahmed, 2009). Employees were then further randomly sampled according to their KCM grade,
    salary scale, or department. Hence, two hundred and eighty-five KCM employees and nine
    management staffs constituted the sample and were surveyed during the period from June to July
    2016. The nine management staffs were identified as key informants with a good understanding
    of the medical services program.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 42

    Two pre-tested structured questionnaires were employed to obtain data from KCM
    employees and management staff, respectively. A proposal was presented to the senior KCM
    Human Capital Management and KCM Medical Ethics Committee for approval to conduct the
    study among KCM employees. Meetings were also held with union officials in the presence of
    human resource officials to explain the study and to address any concerns. Research assistants
    were recruited and trained to ensure data accuracy. Employees could consent to participate in the
    study, were assured of confidentiality, and were allowed to opt out if they were not willing to
    participate. Data were coded, entered, and analyzed to compute descriptive statistics using the
    SPSS, STATA, and Minitab.

    Data Analysis

    Overall, the study found that most employees were not in favor of healthcare cost sharing.

    Agree and strongly agree had the highest combined rating, as shown in Table 1, with almost 89%
    of employee respondents preferring that KCM continued funding and providing free employee
    medical services. They were not keen on a monthly employee contribution for medical services or
    for the medical services to be handed over to the government.

    Table 1

    Healthcare Funding Options for KCM Medical Services – Employee Responses

    RESPONSE (%)

    Agree Agree

    Agree or

    Disagree Strongly Disagree

    KCM should continue
    funding and providing free
    employee medical services

    67.1 21.8 3.2 5.7 2.1

    Employee willingness to
    make monthly
    contributions towards
    KCM medical services

    4.3 20.1 9.3 30.1 35.8

    Handing over KCM
    medical services to the

    4.3 11.1 9.3 27.6 47.7

    Partnerships with other
    private organizations to
    run the medical services as
    a commercial unit

    13.2 28.3 14.3 21.9 22.2

    To further examine the negligible willingness by employees to contribute financially

    toward medical services, the study compared the proportions of union and non-union employees
    by testing the hypotheses: null hypothesis is Ho: p1 – p2 = 0 and alternative hypothesis is Ha: p1

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 43

    – p2 ≠ 0, where groups 1 and 2 are union and non-union, respectively. Table 2 shows the output
    from the hypothesis testing using Minitab software. The z-value in the output is 4.14, and the p-
    value is 0.000, which is less than the significance level of α value = 0.05. Thus, the p-value is
    highly significant and the null hypothesis is rejected in favor of the alternative. From the sample
    proportions, 75.2% of union employees opposed financial contribution to medical services versus
    50.5% of non-union employees who opposed. The difference was statistically significant.

    Table 2

    Employee Willingness to Contribute to Medical Services

    Union 169 127 0.751
    Non-Union 101 51 0.505
    Female 74 47 0.635
    Male 204 137 0.672
    Single 52 33 0.635
    Married 212 142 0.670
    Nchanga 113 67 0.593
    Konkola 109 80 0.734

    Regarding gender influence on employee contributions towards medical services, the study
    compared the sample proportions for males and females where the null hypothesis was Ho: p1 –
    p2 = 0 and the alternative hypothesis was Ha: p1 – p2 ≠ 0, where groups 1 and 2 were females and
    males, respectively. The z-value in the output was -0.57, while the p-value was not significant,
    hence the null hypothesis was not rejected. Therefore, the gender influence on employee
    contributions to medical services was not statistically significant, although from the sample
    proportions, males were more opposed to cost-share than were females (67.2% for males versus
    63.5% for females).
    With respect to marital status, the study assessed the statistical significance of the
    difference in marital status on the willingness to contribute toward medical services and compared
    the proportion of single and married employees by testing the hypotheses: null hypothesis is Ho:
    p1 – p2 = 0 and alternative hypothesis is Ha: p1 – p2 ≠ 0, where groups 1 and 2 were single and
    married employees, respectively. Since the p-value was greater than the significance level of α
    value = 0.05, the null hypothesis was not rejected in favor of the alternative. Hence, the study
    concluded that the effect of marital status on the willingness to financially contribute toward
    medical services was not statistically significant, even though the sample proportions showed
    married employees were more opposed to the cost-share compared to single employees (67% for
    married employees versus 63.5% for single employees).
    Finally, to examine site location’s influence on employee contributions to medical services,
    the study compared the sample proportions for employees at the Nchanga and Konkola sites. The
    null hypothesis was Ho: p1 – p2 = 0 and alternative hypothesis was Ha: p1 – p2 ≠ 0, where groups
    1 and 2 were employees in Nchanga and Konkola, respectively. The z-value in the output was –

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 44

    2.22, and the p-value =0.026 was less than the significance level of α value = 0.05. Thus, the p-
    value was highly significant and the null hypothesis was rejected in favor of the alternative. From
    the sample proportions, 73.4% of employees in Konkola opposed financial contribution to medical
    services versus 59.3% of employees in Nchanga who opposed contributions. The difference was
    statistically significant.


    This study tested hypotheses regarding the willingness to contribute to medical services
    with respect to union membership, gender, marital status, and work sites of employees. As revealed
    in the analysis, the results demonstrated significant differences between union and non-union
    employees. Union employees strongly opposed more employee contributions to medical services,
    compared to non-union employees. It appears that union employees were more inclined to actively
    seek employee benefits including healthcare benefits than were low-paid non-union employees
    who were on short-term contracts. KCM had almost 50% contract employees (6,000) compared to
    6,500 direct employees (Koyi, 2017). Most mining firms in Zambia increasingly preferred
    independent contractors for cost saving. Contractors typically earn 50-80% of what permanent
    employees earn (Danish Trade Union Council, 2014).

