Study: Employees are more stressed than their bosses

A recent academic study found employees have higher stress levels than those in the C-suite. It’s all a matter of control, it asserts. But some contend that’s comparing apples and oranges.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

According to a recent study from researchers at Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of California at San Diego, the employees who earn the not-so-big bucks are under considerably more stress than their bosses are, based on the level of cortisol, a hormone linked with stress, in their bodies.

With that in mind, should leaders take a different approach in terms of how they communicate with their stressed-out employees? asked communicators and executives whether the findings should have any bearing on top-down messages.

The why

That break in conventional wisdom seems to stem from the difference in feelings of control that workers at different levels have, the study found. One telling detail is that cortisol levels were lower in leaders who had more subordinates.

“Researchers found that the greater sense of control that comes with higher leadership levels helped explain the reduced cortisol,” says the study report in Harvard Gazette.

Even so, some say they don’t agree with the study’s findings.

Leo von Wendorff, CEO of Virtual Knowledge Workers, says executives simply endure a different kind of stress.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.