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Methods for Process Evaluation of Work Environment Interventions

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In recent years, intervention studies have become increasingly popular within occupational health psychology. The vast majority of such studies have focused on interventions themselves and their effects on the working environment and employee health and well-being. Few studies have focused on how the context and processes surrounding the intervention may have influenced the outcomes (Hurrell and Murphy, 1996). Thus, there is still relatively little published research that provides us with information on how to evaluate such strategies and processes (Saksvik, Nytrø, Dahl-Jørgensen, and Mikkelsen, 2002). This paper describes how organisation theory can be used to develop a method for identifying and analysing processes in relation to the implementation of work environment interventions. The reason for using organisation theory is twofold: 1) interventions are never implemented in a vacuum but in a specific organisational context (workplace) with certain characteristics, that the organisation theory can capture, 2) within the organisational sociological field there is a long tradition for studying organisational changes such as workplace interventions. In this paper process is defined as "individual, collective or management perceptions and actions in implementing any intervention and their influence on the overall result of the intervention" (Nytrø, Saksvik, Mikkelsen, Bohle, and Quinlan, 2000). Process evaluation can be used to a) provide feedback for improving interventions, b) interpret the outcomes of effect evaluation and c) replicate interventions in other settings minimising the number of pitfalls associated with a given intervention (Goldenhar et al., 2001).

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Hanne Fredslund, Jesper Strandgaard Pedersen

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