Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Steve Roussas


Stress inside and outside of work affects employee productivity. In 2013, the estimated impact of employee absenteeism on U.S. businesses was $225 billion per year through reduced efficiency, overtime wages, fixed fringe benefits, and the cost of replacement employees. Based on the social exchange theory and the theory of planned behavior, the purpose of this qualitative single case study was to explore the strategies that HR leaders in a single organization used to reduce employee disengagement caused by stress. Using semistructured interviews, data were collected from 12 HR leaders and line managers within a single healthcare organization in eastern Tennessee. Member checking and validations using organization records assured the credibility and reliability of the interpretations and findings. Using the thematic analysis approach, 4 themes emerged, (a) integration of employee engagement practices into culture and business processes, (b) providing managers with the job resources they need to lead staff, (c) being transparent and honest in communications, and (d) relying on supportive supervisor behavior to mitigate employee stress. A mission-driven and values-based organization culture served as the foundation for implementing these individual strategies. These findings could contribute to social change by helping organizations reduce stress in the workplace, improve employee wellbeing, and reduce individuals' risk of morbidity and mortality caused by stress, leading to a reduction in healthcare costs for communities.