    For the gender hypothesis, the results showed that gender has insignificant influence on
    employee contributions to medical services, although males seemed to oppose more financial cost-
    share contributions towards medical services than did females. Male miners in Zambia have been
    vulnerable to labor abuses and have been exposed to unsafe working conditions for a longer period.
    Consequently, they have been continuously facing injuries and poor health, as the Zambian
    Ministry of Mines, Energy, and Water Development has been loosely enforcing the national labor
    law and safety regulations (Zambia: Safety Gaps, 2013).

    The study further revealed that marital status exerts weak impacts on employee
    contributions to medical services. Nonetheless, the sample proportions showed that married
    employees were more likely than single employees to oppose employee contributions to medical
    services. This could be explained by the fact that married employees have responsibilities toward
    their dependent children. They are estimated to have at least 10 dependents and must pay for school,
    food, and medical expenses (KCM workers, 2014).

    Finally, work locations seemed to have a significant impact on the willingness to
    financially contribute toward medical services as demonstrated. Employees in Konkola strongly
    opposed more employee contributions to medical services as compared to employees in Nchanga.
    In addition, permanent employees in Konkola seemed to be more determined to maintain current
    healthcare benefits in contrast with contract employees in Nchanga. KCM laid off 2,500 contract
    employees at its loss-making Nchanga site in 2015 (Hill, 2015). Furthermore, in 2016, the
    company notified MUZ about their continuous outsourcing plan to lure enormous investments.
    Consequently, over 4,000 workers were handed over to private contractors despite the opposition
    of Zambian government and mining unions (KCM handover, 2017). This could explain their
    willingness to contribute to avoid further layoffs.

    According to management respondents, the major challenge in financing KCM medical
    services was the dependence on copper revenues as the only source of financing. Additionally,
    allocation of healthcare funding is competing with priorities associated with copper production
    and the current liquidity challenges on the global market. Despite these challenges, management
    faces employees who prefer that KCM continue to provide free medical services to employees and

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 45

    who are not keen on making financial contributions towards their medical services or benefits. In
    contrast, management respondents were more inclined towards employee contributions and
    fostering strategic partnerships with other organizations.
    Like the Zambian mining industry, rising healthcare costs are unsustainable in the US
    mining industry. To cope with the upward-spiraling healthcare costs, some US coal companies are
    seeking telemedicine and wellness programs, while reducing employer contributions to health
    savings accounts (Giardina, 2014). Meanwhile, mining unions are lobbying the government to
    protect their members’ benefits (Thornton, 2017). UMWA has been actively lobbying for the
    Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act, but it has been facing strong opposition from mining
    employers and their political allies (UMWA, 2017). Furthermore, oversight lapses in safety laws
    whether in Zambia or in the U.S put miners at higher health risks. Non-union miners in Zambia
    and the US are especially vulnerable to unsafe work conditions. Rising outsourcing and non-union
    jobs are fueled by foreign investors in the Zambian mining industry, while UMWA faces tough
    huddles due to the shrinking mining industry and falling memberships (Peterson & Jones, 2015).

    Conclusions and Recommendations

    Like the Zambian mining industry, the US mining industry has faced labor unions that have
    sought to protect miners’ health. In both cases, the industry has not only been financially hit by
    falling prices but has also been facing rising healthcare costs (Thornton, 2017). Despite these rising
    challenges, miners continue to demand permanent health benefits and safe work protections. Major
    challenges in the Zambian copper mining industry have been the reliance on limited sources of
    funding, particularly copper revenues. Other major challenges have been inefficiencies in areas
    such as procurement processes and underutilization of information technology. In the US, mining
    companies’ bankruptcies have been a major challenge. Nonetheless, funding of employee medical
    services is important for several reasons as ascertained by this study. Providing financial
    protection, improving employee satisfaction and morale, and ensuring dependents remain healthy
    are important factors at the employee level. It was evident that KCM would not perform better
    financially or operationally without serious consideration of employee medical services. While
    legislative intervention has been one of the approaches in the US, cost-share in company-operated
    medical facilities has been an option in Zambia.
    Given there were some employees in the Zambian case who saw the need for cost-share,
    there is a need for strategic deliberations between management and workers towards buy-in for a
    dedicated fund that could be jointly managed. KCM should promote wellness programs and
    partner with other healthcare providers who are able to provide better services that KCM is not
    able to undertake alone. Enhancing services through partnership and providing better services
    could also lead to more clients who would be able to pay and thereby increase the critical mass
    and the base of income for the fund. It is noteworthy that 50% of employees were influenced by
    the presence of employee health services and benefits when selecting KCM as an employer.
    Employee health can be closely tied to organizational effectiveness. Accordingly, cost-benefits of
    worksite interventions should consider these interrelated criteria (Stokols, Pelletier, & Fielding,
    This study’s findings will also allow the medical management team in KCM and other
    similar organizations in Zambia or the US and elsewhere to evaluate which multi-level strategies
    can be considered for miners’ health promotion. Apart from providing employee health services,
    mining industry employers all over need to ensure that value is obtained from health services.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 46

    Management needs to consider alternative approaches for better healthcare and quality service
    provision to strike a balance between employee satisfaction with healthcare benefits and sufficient
    value for money invested in healthcare that can support future healthcare investment (Fronstin,

    Corresponding author: Dr. Barbara W. Son, bson@anaheim.edu.


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    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 48


    Carol Blaszczynski
    California State University, Los Angeles

    SUMMARY: In the past decade mindfulness practices, one component of employee and
    organizational wellbeing, have become more prevalent in workplaces. How can organizations
    design and implement workplace mindfulness programs? To answer that question, a short history
    of mindfulness programs is presented. Further, types of workplace mindfulness programs and their
    corresponding emphases and benefits are discussed. The pros and cons of mindfulness practices
    are identified as well as cautions when designing workplace mindfulness programs. The business
    case for supporting mindfulness as a dimension of employee wellness and healthcare is presented.


