• Astrid Jørgensen
4. term, Sociology, Master (Master Programme)
In recent years, there has been an increasing research interest in the use of organizational-level interventions in order to improve employee mental health and well-being. In order to explain the mixed results of organizational-level interventions, it is necessary to understand the intervention process. However, there is still relative little research on how these processes are to be evaluated.
The aim of this master thesis is to examine process and effect of an organizational-level intervention in the context of a randomized workplace-based intervention, the BALANCE-project, which combines individual- and organizational-level interventions to improve wellbeing and working ability among public school teachers. The trio consisting of one or more management representatives, work environment representatives and shop stewards respectively is a key element in the organizational-level intervention for initiating a process of improving the mental working environment. Through a realistic evaluation this master thesis examines the case “the process of the trio work” within two public school units (School A and School B), where each unit represents a particular social context in a multiple case study design. The realistic evaluation model offers a way of designing and evaluating organizational-level interventions by including context, and mechanisms in generating knowledge about what works, in what circumstances, and how. The theoretical perspectives such as the trio members’ mental models and the concept of social processes including competence development, commitment, and involvement are included as mechanisms in this study. Combining these mechanisms and internal contextual factors such as internal communication, and role clarification as well as external contextual factors such as the recent school reform and working hour agreement for teachers, this study takes on a retrospective examination of enabling and hindering factors of the process of the triad work in terms of improving the mental working environment. Based on five qualitative interviews the empirical foundation is a mean to discover the triad members’ experiences concerning the process and effect of the triad work, and how this process creates opportunities or constraints in improving the mental working environment from the perspective of the triad members. At School A, two interviews were conducted: A group interview with the work environment representative and shop steward and a single interview with the management representative. At School B, three interviews were conducted: A group interview with the work environment representative and shop steward, and two single interviews with each of the two management representatives.
Overall, the realistic evaluation shows that the process of the trio work in both schools has led to an improvement of the mental working environment as viewed by the trio members. The empirical analysis shows that the interplay between the mechanisms and the contextual factors can explain the improvement of the mental working environment. Especially the identified common mental model on commitment to the spirit of the BALANCE-project among the trio members at School A is an enabling factor. In the analysis of the improvement of the mental working environment as viewed by the trio members, there has been identified some hindering contextual factors in process of the trio work at both School A and School B. These are managerial changes, and the implementation of a new school structure, MED, which the trio is an institution within, subsequent to the implementation of the BALANCE-project. Especially in the case of School B there have been some difficulties in the internal communication and role clarification among the trio members, which have been identified as hindering contextual factors. Furthermore, a weak connection between the trio as an organizational-level intervention and the rest of the organization of School B is also identified as a hindering contextual factor. This study thus substantiates the need for a detailed evaluation framework of organizational-level interventions to include both mechanisms and contextual factors in order to understand and explain the process and effect of organizational-level interventions.
Publication date6 Aug 2015
Number of pages115
External collaboratorNational Research Centre for the Working Environment
Seniorforsker Birgit Aust bma@arbejdsmiljoforskning.dk
ID: 216704437