Culture of Health

Workplace stress stemming from long work hours, work-family conflict, and economic insecurity reduces engagement, increases turnover, and decreases people’s physical and emotional health. Rather than improve company performance, workplace stress costs US employers more than $300 billion and 120,000 excess deaths annually.

Given established links between income, life expectancy, and other socioeconomic determinants of health, there is increasing recognition that improving health in the future will require engagement beyond conventional health care partners. Activating the private sector to embrace its potential role for improving employee health and social well-being is especially attractive given the substantial influence corporations wield over multiple aspects of peoples’ lives. Business decisions impact employee, consumer, environmental, and community health. In addition the tech sector, as a locus of innovation, economic growth, and wealth accumulation, has an outsize opportunity to impact determinants of health, for better or for worse.

This research addresses how corporations can be used as vehicles to improve public health and wellbeing in the absence of government legislation and regulation, and how corporations can be convinced that they have financial incentives to invest in the public health of a diverse set of stakeholders: customers, employees, and society at large.

A key part of this project is to create an interdisciplinary working group of faculty across the business and medical schools, with domain expertise in business/organizations/management, as well as public health/medicine. 

Why Unhealthy Work Conditions Persist Despite Evidence of Harm

We aim to identify conditions that would facilitate change and public and private policy interventions necessary for achieving them. Drawing on interviews, archival documents, and publicly available information, we propose to investigate companies’ rationale for persisting with unhealthy practices, despite evidence of ill-consequences, and contextual factors that make persistence more likely.

Tech-Enabled Health Workshop

We convened 40 thought leaders to discuss ways in which tech sector companies currently impact health and social well-being and to craft a research and educational agenda that will inform and motivate unleashing potential for the tech sector to promote a culture of health. We identified opportunities that can form the basis of Stanford-based initiatives aiming to promote health as a business imperative for the technology sector.

Discussing Results from a National Corporate Culture of Health Survey: Is the Profession Ready for a Broader Value Proposition?

Dr. Singer presents results from a national survey recently published in the Milbank Quarterly. 

Interested In Learning More?

If you would like to receive more information about the project or get involved in spreading and scaling our findings, please contact us.