    As a dimension of employee wellbeing and healthcare, mindfulness has become a
    buzzword in healthcare during the past few years. Simply put, mindfulness has been defined by
    Kabat-Zinn, the creator of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs, as “awareness,
    cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way: on purpose, in the present moment
    and non-judgmentally” (2012/2016, p. 1). In essence, “mindfulness describes a comprehensive,
    integrated approach toward improving health and productivity in work environments” (Solon &
    Kratz, 2016, p. 31).

    Organizations such as Apple and Google have embraced mindfulness and have
    implemented programs to foster employee wellness, resulting in “better performance, heightened
    creativity, deeper self-awareness, and increased charisma—not to mention greater peace of mind”
    (Harvard Business Review Press, 2017, p. back cover), all of which contribute to an enhanced
    business bottom line. In addition to Apple and Google, other notable organizations that provide
    mindfulness programs for their employees include Accenture, American Express, General Electric,
    Ikea, KLM, Microsoft, Nike, Ogilvy, Roche, Royal Bank of Canada, and Sony (Hougaard, Carter,
    & Coutts, 2015). Smolkin (2016) reported that 22% of organizations currently have mindfulness

    This article presents information about the history of mindfulness, the types of workplace
    mindfulness programs, the pros and cons of organizational mindfulness programs, and the business
    case for supporting mindfulness as a dimension of employee wellness and healthcare.

    Short History of Mindfulness

    Mindfulness practices have a long history stemming from Eastern traditions such as

    Buddhism and Taoism (Brendel, 2017). In 1979 mindfulness-based stress reduction programs were
    launched at the University of Massachusetts by Kabat-Zinn. Langer wrote the classic book
    Mindfulness in 1989. In 1996 the first empirical research project about mindfulness in the
    workplace was conducted. The mobile mindfulness app Headspace was made available in 2012.
    In 2013 the number of articles about mindfulness totaled 549. Mindful, a new magazine, was
    launched in 2013 to promote mindfulness. Time magazine featured The Mindful Revolution on its
    cover in 2014. A mindfulness segment featuring Anderson Cooper was aired on the television
    show 60 Minutes in 2014 (Frey & Totten, 2015). The coverage of mindfulness has grown
    dramatically in recent years.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 49

    Types of Workplace Mindfulness Program

    Generally speaking, mindfulness programs can be classified as contemplative or non-

    contemplative. Contemplative-based mindfulness programs are those that “emphasize shortened
    versions of contemplative practices such as meditation” (Yeganeh & Good, 2016, p. 26). Non-
    contemplative based programs introduce practices that focus on “analyzing automatic routines,
    shifting attention to the five senses, and mindful thinking” (Yeganeh & Good, 2016, p. 26).

    In addition to seated meditation, contemplative-based mindfulness programs can include
    practices such as walking meditation, focused breathing activities (pranayama), yoga in its many
    forms, chanting, and tai chi and its variant forms. These longstanding contemplative Oriental
    practices are widely perceived by healthcare professionals as means for reducing stress and
    increasing employee wellbeing (e.g., Dwivedi, Kumari, & Nagendra, 2015). All of these practices
    require a moderate amount of intentionality, which is conscious awareness of what you are doing
    and why you are doing it, and engagement, which is full and active participation.

    Practitioners find that many traditional but difficult-to-master exotic contemplative
    practices appeal to only some employees. For example, employees who have xenophobic
    tendencies and strong cultural attachment to the American way of life may shy away from foreign-
    originated contemplative-type health and wellness activities such as meditation and chanting. For
    those who have experienced trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the closing of eyes
    during meditation activities may cause anxiety. Others may perceive the names of certain common
    yoga poses such as savasana (corpse pose, which is traditionally the last pose practiced in a yoga
    class because it is relaxing) as revolting and culturally unacceptable. Atheists oftentimes object to
    engaging in the anjali mudra (prayer pose with the palms of the hands together by the heart center),
    another common yoga pose, because of their beliefs. The Sanskrit yoga vocabulary used by most
    teachers puzzles and alienates some neophyte yoga learners. Chanting may be perceived as having
    a mystical or spiritual connotation that can be objectionable or unacceptable to some employees.
    Others may frown upon these contemplative practices and embrace easier-to-master less traditional
    but more practically oriented non-contemplative techniques such as journaling and mindful eating.

    Non-contemplative mindfulness programs consist of three basic approaches: modifying
    automatic responses, focusing on the five senses, and thinking mindfully. Modifying automatic
    responses involves moving from subconscious autopilot reactions to consciously aware ways when
    necessary. Such automatic behaviors are helpful when they are appropriate; in other words, these
    behaviors “enable us to save energy for new situations by reducing energy spent on the things we
    do every day” (Yeganeh & Good, 2016, p. 27). In new situations, automatic responses should be
    set aside to avoid catastrophic thinking and related calamities.

    Focusing on the five senses of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting allows
    employees to disrupt their automatic response patterns and to obtain a more accurate multiple-
    sensory perspective of reality. Noticing the details of the workplace environment shifts the
    observer’s mind to the senses. For example, seeing a colleague’s facial expressions while speaking
    shifts the observer’s attention by engaging in the present moment (Yeganeh & Good, 2016). While
    some may perceive engaging the senses as a passive or useless activity, “intentionally engaging
    the senses is a powerful way to shape how we pay attention to the present moment” (Yeganeh &
    Good, 2016, p. 29).

