Profiles

Sarah Dawkins

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Sarah Dawkins

Sarah Dawkins

Lecturer
Tasmanian School of Business and Economics

Room 408, Centenary Building, Sandy Bay Campus

+61 3 6226 2829 (phone)

Sarah.Dawkins@utas.edu.au

It’s time we got serious about how work affects our mental health

Almost everyone has felt stressed or anxious at work at some point in their life. But what happens when it starts to feel like more than just the weight of a deadline on your shoulders?

With 24/7 access to emails in your pocket, and the rise of home offices and remote work, many of us are struggling to keep our personal and professional lives separate. And the cost to our mental health can be significant.

Clinical psychologist Dr Sarah Dawkins from the University of Tasmania says that after years of practice, the number of clients displaying signs of workplace trauma drove her to be a force for change.

“Quite often the problems people came to me with related back to work,” she says.

'The division between our work and non-work lives has become really blurred, and either workplace mental health issues are on the increase, or people are disclosing them more readily.'

As part of her research for the Tasmanian School of Business & Economics, Dawkins is now teaming up with workplaces and managers around Australia to find ways of dealing with psychological stress in the office before it turns into more serious mental health issues.

“We’re trying to find ways to better support employees, so they can cope with mental health issues, but we’re also trying to foster organisations that really promote mental health,” she says.

“We’re interested in anything that impacts on someone’s ability to function in the workplace, and factors that might exacerbate existing conditions. We want to enable employees to get help early, and to support them through the process.”

In selected organisations around Australia, Dawkins is piloting a new type of training session to see work teams create a more positive environment in their workplace, so those who feel stressed are supported by their co-workers.

And the good news is that many of us already have the qualities we need to get ourselves and others through tough periods at work. And even if we don’t, they can be learned through training sessions like this.

'People’s psychological resources - resilience, optimism, hope, and efficacy - can act as a buffer to job stresses,' says Dawkins. 'They can be used to promote positive wellbeing.'

“We’re looking at how to do that within individuals and also within work units or teams,” she adds.

“What’s really interesting is that, unlike intelligence and personality, which tend to be relatively fixed traits, even after brief training interventions we’ve seen that you can increase these psychological resources to have positive flow-on effects in the workplace.”

It’s important to remember that there will never be a ‘blanket’ solution when dealing with workplace mental health issues - what works for one person may not necessarily work for another.

And what managers are expected to deal with, when it comes to staff who are experiencing mental health issues, is often well beyond their training.

That’s what Dawkins is hoping to address through developing her training sessions.

Once her team gains a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t, she’s hoping to equip workplaces with the expertise to train and support their staff on an ongoing basis, to ensure that those ‘toxic’ workplace environments we often hear about will finally become a thing of the past.

“It’s about testing the water and seeing what fits,” says Dawkins. “Organisations are wanting to do more in this space, but they need guidance to do it the right way.”

By Bec Crew

Dr Sarah Dawkins is a lecturer in Management at the Tasmanian School of Business & Economics, University of Tasmania. Sarah is also a registered Clinical Psychologist and co-leader of the University of Tasmania Work, Health and Wellbeing Network. She currently teaches undergraduate Organisational Behaviour and Managing People at Work. Sarah's primary research interests focus on the development of positive psychological resources in employees and work teams for enhanced performance and well-being. Her PhD was recognised by the Australia and New Zealand Academy of Management with the best doctoral dissertation award in 2014.

Biography

Sarah joined the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics in 2015 as a post-doctoral fellow after completing her PhD in 2014. Sarah has also worked at the University of Tasmania’s Psychology Clinic as a clinical supervisor for students completing the Clinical Psychology Master’s program. Sarah completed her Masters of Psychology (Clinical) in 2008 and worked as a practising psychologist for several years before commencing a career in academia.

Career summary

Qualifications

DegreeTitle of ThesisUniversityCountryAwarded
PhD (Management)New directions in Psychological Capital research: A critical analysis and theoretical and empirical extensions to individual- and team-level measurementUniversity of TasmaniaAustralia2014
MA (Clinical Psychology)Adult children's experiences of parental separationUniversity of TasmaniaAustralia2008
BA (Hons) University of TasmaniaAustralia2002

Memberships

Professional practice

  • Associate Member, Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM)
  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA: Registered Psychologist)

Other

  • Co-leader: UTAS Health, Work and Wellbeing Network
  • Member: Institute for Social Change, University of Tasmania

Teaching

Organisational Behaviour, Managing People at Work, Health Psychology, Ethics & Professional Practice (Clinical Psychology), Couples, Family & Group Interventions

Teaching expertise

Sarah applies her research expertise and training and experience in mental health to her teaching program. She currently coordinates and teaches undergraduate units in Organisational Behaviour and Managing People at Work (Human Resources). She is also responsible for coordinating and teaching the postgraduate clinical psychology unit, Ethics and Professional Practice 2.

