Medicalising work behaviour: The case of repetition strain injury

Robert Spillane*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


What can human resource managers learn from the workplace phenomenon of the 1980s called repetition strain injury (RSI) - now occupational overuse syndrome? It is the thesis of this article that RSI represented an example of the progressive medicalisation of Australian work behaviour in which notions of 'illness', 'treatment' and 'patienthood' figure prominently. RSI provides a case study of the tendency in Australian management, trade unions and occupational health circles to emphasise medical (physical and psychiatric) rather than moral behaviour at work. This tendency, stimulated by professional interests, has retarded work reform strategies based on the principle of responsible autonomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-98
Number of pages14
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Human Resources
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


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