    Mindful thinking focuses around accepting the moment rather than rejecting it. The
    practice of acceptance allows employees to switch from the unhealthful, stress-inducing worrying
    mode to the healthful, stress-reducing caring mode (Yeganeh & Good, 2016). For example, rather
    than responding to a colleague who is unprepared for a meeting by thinking “I can’t believe this
    person is not fully prepared; what a waste of everyone’s time when we all have lots of work to do,”
    a mindful thinker might depersonalize the situation and think “I am very annoyed by this; it’s all
    right for me to be angry with unprepared colleagues occasionally.” This acceptance of the emotion
    allows the person to move on to address the situation constructively.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 50

    Pros and Cons of Organizational Mindfulness

    The pros and cons of selected organizational mindfulness practices are presented in Table

    1. Most of the listed mindfulness practices are contemplative with journaling and mindful eating
    standing out as non-contemplative practices. Primary benefits and drawbacks are presented.

    Table 1

    Primary Intended Benefits and Primary Potential Drawbacks of Selected Mindfulness Practices
    Mindfulness practice Intended benefits Potential drawbacks
    Meditation Reduces stress levels Misguided beliefs that meditation

    requires long periods of time
    Pranayama* Increased level of energy Perceived by some as difficult to
    (breathing practices) Experience calmness practice
    Can promote sleep
    Yoga Reduces stress levels Perceived confusion about which
    Fosters mind-body yoga style(s) to practice

    connection Viewed as costly at yoga studios (except
    for community classes)

    Chanting Clears the mind Requires a separate room
    Inhibited participant responses
    Journaling Allows processing of Can be done virtually anywhere, any

    emotions time
    May reduce stress levels Considered difficult by some
    Mindful eating Allows focus on food Requires self-discipline

    Identifies emotional

    Reduces tendency to eat

    on autopilot
    *Note. Benefit varies depending on the type of breath practiced.

    Most of Fidelity’s 2016 survey of Employer-Sponsored Health and Wellbeing revealed

    that the level of employee engagement in wellness programs ranged from 10% for consulting a
    life coach to 53% when employees completed a basic health survey (Fry, 2017). Lewis (as cited
    by Fry, 2017, p. 99) distinguishes wellness programs and benefits that are done for employees
    from “wellness done to employees,” which includes compulsory weight-loss programs among
    other initiatives.

    The language used during a wellbeing program can influence the acceptance of the
    mindfulness program. Reitz (2016/2017) suggests using the words “performance” and “attention”
    in addition to the word “mindfulness” during presentations and workshops since the word
    “mindfulness” has a negative connotation for some people and its use may discourage employee

    Silcox (2016) recommends using the following strategies when introducing and building a
    wellbeing program: (a) involve employees in policy development, (b) use multiple media to
    communicate about the wellbeing program, (c) use company data (e.g., about absences) and data
    gleaned from employee surveys when designing a wellness program, (d) determine how to hook

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 51

    employees who typically do not participate in wellness programs (men often participate at
    a lower rate than do women), (e) follow and evaluate wellness program participation rates, (f)
    consider holding workplace competitions and giving recognition, (g) schedule health seminars and
    fairs featuring speakers from outside the firm, (h) consider using interactive activities since they
    have been found to sustain interest, (i) schedule a launch for each new wellbeing activity, (j)
    provide staff with adequate notice about events to encourage participation, and (k) give employees
    time off from work responsibilities to engage in wellbeing activities.

    One potential practice is to have employees complete a mindfulness questionnaire twice:
    once as a pretest before training begins and again following the training as a posttest measure.
    While there are several instruments from which to choose, a commonly used public domain
    measure is the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). The FFMQ focuses on the five
    mindfulness components of observing, describing, detaching, acting mindfully, and loving
    yourself (being self-compassionate) (Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Toney, 2006; Strosahl
    & Robinson, 2015).

    Forty workplace mindfulness intervention programs disseminated in the literature were
    analyzed by Jamieson and Tuckey (2017, p. 189). Of these intervention programs, 22 investigated
    the “effect of mindfulness interventions on at least one aspect of employee health or well-being.”
    Results from three of the less robust studies did not support the use of mindfulness intervention
    programs in the workplace; nevertheless, most of the studies produced results that corroborate the
    efficacy of mindfulness programs. Duarte and Pinto-Gouveia (2016) introduced a six-week
    mindfulness-based intervention program to oncology nurses. This intervention involved exposure
    to mindful eating, mindful communication, pranayama (breathing exercises), and various types of
    meditation and appeared to reduce burnout and helped to decrease compassion fatigue.

    Workplace mindfulness programs should be voluntary, not imposed on employees
    (Brendel, 2017). The voluntary nature of workplace mindfulness programs encourages employee

    Business Case for Supporting Mindfulness

    The current business environment has been dubbed the attention economy in which “the

    ability to maintain focus and concentration is every bit as important as technical or management
    skills” (Hougaard & Carter, 2017, p. 40). Langer (2017), who has conducted mindfulness research
    for over 40 years, identifies better performance, greater innovation, enhanced charisma, a lower
    level of procrastination, and being less judgmental about other people as mindfulness practice

    Congleton, Holzel, and Lazar (2017) assert that mindfulness research results have revealed
    that mindfulness is now a necessity for executives. Two areas of the brain that are positively
    affected by mindfulness practice are the anterior cingulate cortex, important in self-regulation, and
    the hippocampus, which is central to resilience (Congleton et al., 2017).

    Chakravorty (2017, p. 29) reported that a mindfulness program introduced in a critical care
    unit (CCU) resulted in “a significant increase in throughput, (e.g., number of patients admitted in
    CCU per year), a decrease in work-in-process (e.g., average number of hours in CCU per patient),
    and an increase in quality (e.g., live discharge) with a slight decrease in cost.” Staff were
    encouraged to engage in meditation for five to ten minutes every few hours. Prior to treating a
    patient, staff were asked to “clear their mind[s] for one to two minutes” and taught “to
    communicate often with other caregivers about patient condition.”

