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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Understanding the environmental factors that have an impact on employee well-being : a social audit of a university college Gurm, Balbir Kaur


The purpose of this research was to study the effects of the environment, especially the work environment, on employee well-being in order to identify ways in which the environment may be improved. Key elements of a methodology called social and ethical auditing and accounting (social auditing) were used to determine the impact of a university college's policies and practices (environment) on employees' (faculty, support staff, and administration) wellbeing. Focus groups were conducted to determine which policies and practices employees believed affected their well-being. Most factors identified were consistent with the Determinants of Health in the Workplace Framework (Polanyi et al., 1998). Data from the focus groups was used to create a social audit survey that was administered to all employees at the university college. The response rate was 39% or 450 respondents. Generally the employees reported a high level of health or well-being. They also believed the organization was a good place to work. Employees had a sense of autonomy, control, belonging and caring. The employees perceived a low level of trust, communication, and organizational justice. They also reported that their stress and workload had increased over the last year, yet they were able to balance their work life and personal life. Recommendations made include actions to increase trust and communication, ensure the practices in the organization are fair and equitable, and monitor stress and workload.

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