Ms Amanda Roe

Email: amroe@tcd.ie
Office Hours: By appointment via email.

Module Description

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has established the workplace as one of the priority settings for health promotion in the 21st century. The workplace directly influences the physical, mental, economic and social well-being of workers and in turn the health of their families, communities and society. The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI, 2016) estimates that musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and stress, anxiety and depression (SAD) are the most common workplace health issues and account for 68% of work-related illness in Ireland. In addition, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work estimates that around half of European workers consider stress to be common in their workplace, and it contributes to around half of all lost working days. Therefore, it is essential to focus on wellbeing in the context of the workplace. Wellbeing is a concept that incorporates elements of positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievement; it focuses on flourishing - in individuals, organisations and society - (Seligman, 2011).  Evidence supports that teaching the skills of wellbeing helps prevent depression and anxiety, and increases optimism (Gaffney, 2012; Seligman, 2011). On a personal level, wellbeing is about positive mental health, managing stress, and healthy ways to deal with difficulties.  Professionally, wellbeing in the workplace is about initiatives to reduce stress and “to improve the mental and physical health of employees” (Biron, Burke & Cooper, 2016, p. 1).

In this module, junior fresh (JF) Global Business students will examine their own wellbeing as a starting point for considering the importance of organisational and societal wellbeing. The module will be both academic and practical in its delivery and assessment. Students will examine both the business case and evidence base for work-life balance and wellbeing initiatives from research and case studies from various business contexts (e.g. new venture, corporate, non-profit). Students will reflect on what wellbeing means for them personally and professionally, and learn about how it can be promoted within the workplace. Students will also gain an understanding of stress, what it is and how it impacts on self, others and organisations, both positively and negatively. Throughout the module students will identify and overcome barriers to achieving wellbeing and engage with techniques and strategies to manage stress and improve resilience. They will learn social and emotional skills and competencies for enhancing their communication, leadership and team working skills. 

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module, the student should be able to:

  • Understand the significance of well-being in the context of student life and the transition to the workplace, with a focus on key concepts to help with critical thinking.   
  • Understand the concept of self-awareness and its role in nurturing a positive relationship with oneself. Understand the impact of self-compassion and self-care practices on personal well-being. Apply self-reflection techniques to enhance self-understanding and promote a healthy sense of self. 
  • Understand the interconnectedness between personal well-being and the quality of relationships with others and the environment. Understand the role of empathy, compassion, and social connections in enhancing overall well-being. 
  • Understand the complex relationship between work-related factors and overall well-being.  
  • Critically analyse the role of governmental policies and commercial entities in shaping societal perceptions of well-being. Examine the potential consequences of commodifying well-being and the ethical implications of the "happiness industry." 

Textbook and Readings

Textbook – available in library
Johnson, S., Robertson, I., & Cooper, C. L. (2017). WELL-BEING: Productivity and Happiness at Work. Springer.

Recommended reading

Newport, C. (2016). Deep work: Rules for focused success in a distracted world. Hachette UK.

Richardson, K. M. (2017). Managing employee stress and wellness in the new millennium. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 22(3), 423-428. doi:10.1037/ocp0000066

Williams, M. & Penman, D. (2011) Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World, Piatkus, London.

DeFrank, R.S. & Cooper, C.L. (2013). Worksite stress management interventions: Their effectiveness and conceptualisation. In C.L. Cooper (Ed.), From stress to wellbeing, v.2, pp. 3-13.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Gaffney, M. (2011). Flourishing: how to achieve a deeper sense of well-being, meaning and purpose – even in the face of adversity. Dublin: Penguin Ireland.

Seligman, M. (2011). Flourish: A new understanding of happiness and well-being and how to achieve them. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.


To pass the module, you must achieve an overall mark of 40%. There are three elements to the assessment of the course. Grading is based on the following. 

  • 10-minute in-class quiz based on readings for the topic. Each quiz is worth 5% (total 30%)  
  • Lecture Challenge: (total 40%)  
  • In-class group debate: (total 30%)