    Although research has indicated that mindfulness training provides several benefits,
    practicing mindfulness is not a panacea for all ills. While mindfulness practice is a valuable
    endeavor, the practice is only one of several potential offerings that can be beneficial for employees.
    As Connolly, Stuhlmacher, and Cellar (2016) so elegantly stated, “Given the variety of objectives,
    techniques, and outcomes, it is imperative that mindfulness training receives mindful scrutiny” (p.
    682). Above all, it is important to acknowledge that results from workplace mindfulness programs
    take time to become apparent (Adams, 2016).

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 52


    Workplace mindfulness programs have become widespread—perhaps even trendy—over

    the last decade. While several research studies have demonstrated various wellbeing benefits
    stemming from corporate mindfulness programs including decreased costs, diminished
    compassion fatigue, and reduction of stress levels, care should be taken in the design and
    implementation of workplace mindfulness programs with experts. Involving employees during
    the program design, implementation, and follow-up stages is critical to the success and
    sustainability of mindfulness program participation. Evaluation of program results should be
    conducted on an ongoing basis to determine the efficacy of the program and to identify aspects
    that should be added, changed, or omitted. Follow-up training offerings would be a mindful
    practice to encourage employee and program sustainability.

    Corresponding author: Dr. Carol Blaszczynski, cblaszc@calstatela.edu.


    Adams, J. (2016). Building the business case for mindfulness. Occupational Health, 68(5), 15.
    Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., & Toney, L. (2006). Using self-report

    assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13(1), 27-45.
    Brendel, D. (2017). There are risks to mindfulness at work. In Mindfulness: HBR emotional

    intelligence series (pp. 107-116). Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.
    Chakravorty, S. S. (2017). Mindfulness boosts process performance. ISE Magazine, 49(9), 28-

    Congleton, C., Holzel, B. K., & Lazar, S. W. (2017). Mindfulness can literally change your

    brain. In Mindfulness: HBR emotional intelligence series (pp. 27-35). Boston, MA:
    Harvard Business Review Press.

    Connolly, D., Stuhlmacher, A. F., & Cellar, D. F. (2016). Be mindful of motives for mindfulness
    training. Industrial & Organizational Psychology, 8(4), 679-682.

    Duarte, J., & Pinto-Gouveia, J. (2016). Effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention on
    oncology nurses’ burnout and compassion fatigue symptoms: A non-randomized study.
    International Journal of Nursing Studies, 64, 98-107.

    Dwivedi, U. C., Kumari, S., & Nagendra, H. R. (2015). Model of yoga intervention in industrial
    psychology for counterproductive work behavior. Industrial Psychiatry Journal, 24(2),
    119-124. doi:10.4103/0972-6748.181730

    Frey, A., & Totten, A. (2015). I am here now: A creative mindfulness guide and journal. New
    York, NY: Tarcher Press.

    Fry, E. (2017). Corporate wellness programs: Healthy . . . or hokey! Fortune, 175(4), 99-100.
    Harvard Business Review Press. (2017). Mindfulness: HBR emotional intelligence series.

    Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.
    Hougaard, R., & Carter, J. (2017). How to practice mindfulness throughout your workday. In

    Mindfulness: HBR emotional intelligence series (pp. 37-45). Boston, MA: Harvard
    Business Review Press.

    Hougaard, R., Carter, J., & Coutts, G. (2015). One second ahead: Enhance your performance at
    work with mindfulness. New York, NY: Springer.

    Jamieson, S. E., & Tuckey, M. R. (2017). Mindfulness interventions in the workplace: A
    critique of the current state of the literature. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology,
    22(2),180-193. doi:10.1037/ocp0000048

    Kabat-Zinn, J. (2012/2016). Mindfulness for beginners: Reclaiming the present moment—and
    your life. Boulder, CO: Sounds True, Inc.

    Langer, E. (2017). Mindfulness in the age of complexity. In Mindfulness: HBR emotional
    intelligence series (pp. 1-25). Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 53

    Reitz, M. (December 2016/January 2017). How to introduce mindfulness at work. People
    Management, p. 48.

    Silcox, S. (2016). Encouraging employee participation in wellbeing activities. Occupational
    Health & Wellbeing, 68(5), 16-17.

    Smolkin, S. (2016). Corporate mindfulness programs grow in popularity. Retrieved from
    Ebn.benefitsnews.com. 7/14/2016, 1.

    Solon, R., & Kratz, R. (2016). How mindfulness and situational awareness training help workers.
    Benefits Magazine, 53(3), 30-33.

    Strosahl, K. D., & Robinson, P. J. (2015). In this moment: Five minutes to transcending stress
    using mindfulness and neuroscience. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

    Yeganeh, B., & Good, D. (2016). Mindfulness as a disruptive approach to leader development.
    OD Practitioner, 48(1), 26-31.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 54

    B O O K R E V I E W

    The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D.

    H. Rika Houston
    California State University, Los Angeles

    Health care in the United States of America is a complex topic fraught with the historical

    and emotional trappings of most political minefields. With so many health care companies and
    organizations focusing upon the endless minutiae of how to deliver, manage, and reimburse health
    care; embracing a “big picture” perspective is a path followed only by those rare innovators who
    are willing and discerning enough to embrace the unknown. In this review, I will focus upon a
    book that calls out to the latter group and speaks to the larger and more hopeful perspective of
    twenty-first century innovation in health care.