Sarah also has teaching experience in various undergraduate psychology units, including Health Psychology, Social Psychology and Introduction to Psychology.

Teaching responsibility

View more on Dr Sarah Dawkins in WARP

Expertise

  • Positive organisational behaviour
  • Psychological Capital
  • Work teams
  • Work-family conflict and work-family enrichment
  • Workplace mental health
  • Human Resources

Research Themes

Sarah's research aligns to the University's research theme of Better Health. Her primary research interests focus on the development of positive psychological resources in employees and work teams for enhanced performance and well-being.

Sarah's doctoral research extended and refined the conceptualisation and measurement of positive psychological capital (PsyCap). This research also provided further understanding for how psychological resources (i.e. PsyCap) may offer a safeguard against the effects of job strain and promote the well-being of individuals working within the small-medium enterprise sector. Further, the research demonstrated significant relationships between the collective PsyCap of work teams and work team outcomes, including performance and team conflict; and individual employee outcomes, including job satisfaction and turnover intentions.

Sarah's postdoctoral research is developing and evaluating a brief, team-based psychological capital (PsyCap) intervention aimed at enhancing the performance and functioning of work teams and individual employees.

She is also currently involved in several research projects investigating mental health and well-being in the workplace and the interface between work and family.

Awards

  • 2014: Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Best PhD Dissertation Award
  • 2014: Institute for Social Change, University of Tasmania, PhD Writing Up Fellowship.
  • 2013: UTAS Faculty of Business Higher Degree by research Candidate Conference Travel Award
  • 2010: Finalist in the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) Best Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Award.

Fields of Research

  • Organisational Behaviour (150311)
  • Human Resources Management (150305)
  • Organisation and Management Theory (150310)
  • Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology (170106)
  • Mental Health (111714)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services (970115)
  • Management (910402)
  • Work and Institutional Development (940599)
  • Employment Patterns and Change (940501)
  • Workplace Safety (940505)
  • Behaviour and Health (920401)
  • Health Policy Evaluation (920208)
  • Health Status (e.g. Indicators of Well-Being) (920408)
  • Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences (970111)
  • Commercial Services and Tourism (909999)
  • Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences (970117)

Publications

At the 2016 Annual conference for the Academy of Management, Angela Martin, Megan Woods and Sarah Dawkins’ article entitled “Managing Employees With Mental Health Issues: Identification of Conceptual and Procedural Knowledge for Development Within Management Education Curricula” was announced as equal runner-up for the Academy of Management Learning and Education best paper for 2015.

Citation of the paper below:

Martin A, Woods M, Dawkins S, 'Managing employees with mental health issues: Identification of conceptual and procedural knowledge for development within management education curricula', Academy of Management Learning and Education, 14, (1) pp. 50-68. ISSN 1537-260X (2015) [Refereed Article]

Total publications

18

Highlighted publications

(4 outputs)
YearTypeCitationAltmetrics
2017Journal ArticleDawkins S, Tian A, Newman A, Martin A, 'Psychological ownership: a review and research agenda', Journal of Organizational Behavior: The IRIOP Annual Review Issue, 38, (2) pp. 163-183. ISSN 0894-3796 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/job.2057 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Martin A

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2015Journal ArticleDawkins S, Martin A, Scott J, Sanderson Kristy, 'Advancing conceptualization and measurement of Psychological Capital as a collective construct', Human Relations, 68, (6) pp. 925-949. ISSN 0018-7267 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/0018726714549645 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Martin A; Scott J; Sanderson Kristy

Tweet

2015Journal ArticleMartin A, Woods M, Dawkins S, 'Managing employees with mental health issues: Identification of conceptual and procedural knowledge for development within management education curricula', Academy of Management Learning and Education, 14, (1) pp. 50-68. ISSN 1537-260X (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5465/amle.2012.0287 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Martin A; Woods M

Tweet

2013Journal ArticleDawkins S, Martin A, Scott J, Sanderson K, 'Building on the positives: a psychometric review and critical analysis of the construct of Psychological Capital', Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 86, (3) pp. 348-370. ISSN 0963-1798 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/joop.12007 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 31Web of Science - 34

