Managers’ learning process during a health-promoting leadership intervention


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Publication Details

Author list: Hagqvist, Emma;Landstad, Bodil;Tjulin, Åsa;Vinberg, Stig

Publication year: 2019

ISSN: 0965-4283

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/HE-02-2019-0004




The increasingly demanding psychosocial working conditions in Swedish public sector workplaces call for implementation of workplace health promotion (WHP) interventions. There is a need to increase first-line public sector managers’ capacities for health-promoting leadership. The purpose of this paper is to investigate first-line managers’ experiences of participating in an intervention aimed at strengthening health-promoting leadership. More precisely, the aim is to study what obstacles and prerequisites the intervention have for their learning processes to become health-promoting managers.


A qualitative study in Northern Sweden at workplaces in the county council and municipalities was conducted. The data were gathered through individual interviews with 18 participating first-line managers. Inductive-content analysis was used to analyse the data.


The results identify time for reflection and collegial discussions about leadership as prerequisites for learning about health-promoting leadership. Managers experienced the intervention as a confirmation of the leadership behaviours already gained. However, the health-promoting leadership intervention was seen as a contradiction, since organisational prerequisites to implement WHP measures were perceived to be lacking. The managers were not involved in the planning of the intervention and questioned why the organisation did not involve them more when the educational activities were created.


When the organisation understands how and when its managers learn, what they need and want to learn about WHP, and what they already know, tailored participatory interventions can be facilitated that consider the unique prerequisites for the particular organisation.


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