    Through my lifelong fascination with the history of science and technology, I have
    navigated and explored the never-ending landscape of biomedical innovations as diverse as
    assisted reproductive technologies, cutting-edge human prosthetics, and other technological
    promises of a post-human vision. Many authors have intrigued me but Siddhartha Mukherjee,
    M.D., the author of “The Gene: An Intimate History (2016),” is one author who eloquently
    amplifies the potential of such a future world. In his most recent book, he reveals not only an
    amazing grasp of the history of (biological) science, but also a preternatural understanding of how
    health in general and our DNA specifically can impact, devastate, and even enlighten our everyday
    lives. Through his eyes, we can challenge and reimagine preconceived notions of health and
    wellness. And, through his powerful and historically informed gaze, we can recognize that we
    have entered a new era—one that will hopefully change the means and machinations of health,
    health care delivery, and anything related to it for decades to come.

    Organized in a thought-provoking combination of chronological, historical events and
    thematic groupings; Mukherjee’s book leads us through the convoluted and sometimes
    serendipitous discovery of the human genome. In an approach like his earlier book on the history
    of cancer; Mukherjee draws us into the story by weaving his personal stories, those of his patients,
    and the history of science into a powerful chronicle about how all these perspectives are so deeply
    connected (Mukherjee, 2010). Genetics, a relatively new science whose origins can be traced
    historically back to Gregor Johann Mendel’s 1866 study of pea plants, is based upon a surprisingly
    simple concept—the forty-six chromosomes in the human genetic code (Mendel, 1866; Mukherjee
    2010, 2016). These chromosomes, twenty-three received from one biological parent and twenty-
    three received from the other, contain thousands of genes that provide the master instructions to
    build, repair, and maintain a unique human being (Mukherjee, 2016). Clearly, as Mukherjee
    (2016) points out, this scientific discovery is fraught with the same paradox of simplicity and
    complexity inherent in the discovery of two other transformational scientific discoveries—the
    atom and the byte. On one hand, the human genome offers the promise of unlocking the mystery
    of human existence. By doing so, the field of medicine and our understanding of health and
    wellness can be revolutionized beyond our collective imaginations. On the other hand, it offers

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 55

    the danger of man-made manipulation as evidenced by the gruesome application of human
    eugenics in 1940s Nazi Germany; an idea launched originally, by the way, by English and
    American reformers in search of a way to engineer human evolution. Mukherjee (2016) adeptly
    travels through a historical chain of post-World War II discoveries that reach their crescendo in
    the Human Genome Project, a global project to map and sequence the entire human genome. And,
    unlike the measured and objective image of the academic and scientific worlds that is typically
    portrayed to the public eye; Mukherjee (2016) exposes us to the backstage rivalry, politics, and
    maneuverings involved in the prolonged “race” to claim the genomic victory. Backstage politics
    aside, the draft sequence of the human genome was finally published in 2001 through a joint effort
    of the publicly funded Human Genome Project and the privately funded effort of Celera Genomics.
    To date, the modern science of genetics continues to uncover the mysteries of both the normal and
    abnormal behavior of genes. And, this transformational knowledge gives us a deeper
    understanding of diseases and how to prevent them. While the backstage politics is no doubt here
    to stay, the competition could possibly lead to new discoveries to help eradicate genetic disorders
    such as Huntington’s disease or cystic fibrosis. For those in search of a historical understanding
    of the human genome and its fascinating evolution over time; Mukherjee’s book offers us a
    thrilling journey and helps us to contemplate the possible implications for the practice of medicine
    and health care delivery, the notion of health and wellness, and how much we can or cannot control
    about our unique genetic codes in the end.

    For the healthcare industry specifically, the implications are endless. And, according to
    Robinson (2016), as genomic medicine becomes more mainstream; it is even more important that
    health care professionals and companies stay informed of the dynamic changes in this field.
    Jimenez-Sanchez (2015) discusses some of the health care industry innovations that have emerged
    from the genomic revolution. For example, he contemplates its valuable contributions to the
    identification of genes associated with common diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular
    disease, and cancers and how genomics will be merged with other technologies such as gene
    therapy and personalized drugs to eradicate such diseases. While these new technologies are no
    doubt changing the way such diseases are diagnosed and treated; they also offer the opportunity
    for astute, informed innovators to create companies that utilize these very technologies. For
    example, the emerging genomics and pharmagenomics industries exemplify this global market
    trend (http://medicalfuturist.com/top-companies-genomics/). While many social and ethical
    questions remain, successful innovators such as the personal genomics company 23andMe
    (https://www.23andme.com) the pharmagenomics company MyDNA (https://www.mydna.life),
    and the diagnostic genomics company Rosetta Genomics (https://rosettagx.com) are at the
    forefront of transforming the business and practice of health care. As the price of genome
    sequencing continues to fall drastically, the start-up potential will continue to grow exponentially.
    And so, Mukherjee’s “The Gene: An Intimate History” is a book that arrived just in time for those
    who understand the critical need for a “big picture” perspective. It provides a powerful and
    insightful gaze into the history and journey of the human genome—a must read for anyone even
    remotely connected to or interested in its implications for the health care industry, health care
    delivery, and the transformation of health and wellness as we know it.

    Book review author’s information: Dr. H. Rika Houston, hhousto@calstatela.edu.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 56


    Jimenez-Sanchez, Gerardo (2015). Genomics Innovation: Transforming Healthcare, Business,

    and the Global Economy, Genome, 58, 511-517.
    Mukherjee, Siddhartha (2010). The Emperor of All Maladies. Scribner Publishers: New York,

    New York.
    Mukherjee, Siddhartha (2016). The Gene: An Intimate History. Scribner Publishers: New York,

    New York.
    Mendel, Gregor Johann (1866). “Versuche über Pflanzen-Hybriden” [Experiments Concerning

    Plant Hybrids]” [1866]. In Verhandlungen des naturforschenden Vereines in
    Brünn [Proceedings of the Natural History Society of Brünn] IV (1865): 3–47. Reprinted
    in Fundamenta Genetica, ed. Jaroslav Kříženecký, 15–56. Prague: Czech Academy of
    Sciences, 1966. http://www.mendelweb.org/Mendel.html

    Robinson, Ann (2016). Genomics-The Future of Healthcare and Medicine. Prescriber, April
    2016, 51-55.

