A comprehensive “health promoting schools” (HPS) approach is advocated by the World Health Organization to foster the health of students. To date, few studies have evaluated schools' capacity to implement it in an optimal way. The purpose of this paper is to present a conceptual framework that identifies core features likely to facilitate the incorporation of innovation, such as HPS, into school functioning.
The framework was built by combining dimensions derived from two major strands of literature, i.e. management and HPS. It has taken root in Zahra and George's model of organisation absorptive capacity (AC) for new knowledge but has been adapted to better explore AC in a school context. The contrasting cases of two secondary schools that adopted a HPS approach in Quebec, Canada, for at least three years were used to illustrate the value of the framework.
The framework proposed is a multidimensional model that considers components such as modulators, antecedents, integration mechanisms and strategic levers as potential determinants of AC, i.e. acquisition, assimilation, transformation and exploitation. The conceptual framework helped to qualify and compare AC regarding HPS in the two cases and holds promise to appreciate mechanisms having the greatest influence on it.
The framework can serve as a conceptual guide to facilitate the absorption of innovation in schools and to design future empirical research to better understand the underlying process by which schools strengthen their capacities to become settings conducive to the health of youth.
Deschesnes, M., Drouin, N. and Couturier, Y. (2013), "Schools' absorptive capacity to innovate in health promotion", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 24-41. https://doi.org/10.1108/14777261311311780Download as .RIS
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