THE IMPACT OF AN EMPLOYEE PHYSICAL FITNESS PROGRAMPRODUCTIVITY: A RESEARCH PROPOSAL
Reports in the literature link improved performance by individuals to improved levels of physical fitness. A research proposal to establish the impact on employee productivity than may be expected to derive from the conduct of an organizational physical fitness program is described and explained.
Cox, Shephard, and Corey (1981, pp. 795806) reported over a decade ago that organizationallysponsored physical fitness programs led to reduced personnel turnover and reduced absenteeism rates. Organizational productivity, however, largely was unaffected by physical fitness programs. Later in the decade of the 1980s, Rosenfeld, Tenenbaum, Ruskin, and Halfon (1989, pp. 10191028) reported that, while organizationallysponsored physical fitness programs led to perceptions by employees of increased output, actual productivity rates tended to remain constant.
Sutherland and Cooper (1990, pp. 202217) reported that employers were implementing physical fitness programs especially designed to help employees manage workrelated stress. These programs were predicated on an assumption that stress reduction would lead to improved levels of organizational productivity.
Stress has long been associated with the onset of significant physical and mental health problems. In the 1980s, stress began to be implicated in areas beyond the bounds of physical and mental health. In the organizational environment, stress has been implicated in the deterioration of performance efficiency by both managers and subordinates (Gibson, 1993, p. 15). When performance efficiency suffers, the quality of the overall organizational environment deteriorates, and organizational productivity deteriorates (Fox, 1993, pp. 289318). A deterioration of the organizational environment is accompanied by a deterioration in organizational communication (Gilberg, 1993, pp. 89).