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol. 27, Issue 1 | 57

    The Business Forum, a scholar-practitioner, peer-reviewed journal published by the College of Business
    and Economics at Cal State LA, invites submissions and reviewers for its Fall 2018 “Startups” Issue.
    Target timeline:
    • June 15, 2018: All submissions are due electronically via the link below:
    • Spring and Summer 2018: Double-blind review and revision processes
    • Fall 2018: Issue is published in print and online

    The Business Forum has provided scholarly advice with application to business practices since 1975 and it is
    now revitalized in a modern print-online format. This is not a traditional academic journal. Our articles aim
    to advance business practice through application of research or theoretical synthesis of information relevant
    to business. We adhere to The American Psychological Association (APA) style and our target article length
    is from 2000 to 3000 words, inclusive of all artifacts such as tables, figures, and references.

    The “Startups” issue welcomes original manuscripts on a wide range of topics related to startups from a
    business perspective. Startups operate in the entrepreneurial landscape and are interdisciplinary by nature.
    As such, we welcome and encourage articles from various disciplines with a focus on specific concerns
    related to startups and their managers. Examples of issues that can be addressed include:

    • How to increase the presence of women and minorities executives in VCs?
    • How can a startup attract VCs?
    • What are the best ways to fund startups? How successful is crowdfunding?
    • Does Trump’s Tax Plan help or hinder startups?
    • Do incubators help startups?
    • Where are the new startups? What is the structure of a successful startup? What are the drivers and
    inhibitors of startup growth?
    • How to predict if a new business idea will lead to startup success?
    • What role does sustainability have in startups?
    • Is the culture of startups different from established companies?

    Whether your paper is about synthesizing theory and practice, applying interesting research to contemporary
    business issues related to startups, or illustrating both in a rigorous and vivid case, all submissions must curb
    academic jargon in favor of incorporating research findings in accessible language for non-specialist busi-
    ness audiences. Each submission should include practical insights and recommendations for managers.
    We look forward to receiving your papers!

    Marianne James, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief
    Xiaohan Zhang, Ph.D., Managing Editor
    Tye W. Jackson Ph.D., Issue Editor

    Call for Paper Submissions and Reviewers

    BUSINESS FORUM Vol 27, Issue 1 | 58

    5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles CA 90032 – 8120 | 323.343.2942


    ©2018 All Rights Reserved

    College of Business and Economics
    California State University, Los Angeles

    • cover front
    • Business Forum

    • cover back







    Prepared for

    Dr. XXXXXX

    XXXXX University, Los Angeles

    Prepared by

    Jane Good Report

    In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for BUS XXXX

    Section 05

    XXXXXXX University, Los Angeles

    April 6, 2020



    Jane Good Report

    Date: April 6, 2020

    Subject: Completed Analytical Report Presenting Strategies for Managing Stress

    Here is the report you requested on January 27, 2020, presenting strategies for managing workplace stress and increasing wellbeing.

    Data gathered from peer reviewed journals and Internet sources support the conclusion that stress relief is possible by implementing certain strategies and lifestyle changes.

    Please contact me if I can answer any questions for you. I am glad that you gave me the opportunity to write this report for you, Dr.XXXXXXX, because the project was both informative and enjoyable.



    On January 27, 2020, Dr. XXXXXXXX, Professor of Management at XXXXXX University, Los Angeles, authorized a study to look at strategies for managing workplace stress and increasing wellbeing.

    Secondary data for the study was gathered from online databases and the Internet.

    Findings show that workplace stress can have a negative impact not only on work performance but also on overall health. The following shows what strategies can be implemented into daily life to lessen the effects of workplace stress:

    1. Foster personal relationships by spending more time with family, friends, or significant others.

    2. Participate in preferred physical activities often.

    3. Participate in enjoyable leisure activities.

    4. Establish boundaries by separating work life and home life.

    5. Seek support from mental health professionals or contact a supervisor who can create a better work environment.

    It is concluded that these are all viable options to consider when looking for ways to destress and improve mental and physical health. For greater overall wellbeing, it is recommended that these steps be taken to manage the challenges of workplace pressures.






    Statement of the Problem

    What are effective strategies to manage workplace stress and increase overall wellbeing?

    Background Information

    “Considered to be the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization, stress is estimated to cost U.S. business $300 billion or $5,000 per employee per year” (Cardon & Patel, 2015, p. 379). Chronic stress disrupts lives and has been connected to many of the leading causes of death. In view of this connection, not only are individuals interested in means to combat stress, but employers and businesses are also looking for effective methods to assist their employees.

    Methods of Research

    In conducting secondary research for this report, EBSCO Host Business Source Premier was the primary library database used to find articles. All peer reviewed articles referenced in this report were published between the years 2014 and 2019. In addition to library databases, the Internet was also used to obtain integral information. Phrases such as “managing workplace stress”, “increasing wellbeing”, “importance of employee health”, and “stress coping strategies” were some of the many keywords used to find relevant articles.


    The following will provide strategies to mitigate the negative effects of workplace stress. These strategies include getting support from close relationships, exercising, relaxing activities, establishing boundaries, and seeking support from mental health professionals.

    Support from Close Relationships

    Family, significant others, and close friends are usually an individual’s major support system. These relationships can provide meaningful assistance during stressful periods of time. “Cumulative empirical evidence across 148 independent studies indicates that individuals’ experiences within social relationships significantly predict mortality. That is, people with stronger social relationships had a 50% increased likelihood of survival than those with weaker social relationships” (Holt-Lunstad, Smith, & Layton, 2010, p. 15). Having conversations or participating in activities with those in an individual’s close circle can be comforting. Even being in the presence of those people can have a calming effect.

