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"Any business school has a responsibility to ensure society’s wellbeing."

Deakin Business School’s Centre for Organisational Health and Consumer Wellbeing (COHaCW) is gaining momentum with important research in areas including stress prevention, workplace mental health promotion, smoking cessation, contractual agreements, aged care choices and more.

Under the umbrella of its two key focus areas - organisational health and consumer wellbeing - the centre aims to understand and contribute to knowledge in relation to how the policies, practices, and products of firms influence the wellbeing of clients, stakeholders and society at large.

Co-director Dr Paul Harrison explains that beyond its broader aim, the centre is also invested in bringing together leading researchers from the areas of organisational behaviour, organisational psychology, employee wellbeing, consumer advocacy, health promotion and social marketing.

‘Any business school has a responsibility to ensure society’s wellbeing and the establishment of COHaCW is testament to the fact that Deakin Business School takes this obligation seriously,’ he says.

‘We are lucky to work alongside extraordinary people, in an emerging area of research. Our long term goal is to become a major player domestically and internationally, and make an impact to policy and the broader discourse through our evidence-based focus.'

While research itself plays a significant part in the centre’s growth and success, forging valuable relationships with peak organisations such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Consumer Affairs Victoria, beyondblue and VicHealth is also paramount in achieving positive outcomes and presenting valuable recommendations, Dr Harrison adds.

‘We have already created real interest among regulators, who are pleased to see a centre with a research model that is in interested in contributing evidence to the field of consumer protection and wellbeing.

‘These relationships will significantly enhance the positive reaction and outcomes of the centre and inform how we can work together in the future.’

Professor Andrew Noblet, who heads up the research centre with Dr Harrison, explains that current key projects include examining the influence of cooling-off periods and delayed decision-making in consumer wellbeing, integrated job stress and workplace mental health literacy intervention, pre- and post-natal obesity and the psychosocial risk associated with the newly introduced Police Custody Officer (PCO) Program.

‘We are on a good path with this research and the positive thing is that once you realise that pretty much everything we do is connected to how we work and how we consume, you can spread your remit quite wide,’ he says.

For more information about current research, events and the centre’s mission, visit the COHaCW website