Co-authors: Martin A; Scott J; Sanderson K

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Journal Article

(7 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2017Crawford J, Dawkins S, Martin Angela, Lewis G, 'Understanding the organizational climate of unethical leadership in the Australian Football League', Journal of Leadership Studies, 11, (2) pp. 52-54. ISSN 1935-2611 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/jls.21525 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Crawford J; Martin Angela; Lewis G

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2017Dawkins S, Tian A, Newman A, Martin A, 'Psychological ownership: a review and research agenda', Journal of Organizational Behavior: The IRIOP Annual Review Issue, 38, (2) pp. 163-183. ISSN 0894-3796 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/job.2057 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Martin A

Tweet

2017Memish K, Martin A, Bartlett L, Dawkins S, Sanderson K, 'Workplace mental health: an international review of guidelines', Preventive Medicine, 101 pp. 213-222. ISSN 0091-7435 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.03.017 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Memish K; Martin A; Bartlett L; Sanderson K

Tweet

2015Dawkins S, Martin A, Scott J, Sanderson Kristy, 'Advancing conceptualization and measurement of Psychological Capital as a collective construct', Human Relations, 68, (6) pp. 925-949. ISSN 0018-7267 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/0018726714549645 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Martin A; Scott J; Sanderson Kristy

Tweet

2015Martin A, Woods M, Dawkins S, 'Managing employees with mental health issues: Identification of conceptual and procedural knowledge for development within management education curricula', Academy of Management Learning and Education, 14, (1) pp. 50-68. ISSN 1537-260X (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5465/amle.2012.0287 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Martin A; Woods M

Tweet

2015Scott JL, Dawkins S, Quinn MG, Sanderson K, Elliott K-E, et al., 'Caring for the carer: a systematic review of pure technology-based cognitive behavioral therapy (TB-CBT) interventions for dementia carers', Aging and Mental Health, 20, (8) pp. 793-803. ISSN 1360-7863 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2015.1040724 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Scott JL; Quinn MG; Sanderson K; Elliott K-E; Stirling C; Schuz B; Robinson A

Tweet

2013Dawkins S, Martin A, Scott J, Sanderson K, 'Building on the positives: a psychometric review and critical analysis of the construct of Psychological Capital', Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 86, (3) pp. 348-370. ISSN 0963-1798 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/joop.12007 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 31Web of Science - 34

Co-authors: Martin A; Scott J; Sanderson K

Tweet

Chapter in Book

(3 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2017Crawford J, Dawkins S, Martin A, Lewis GK, 'Conceptualising authentic followers and developing a future research agenda', Authentic leadership and followership: International perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan, D Cotter-Lockard (ed), Australia ISBN 978-3-319-65306-8 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Crawford J; Martin A; Lewis GK

2015Martin A, Cooklin A, Dawkins S, 'A multilevel intervention model for promoting work-family enrichment during early parenting', Flourishing in life, work, and careers, Edward Elgar Publishing, R. Burke, K. Page and C. Cooper (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 119-140. ISBN 9781783474097 (2015) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.4337/9781783474103.00016 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Martin A

Tweet

2014Dawkins S, Martin A, 'Enhancing the psychological capital of teams: Adapting an individual-level intervention for multilevel delivery and evaluation', Corporate wellness programs: Linking employee and organizational health, Edward Elgar Publishing, R Burke & A Richardsen (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 79-100. ISBN 978-1783471690 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Martin A

Conference Publication

(7 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2017Dawkins S, Martin A, Kilpatrick M, Anderson Felicity, Scott J, 'Reasons for Engagement: SME owner-manager motivations for engaging in a workplace mental health and wellbeing intervention', At the interface, 4-8 August 2017, Atlanta, Georgia, pp. 299. (2017) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Martin A; Kilpatrick M; Scott J

2017Dawkins S, Tian A, Martin Angela, Newman A, 'Enhancing employee wellbeing & work-family outcomes by understanding optimal levels of Psychological Ownership', The Future of Ownership Conference, 7-8 august 2017, Vienna, Austria (In Press) [Plenary Presentation]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Martin Angela

2016Dawkins S, Martin A, Scott JL, Sanderson Kristy, Schuez B, 'Maximizing the positives: An investigation of psychological capital in relation to the satisfaction and wellbeing of SME owner-managers', Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, 5-9 August, Anaheim (2016) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Martin A; Scott JL; Sanderson Kristy; Schuez B

2016Dawkins S, Martin Angela, O'Donoghue W, 'Evaluating the impact of a team-level psychological capital intervention', Human Resources International Conference (HRIC), 19-22 Feb, Sydeny (2016) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Martin Angela

2013Dawkins S, Martin A, 'Enhancing individual and collective performance: Development of a multilevel psychological capital intervention model', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) Annual Conference Proceedings, December, Hobart (2013) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Martin A