    However, relying on those relationships for extended periods of time can put a strain on those bonds. It is easy to become a burden without even recognizing it, and often, others will feel obligated to help. To prevent this, relying on personal relationships as a means to relieve stress should be used in moderation and other forms of relief should be sought.


    One of the most common recommendations to manage stress and increase wellbeing is to exercise. This can include many activities such as walking, swimming, jogging, lifting weights, playing a sport, or dancing. The Anxiety and Depression

    Association of America states that, “Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins–chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers–and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress” (“Physical Activity Reduces Stress,” n.d., n.p.).

    Physical activity is seen as contributing to positive mental and physical health. Individuals who engage in physical activity tend to engage in other positive health behaviors such as healthy eating and smoking avoidance. Increased physical activity has been linked to decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety, and intervention studies provide support for a causal relationship between physical activity and decreased depression and anxiety symptoms. Physical activity has also been shown to moderate the relationship between life stressors and anxiety or depression (Lease, Ingram, & Brown, 2019, p. 253).

    Even moderate or low-impact exercise can create the intended effects. Positive outcomes can be amplified by also getting the recommended amount of sleep each night (about eight hours), eating a well-balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle overall.

    Relaxing Activities

    Participating in a leisure activity has the potential to relieve stress. Such activities can include, going out for a walk, completing puzzles, listening to music, taking up a hobby, reading a book, or watching a movie. Doing so allows the body and mind to relax by doing activities other than those that are stressful and usually work related.

    Companies such as Dow Chemical, Aetna, General Mills, Google, Nike, Ford and Apple have been using mindfulness initiatives such as meditation, yoga, breath control, stretching, and the distribution of positive messages via e-mail and slide presentations to help employees reduce stress, improve mental and emotional resiliency, promote creativity, increase productivity and become more engaged with their work and each other (Martin & Wachter, 2018, p. 30).

    Not only can individuals do these activities at home on their own time, but many companies are now directly coordinating relaxing activities to better serve their employees by creating a healthier work environment. During non-work hours, individuals should focus on activities that are pleasurable and fulfilling in order to decompress.

    Establishing Boundaries

    It is common to want to bring unfinished work home, especially for entrepreneurs or those who are self-employed. This practice can take form by physically bringing paperwork home or by continuing to complete tasks during “off” hours. Stress about the wellbeing of the business itself. According to Kim and Hollensbe {2018}, “Individuals with high home boundary permeability felt they had little time left to enjoy and contribute to their home life. They were more vulnerable to excessive work-related anxiety and tensions while at home, feeling preoccupied with these issues and having a weakened ability to concentrate on home tasks” (p. 102). The inability to leave work behind is what can create an endless cycle of chronic stress. Creating mental boundaries and not allowing work related issues to invade home and personal life would be a step towards stress relief.

    Support from Mental Health Professionals

    Although often used as a last resort or final effort, seeking support from a specially trained mental health professional is a viable option for those struggling with stress. Professionals who can help include counselors, psychologists, doctors, and therapists, although even a support group could offer beneficial guidance. Psychologists and doctors can use hypnosis to induce a deeply relaxed state, use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to change thinking patterns and behavior responses, or use biofeedback metrics to determine stress responses. More simply, meditation, visualization of possible future scenarios, or talk therapy might be implemented (Spriggs, 2014).

    Often times, many of these coping strategies are used together, although they might not be effective for all individuals. Some individuals may need to apply multiple techniques while others can manage work stress with only one. Managing stress is subjective and may require time and effort to determine which solutions work best.


    Based upon the findings of the report, the following conclusions to reducing workplace stress are drawn:

    1. Having close personal relationships can offer significant encouragement during periods of stress.

    2. Exercising maintains the body’s necessary functions and releases chemicals in the brain that affect mood.

    3. Participating in relaxing activities is a source of joy and allows for distraction from overwhelming situations.

    4. Establishing boundaries between home life and work life allows time away from stressful work related responsibilities.

    5. Seeking support from mental health professionals can introduce new ways of coping with stress.


    Based upon the conclusions of the study, the following recommendations are provided for those experiencing stress:

    1. Reach out to family and friends for support.

    2. Exercise daily or at least as often as possible to reap the physical and mental benefits.

    3. Participate in enjoyable and relaxing activities.

    4. Avoid bringing work home. If working from home is necessary, set and follow strict time schedules that determine when to stop working.

    5. Seek help from mental health professionals.


    Cardon, M. S., & Patel, P. C. (2015). Is stress worth it? Stress-related health and

    wealth trade-offs for entrepreneurs. Applied Psychology: An International

    Review, 64(2), 379–420.




    Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., & Layton, J. B., (2010). Social relationships and mortality

    risk: a meta-analytic review. Plos Medicine, 7(7): e1000316.



    Kim, S., & Hollensbe, E. (2018). When work comes home: technology-related pressure and home support. Human Resource Development International, 21(2), 91–106.


    Lease, S. H., Ingram, C. L., & Brown, E. L. (2019). Stress and health outcomes: do

    meaningful work and physical activity help? Journal of Career Development

    (Sage Publications Inc.), 46(3), 251–264. https://doi-org.mimas.calstatela.edu


    Martin, L. F., & Wachter, J. K. (2018). Art & science of mindfulness in the practice of

    safety. Professional Safety, 63(8), 30–35. Retrieved from




    Physical Activity Reduces Stress. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://adaa.org /understanding








    Spriggs, B. B. (2014, August 18). Coping with stress. Retrieved from https://www





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