We are proud to present the following keynote speakers: Anthony LaMontagne (mental health), Peter-Paul Verbeek (technological innovations), Sari Stenholm (sustainable employability), and Hans de Witte (job insecurity). Besides these overview keynotes by peers who have already 'earned their stripes', a selection of four young and talented researchers will present their (PhD-)research during the keynotes as illustrious examples of our scientific field's future.
Keynote: “Work and Mental Health”
Anthony D. LaMontagne
Professor of Work, Health & Wellbeing at Deakin University, Melbourne (Australia).
“When you combine work directed-interventions with worker-directed intervention, that is, looking at those working conditions that lead to stress, then you get the best results” states professor Tony LaMontagne of Deakin University, Melbourne (Australia) in a YouTube video on the evidence on reducing stress in the workplace. The director of the Work, Health & Wellbeing unit in the Population Health Strategic Research Centre knows what he is talking about, given the impressive list of almost 150 scientific and other publications on his name. Among his work are several well-cited longitudinal analyses, systematic reviews and meta-analyses on this topic.
If he continues, his gesticulations reveal his engagement. And, no wonder, because we see him describing what he likes best: translating research into policy and practice to improve workplace and worker health. Thereby, he contributes to the scientific and public understanding of work as a social determinant of health, his second broad research interest.
In the kick-off keynote at the Work and Well-being conference Tony will summarize the current evidence on positive and negative effects of work on mental health. Secondly, Tony will give us an overview of mental health effects of interventions in the occupational setting.
Tony’s message is cheerful, because there’s benefits of stress reduction for all involved: organizations, individuals and of course population health. Think of improved health, improved health behaviors, reduced sickness absence, and lower presenteism. Tony: “The challenge is: how do you do that? Does [stress reduction] look the same in a convenience store on the corner, to a police department down the street, or the school over here, to the manufacturing business over there? No. It is actually complicated.” After this opening keynote, however, you might find the stress reduction intervention process a little less complicated.
Check out Tony’s profile at Deakin University
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Keynote: “Supporting workers’ health and well-being by technological innovations”
Professor of Philosophy of Technology, Twente University, Enschede (the Netherlands)
Those of you who got a little nervous after reading Dave Eggers’ bestselling novel “The Circle”, should definitely come and listen to the keynote by Dutch professor of Philosophy of Technology, Peter-Paul Verbeek. We’ve asked Peter-Paul to reflect on the pros and cons of supporting workers’ health and well-being by technological innovations like e-health, m-health, wearables or gaming. These technological innovations are potentially promising interventions to help employees and organizations in strengthening health, well-being, productivity and employability. However, these developments sometimes meet with resistance and almost always evoke ethical questions.
With twinkling eyes behind a small pair of glasses Peter-Paul stated, during one of his many television performances: “We often think in terms of ‘human versus technology’. In practice, however, our lives have always been connected with machines or devices: we put something on our eyes to see better. There are so many ways in which mankind is connected to technology, that you can’t really understand humans without looking into technology.”
Peter-Paul’s research focuses on the social and cultural roles of technology and the ethical and anthropological aspects of human-technology relations. He thinks that: “The boundary of the human must be guarded against the technique. The question is not, is [intervening] allowed or not, but […] how can we intervene in a good way […] without having to give up our humanity?” His catchy reasoning is inspiring. Examples as broad as the coin lockers of shopping carts, via ladyshaves to the anticonceptive pill, will give you something to chew on. And his reasoning always results in completely logic and acceptable conclusions such as: “There can be an ethics in things.” His explanation makes you forget you ever thought differently about it.
Between 2013 and 2015 Peter-Paul was President of the Society for Philosophy and Technology; between 2011 and 2013 he was chairman of the prestigious ‘Young Academy’, which is part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2006 he was guest professor at Aarhus University, Denmark. His research received several awards.
So, should we be scared of Dave Eggers’ scenario? If Peter-Paul is concerned, we shouldn’t: “There’s more technology in us than we think. We are fundamentally technologically mediated beings.”
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Keynote: “Sustainable Employability”
Adjunct Professor of Gerontology and Public Health, University of Turku, Turku (Finland)
“Researcher in the field of gerontology and public health. Interested in life-time determinants of healthy aging” states Sari Stenholm’s Linkedin-profile. Sari Stenholm, PhD, is currently an adjunct professor at the Department of Public Health at the University of Turku, Finland. Her main area of research is on modifiable risk factors for healthy ageing in a life-course perspective with special interest in obesity, physical activity, physical fitness and retirement. Colleagues have endorsed Sari’s skills in: “public health, epidemiology, research, gerontology, exercise physiology.” She was recently granted a distinguished 5-year Academy Research Fellow position by Academy of Finland. She is the Principal Investigator of Finnish Retirement and Aging study (FIREA) which is nested within a large Finnish Public Sector Study. In this innovative project Sari and colleagues are examining changes in health behavioural factors and clinical cardiovascular risk factors by following ageing workers throughout their retirement transition from full-time work to retirement.
In her keynote, Sari will give a state-of-the-art overview on how health behaviour and risk factors change around the time of retirement. She will discuss the association with extended working-life participation and the effects on physical and cognitive functioning. She will draw on data from several cohort studies.
Sari has experience in working with large national and international longitudinal datasets including the Finnish Health 2000/2001, the Italian InCHIANTI and the Health and Retirement Study from the USA. In addition, the FPS-FIREA cohort is also part of the international Integrated Datasets in Europe for Ageing Research (IDEAR) consortium. Besides the IDEAR network, she holds close research collaborations with top researchers in the field of gerontology in Europe and the USA. After defending her thesis in 2007, Sari did two year post doc training at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, USA. Since 2007, she has authored 52 peer-reviewed scientific publications.
Check out Sari’s profile at ResearchGate
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Keynote: “Job insecurity: challenge or hindrance stressor?”
Hans De Witte
Professor of Work Psychology, University of Leuven, Leuven (Belgium)
Hans De Witte (PhD.) is a full professor of Work Psychology at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Leuven. He teaches Work (and Organizational) Psychology and is part of the Research Unit Occupational & Organisational Psychology and Professional Learning. He attained his masters and doctorate at this same university, thereafter obtaining a position as the head of the sector Work at the Higher Insitute of Labour Studies. In 2000, he was appointed as professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences. Being loyal to the University of Leuven seems to make productive: according to ResearchGate, Hans has (co)authored over 153 articles in international, peer-reviewed journals. The sum of times cited (Google Scholar, September 2015) was 9269.
His research includes the study of the psychological consequences of job insecurity, unemployment, temporary employment and downsizing, as well as mobbing and stress (e.g. burnout) versus engagement at work. He has published in journals such as the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, Work & Stress, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Applied Psychology: An International Review and Economic and Industrial Democracy. In his keynote Hans will focus on the consequences of some new ways of working, and especially on the risks and challenges these entail for the well-being of employees. Hans will share his perspective on job insecurity, one of the consequences of increased flexibility and organizational change. He will critically assess some of the assumptions regarding insecurity in the media and in consultancy nowadays: is job insecurity a factor that motivates employees (e.g. a ‘challenge’) or does it lead to lower performance and less motivation (e.g. a ‘hindrance’)?
In the category ‘trivia’: the Dutch and the Belgians relate to each other like the Americans and the Canadians. Hans has a special interest in the differences between the ‘gentle, soft’ Belgians and the ‘direct, negotiating’ Dutch. Disclaimer: it might be possible that this difference has influenced the composition of this biography.
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