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Strategies of active dissemination of workplace health promotion

Verena Friedrich (Centre for Continuing Education, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland)
Susanne Hoffmann (Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland)
Georg Bauer (Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Article publication date: 9 March 2015




A growing body of literature provides evidence for the efficacy of workplace health promotion (WHP). However, little is known about effective dissemination strategies for WHP interventions. The purpose of this paper is to describe how a WHP agency in Zurich, Switzerland, used bulk mailings, information events, telephone marketing and free initial consultations for the large-scale geographic marketing of WHP services, with a focus on tobacco prevention (TP).


To analyze the number of companies responding positively to solicitation, examine the predictors of positive responses and explore the reasons for negative responses, the authors used both quantitative (e.g. a standardized questionnaire) and qualitative (telephone interviews) methods.


The results show that except for telephone marketing (69 percent), the success rates of dissemination activities were very low (3-9 percent). Predictors for a positive response were institutionalization of WHP, the representative’s personal concern about TP, and problems with environmental tobacco smoke within the company. The most prominent reason for a negative response was that the companies had already implemented TP measures by themselves and needed no further external support.

Practical implications

It is suggested that TP was the wrong emphasis for a WHP program to be disseminated at that particular time, because a law on protection from passive smoking was introduced in Switzerland shortly afterwards.


The study examines dissemination strategies under real-life consulting conditions. It builds on on a large sample of companies and uses both quantitative and qualitative research methods. It reports specific numbers and success rates of marketing activities and thereby contributes to the knowledge about an important issue for intervention planning in the field of WHP.



The authors would like to thank the Tobacco Prevention Fund (Swiss Federal Office of Public Health) for funding this study. The authors also thank the following persons for their support: Florine Gafner (questionnaire development and scanning), Greg Jenny and Silvia Deplazes (proposal writing), and Anita Emch and Katharina Lehmann (data collection and project cooperation).


Friedrich, V., Hoffmann, S. and Bauer, G. (2015), "Strategies of active dissemination of workplace health promotion", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 3-14.



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