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Managing workplace health promotion in municipal organisations: the perspective of senior managers
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1965-7147
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8256-4437
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0282-2820
2016 (English)In: Work: A journal of Prevention, Assesment and rehabilitation, ISSN 1051-9815, E-ISSN 1875-9270, Vol. 53, no 3, 485-498 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Previous research indicates that companies manage workplace health in various ways, but more in-depth empirical knowledge of how workplace health promotion (WHP) is managed in public sector organisations is needed.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore how WHP is managed and incorporated into the general management system in two large Swedish municipal organisations.

METHODS: A qualitative descriptive approach was used. Fourteen senior managers were purposefully selected and interviewed using semi-structured interviews. Documents were used as supplementary data. All data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

RESULTS: The management of WHP was described as a set of components that together contribute to the organisation’s capacity for WHP. The informants described WHP as dominated by fitness programmes and as following a problem-solving cycle, in which the annual employee survey emerged as an important managerial tool. Achieving feasible WHP measures and appropriate follow-ups were described as challenges. The provision of leadership competence for WHP and use of supportive resources were described as additional components.

CONCLUSIONS: The WHP management approach needs to be broadened to include work environment and organisational factors. Further integration with occupational health and safety and the general management system in the organisations is also needed. 

Keywords: integration, management, occupational health and safety, public sector organisation, workplace health

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 53, no 3, 485-498 p.
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Working Life Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-26861DOI: 10.3233/WOR-152177ISI: 000373209500005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84961820350OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-26861DiVA: diva2:773411
Available from: 2014-12-18 Created: 2014-12-08 Last updated: 2016-04-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Managing workplace health promotion in municipal organizations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing workplace health promotion in municipal organizations
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The workplace is a suitable setting for health promotion, not least due to the amount of time employees spend at work. Previous research indicates large variations in employers' handling of workplace health promotion (WHP) efforts. However, more empirical knowledge of how WHP is handled in public sector organizations is needed.

The overall aim of the thesis was to explore how WHP is managed and implemented in municipal organizations. The thesis draws on health promotion as the point of departure, further accompanied with concepts related to organizational change and implementation research.

The thesis is based on three studies using different empirical materials. Both quantitative and qualitative research designs were used. In the first study, questionnaires were sent to both top managers and employees in a nationwide random sample of 60 of the 290 municipal social care organizations in Sweden. Data were analysed at the organizational level, linking WHP measures provided by the employer to employee health. In the second study, interviews concerning the management of WHP were carried out with senior managers representing various departments in two municipalities. The third study analysed the implementation of a health-promoting leadership programme, and the interviews made, concerned the experiences of line and middle managers participating in the programme.

The results show that the provision of individual- and organizational-directed WHP measures was associated to employee health at the organizational level. Furthermore, the senior managers described WHP management as components contributing to the organization's capacity for WHP. However, they mainly described WHP as providing healthy lifestyle activities, and mapping working conditions and employee health. In the study analysing the implementation of the leadership programme, line and middle managers described employee involvement as an enabling factor, whereas high workload and lack of senior management support were barriers described. Recurrent organizational changes and other politically-initiated projects and routines were also pointed out as competing events in the implementation process.

From this thesis, it can be concluded that WHP management is dominated by measures directed towards the individual employee and needs to include more of psychosocial and organizational measures. Finally, the varied organizational conditions for municipal managers as well as the support from senior management and human resources staff needs to be considered and ensured as part of an active and continuous WHP practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2015
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 172
National Category
Work Sciences
Research subject
Working Life Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-27245 (URN)978-91-7485-183-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-02-27, Beta, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-01-12 Created: 2014-12-30 Last updated: 2015-02-05Bibliographically approved

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