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Managers’ learning process during a health-promoting leadership intervention

Åsa Tjulin (Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Ostersund, Sweden)
Bodil Landstad (Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Ostersund, Sweden) (Levanger Hospital, Nord-Trøndelag Hospital Trust, Levanger, Norway)
Stig Vinberg (Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Ostersund, Sweden)
Andrea Eriksson (Enheten för Ergonomi School of Technology and Health, Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan, Stockholm, Sweden)
Emma Hagqvist (Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Ostersund, Sweden)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 26 September 2019

Issue publication date: 13 November 2019




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.



Tjulin, Å., Landstad, B., Vinberg, S., Eriksson, A. and Hagqvist, E. (2019), "Managers’ learning process during a health-promoting leadership intervention", Health Education, Vol. 119 No. 5/6, pp. 350-365.



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