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Workplace health promotion within small and medium‐sized enterprises

Ann Moore (Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK)
Kader Parahoo (Institute of Nursing Research, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK)
Paul Fleming (Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 5 January 2010




The purpose of this study is to explore managers' understanding of workplace health promotion (WHP) and experiences of WHP activity within small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in a Health and Social Care Trust area of Northern Ireland. The paper aims to focus on engagement with activities within the context of prevention of ill‐health and health protection, lifestyle issues and working culture and the environment as defined in the Luxembourg Declaration on WHP.


A Heideggerian interpretive phenomenological methodology is adopted, using in‐depth telephone interviews with a purposive sample of 18 SME managers. Data are analysed using Benner's strategy for data analysis.


“Levels of awareness of WHP activity” are revealed as a central theme and interpreted as “high awareness activities”, including the need to: preserve and protect employee health and safety, prevent ill‐health and injury and promote employees' quality of daily living, and “low awareness activities”, including the provision of training and development, human resource management and environmental considerations.


An “Iceberg” model, grounded in the data, draws attention to the limited awareness of what constitutes WHP activities and the untapped meaningfulness of organisational and environmental activities.



Moore, A., Parahoo, K. and Fleming, P. (2010), "Workplace health promotion within small and medium‐sized enterprises", Health Education, Vol. 110 No. 1, pp. 61-76.



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