How do Managers in the Public Sector Experience and Handle Anxiety Problematics Among their Employees in a Performance Society

Michala Kirsten Ory-Hviid

Student thesis: Master thesis


Anxiety is a complex phenomenon that implicates significant consequences and cost not only for the individuals but also for the organization and society as a whole. With that in mind this master thesis first examines the frequent occurrence of anxiety among Danes based on different understandings; through the physiological, the psychological and the existentialist understanding – all with performance society as a framework. The second part of the thesis examines manager’s perspective and understanding of manage employees with common mental disorders1 (CMD) in the public sector and with New Public Management as a framework. There are only a few studies of the manager's perspective and experience with employees with CMD - why this thesis provides a more-in-depth insight into the manager's perspective and the challenges that appear when managing employees with CMD.
Methodology - Through a phenomenological perspective and an inductive approach, this thesis seeks to examine how management in the public sector experience handling employees with CMD. The data material underlying the survey is collected through qualitative interviews with managers from three different areas of the public sector; the municipal, the regional and the public authority.
Findings – The managers who were interviewed all felt that they have a responsibility to detect and handle employees with CMD. Several of the managers face organizational challenges associated with managing employees with CMD - especially time and the administrative burden imposed. An experiencing among the managers is that the organizational focus on lack of well is based on the economy, which must be concluded to be in disharmony with the managers' focus, which wants to do more for their employees. All managers find that CMD is more challenging to handle than the physical one. The challenge lies in the fact that the psychic is taboo, irrational and the uncertain time horizon for when the employee is back at 100% after a sick leave.
Value - From an HR and management perspective, this study is relevant, as it provides an insight and potential causes for this increasing tendency to anxiety and other psychological dissatisfaction in the Danish society and at the workplaces, where it causes expensive long-term sick leave. Furthermore, the study gives a rare look into the leader's world of life and own experience of handling and responsibility.

EducationsMSc in Human Resource Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages164