Case Study of Well-Being in the Workplace

Published: 2021/11/24
Number of words: 1103


In this literature review, I will explore the wellbeing state of employees working for Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development and Commercialisation Europe (ODCE) by reviewing ongoing wellbeing initiatives in the workplace to determine how beneficial they are and possible areas of improvement. This study will focus on a subjective assessment of the employees’ wellbeing by analysing both personal and professional factors that attribute to the subjective assessment. In addition, I will explore the number of employees participating in ongoing wellbeing initiatives.

Definition and Meaning

De Simone (2014) acknowledges that wellbeing in the workplace is a subject that has increasingly become a common scholarly topic for many researchers. However, the scholar notes that the body of literature around the topic is quite broad and distorted, leading to a disparity in the definition and meaning of the subject. For example, Forth, and Stokes (2014, p.24) define wellbeing as “all of the various evaluations, positive and negative, that people make of their lives, and the affective reactions of people to their experiences.” Davis (2019) states that wellbeing is the state of an individual experiencing health, prosperity and being happy. The author adds that wellbeing includes having thriving mental health, an element of purpose, ability to cope with stress and being fully satisfied with life. On the other hand, the International Labour Organisation states that workplace wellbeing relates to all sectors of the work life including the quality and safety of the physical work environment, employee’s perspectives about their work and work environment.

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Similarly, Dodge et al. (2012) argue that attempts of scholars to express the nature of wellbeing as a subject has focused on the dimensions of the subject, as opposed to the definition. These theories include the dynamic equilibrium theory of wellbeing (Headey and Wearing, 1989), the effect of life challenges on homeostasis (Cummins, 2010) and the lifespan model of development (Hendry and Kloep, 2012). Therefore, the scholars recommend a new definition that would centre on a balance that would adopt emerging life events or challenges. They state that “Stable wellbeing is when individuals have the psychological, social and physical resources they need to meet a particular psychological, social and/or physical challenge. When individuals have more challenges than resources, the see-saw dips, along with their wellbeing, and vice-versa.” (Dodge et al. 2012: 230). Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention define wellbeing as the existence of positive emotions and frames of mind, lack of negative emotions and general fulfillment with life. CDC further notes that wellbeing is not necessarily related to the physical health of individuals, but rather, it is a resource that enhances the process of realising their goals, fulfil their needs and manage the environment they live in in order to live a satisfying and fruitful life.

Measuring workplace wellbeing

There is significant disagreement on the best way to efficiently comprehend and measure wellbeing (Cooke, Mewlchert and Connor 2016). The scholars observe that there exists various conceptualizations of psychological health such as hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing as well as measuring construct instruments for these approaches. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) agrees that macro-economic data such as Gross Domestic Product does not accurately reflect the quality of life ordinary people experience. Therefore, in developing the OECD Wellbeing framework, the following components were assessed: existing wellbeing, inequalities in wellbeing results, and resources for potential wellbeing. Voukelatou et al. (2021) assert that measurement of wellbeing can provide information on the growth and development progress of a society. The scholars note that researchers have developed two approaches to measure wellbeing: objective and subjective well-being. Both of these approaches have primarily based their data management on surveys. In light of this, D’Acci (2011) argues that apart from the two positions of objective and subjective measures of wellbeing, there are economic and social variables that can be used to measure wellbeing for nations, contained in their Wellbeing and Progress Index (WIP). The index includes the following factors: human rights, education, equality, ecological behaviours, quality of urban environment and violent crime.

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One way to measure wellbeing is the Warwick-Edinburg Mental Well-Being Scale (WEMWBS), which has 14 worded sections developed to quantify the feelings and functionality aspects with regards to positive mental wellbeing (Mental Health Foundation, 2015). Participants are able to select the response that best describes their experience for the two-week period prior to taking the test, by selecting one answer out of a five-point scale. The end result of the test is a score between 14 and 70 with a higher score indicating a better state of well-being (Mental Health Foundation, 2015).


Bryson, A., Forth, J. and Stokes, L., 2014. Does worker wellbeing affect workplace performance. Department of Business Innovation and Skills, London.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Well-being concepts. Available at [Accessed 7 July 2021]

Cooke, P.J., Melchert, T.P. and Connor, K., 2016. Measuring well-being: A review of instruments. The Counseling Psychologist44(5), pp.730-757.

Davis, T., 2019. What is Well-being? Definition, Types and Well-being skills. Available at definition-types-and-well-being-skills [Accessed 7 July 2021]

D’Acci, L., 2011. Measuring well-being and progress. Social Indicators Research104(1), pp.47-65.

De Simone, S., 2014. Conceptualizing wellbeing in the workplace. International journal of business and social science5(12).

Dodge, R., Daly, A.P., Huyton, J. and Sanders, L.D., 2012. The challenge of defining wellbeing. International journal of wellbeing2(3).

International Labour Organisation. Workplace well-being. Available at being/WCMS_118396/lang–en/index.htm [Accessed 7 July, 2021]

Mental Health Foundation., 2015. What is well-being, how can we measure it and how can we support people to improve it? Available at wellbeing-how-can-we-measure-it-and-how-can-we-support-people-improve-it [Accessed 7 July 2021]

Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development. Measuring Well-being and progress: Well-being research. Available at and-progress.htm [Accessed 7 July 2021]

Voukelatou, V., Gabrielli, L., Miliou, I., Cresci, S., Sharma, R., Tesconi, M. and Pappalardo, L., 2021. Measuring objective and subjective well-being: dimensions and data sources. International Journal of Data Science and Analytics11(4), pp.279-309.

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