2011Martin A, O'Donohue W, Dawkins S, 'Psychological capital at the individual and team level: Implications for job satisfaction and turnover intentions of emergency services volunteers', Proceedings of the 2011 ANZAM Conference, 6th-9th December 2011, Wellington, pp. 1-17. (2011) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Martin A; O'Donohue W

2010Dawkins S, Martin A, 'Is it all positive? A critical analysis of the current state of psychological capital research', Proceedings of the 24th ANZAM Conference, December 7-10, Adelaide EJ ISBN 1877040819 (2010) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Martin A

Other Public Output

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2017Martin A, Sanderson Kristy, Warnecke E, Dawkins S, Bartlett L, et al., 'An integrated approach to workplace mental health', University of Tasmania, Tasmania (2017) [Government or Industry Research]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Martin A; Sanderson Kristy; Warnecke E; Bartlett L; Memish KE; Crawford J; Newstead T; Peebles D

Grants & Funding

TSBE Research Grant:

Project Name: International Study of Work and Family (ISWAF).

Research Team: Dawkins, S; Martin A

Funding awarded: $12,168.00

Funding Summary

Number of grants

4

Total funding

$32,694

Projects

Efficacy and acceptability of a supervisory development program (2017)$9,002
Description
This project draws on our expertise in organisational behaviour and intervention evaluation to pilot an evaluation methodology in three sites where a supervisor development program will be delivered over a period of 12 months. Specifically, the study will investigate the acceptability and efficacy of the program to guide future research and further enhancements to the program as well as provide an initial evidence base for Newport &Wildman to draw upon in promoting the program to other potential clients.
Funding
Newport and Wildman Mediators & Counsellors ($9,002)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Dawkins S
Year
2017
Demonstrating Impact: Data mapping and evidence based well-being metrics (2017)$1,982
Description
Worksafe Victoria has embarked on a major strategic initiative to boost employee well-being. The aim of this work is to pioneer new ways of enhancing well-being, adopting a systematic approach to managing well-being through the provision of different services and tailored to the different well-being profiles of employees.
Funding
Australian National University ($1,982)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Dawkins S
Year
2017
Managing workplace mental health: Translating research into practice through capability and policy development (2016)$8,000
Description
This project takes our research on mental health in the workplace and explores its translation into practice by developing a case study with an organisation seeking to improve its mental health management capability.
Funding
Museum of Old and New Art ($8,000)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Dawkins S; Woods M; Macklin RB
Year
2016
Enhancing Employee Wellbeing and Work-Family Outcomes by Understanding Optimal Levels of Psychological Ownership of Jobs and Organisations: The Interactive Effects of Employee Personal Characteristics (2016)$13,710
Description
Psychological ownership (PO), reflects feelings of possessiveness and attachment to work-related objects (Pierce, Kostova, & Dirks, 2001). Employees with a sense of PO over their job or organisation experience more positive work-related attitudes, such as job satisfaction, engagement and commitment, and report lower levels of job burnout (Dawkins, Tian, Newman, & Martin, 2015). However, to date research has almost exclusively examined the positive aspects of PO (Brown, Crossley & Robinson, 2014), despite seminal work highlighting the potential for both positive and negative implications. As one study has identified a relationship with burnout (Kaur, Sambasivan & Kumar, 2013), there is a need to determine optimal ranges of PO thatare psychologically healthy and engaging (Dawkins et al., 2015) In addition, there has been no investigation of the influence of POon other indicators of wellbeing, including work-family (WF) outcomes. The proposed study will extend PO research by exploringthe relationships between PO, wellbeing and WF outcomes. Additionally, it will examine the influence of two personalcharacteristics (workaholism and psychological capital) on these relationships.
Funding
University of Tasmania ($13,710)
Scheme
Grant-Research Enhancement (REGS)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Dawkins S
Year
2016

Research Supervision

Current

5

Current

DegreeTitleCommenced
PhDHow Do Virtue-Based Strategies Increase Capabilities of Authentic Leaders?2015
PhDAuthentic Leadership: The Development and Measurement of a Contemporary Leadership Theory in an Australian Context2016
PhDWhat Does Mentally Healthy Mean Across Different Types of Jobs? And What Are the Best Types of Strategies for Different Settings?2016
PhDA Comparative Evaluation of Workplace Mental Health and Psychological Capital in Public and Private Workers in a Cross-cultural Population: The role of union workers2017
PhDInvestigating the Effect of Ethical Leadership on Employees Psychological Capital with the Mediating Role of Organizational Identification2017