Tuesday, 6 August 2013

How can we make organizational interventions work? Employees and line managers as actively crafting interventions

an article by Karina Nielsen (University of East Anglia, UK) published in Human Relations Volume 66 Number 8 (August 2013)


In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the processes of organisational interventions when evaluating the outcomes on employee health and well-being. Nevertheless, process evaluation is still in its infancy and primarily consists of checklists inspired by the public health intervention literature.

In these frameworks, employees are seen as passive recipients whose reactions to pre-developed interventions should be evaluated. Current organisational intervention design rests on a participatory approach and recent process evaluations reveal that employees and line managers influence the implementation and the outcomes of organisational interventions.

Following the current foci of current frameworks we may miss out on important information on the influence of both the participatory process and the line managers on intervention outcomes.

I argue that current evaluation frameworks suffer from four limitations:
  1. they are not aligned with state-of-the-art research and practice;
  2. and therefore they fail to apply theory to explain how and why human agents influence intervention implementation and outcomes;
  3. they do not offer suggestions as to how such agency can be measured; and
  4. nor do they discuss how we may use knowledge obtained from process evaluation proactively when designing future organizational interventions.

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