Managers’ understanding of workplace health promotion activity within small and medium sized enterprises: a Heideggerian phenomenological study.

Ann B Moore, Kader Parahoo, Paul Fleming

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Abstract

    Introduction: In light of political encouragement to determine the explicit needs of small, medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at local level so that appropriate workplace health promotion (WHP) delivery models and training programmes can be developed, the meaning of WHP for SME managers in context requires explication. This study aimed to explore managers’ understanding of WHP and experiences of WHP activity within SMEs in a Health and Social Care Trust area of Northern Ireland. Methodology: Given the limited evidence on SMEs’ interest in WHP, the qualitative approach offers a way to explore the potential multiple realities existing within SMEs and for development of that enquiry as the study unfolds. A Heideggerian interpretive phenomenological approach was adopted to allow SME managers’ understanding of WHP and the meaning WHP activity holds for them within the context of their world to be more fully absorbed; mindful that every SME manager’s experience is unique and their experiences cannot be separated from the business culture, history and traditions. Data were collected from a purposive sample of 18 small and medium-sized enterprise managers using in-depth telephone interviews. Benner’s (1994) strategy was used to analyse the data. Findings: ‘WHP as a symbiosis of health and business’ emerged as a key theme from the data. The term symbiosis reflects the meaning of WHP for participants as a reciprocal relationship which provides protection from harm and opportunities for employee health improvement, and, in turn, provides protection for the business reputation and viability and boosts its revenue. Within this relationship both employees and employers are perceived as mutually benefitting from WHP engagement and neither to suffer any serious negative effects. Conclusion: Findings suggest an integrated ecological approach needs to be reflected within WHP policy and practice that extend beyond the individual employee to include consideration of workplace health determinants at employee, environmental, business and community levels.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
    PublisherNone
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2009
    EventUSE2009: Understanding small enterprises - a healthy working life in a healthy business - Elsinore, Denmark
    Duration: 22 Oct 2009 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceUSE2009: Understanding small enterprises - a healthy working life in a healthy business
    Period22/10/09 → …

    Keywords

    • ‘Workplace health promotion’
    • ‘SMEs’
    • ‘symbiosis of health and business’
    • ‘integrated ecological approach’
    • ‘phenomenological study’

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