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Title: Organisational intervention development and piloting for staff wellbeing
Author: Naghieh, Ali
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 6748
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis presents an empirical investigation to address the psychosocial work environment as an established social determinant of health. The focus was narrowed to a single occupation, teachers, due to high reported stress levels in national surveys and other consequential policy challenges. The focus of intervention was narrowed to tackling the causes of stress after a scoping literature review found that most effort in this area has been directed towards individual-level interventions and programmes. A systematic review was conducted to assess the evidence-base, which demonstrated availability of limited and low-quality evidence for the evaluation of organisational interventions for teacher wellbeing. It was found that organisational interventions lead to improvements in teacher wellbeing and retention rates, although most of the trials in this review were affected by methodological shortcomings. Because of the paucity of such intervention studies, and the heterogeneous nature of the interventions in the four included studies in this review, implications for practice were found to be very limited. Further well-designed research in the development and testing of organisational interventions for teacher wellbeing was recommended as a result, while outlining the requirements for a rigorous study in this area. An intervention development endeavour was subsequently undertaken, which pointed to participatory approaches. An intervention entitled Change Laboratory was identified due to its relatively robust theoretical and methodological basis. An exploratory pilot trial of the participatory organisational change intervention was conducted in four secondary schools in the UK, with 2 schools as intervention and 2 schools as control. Qualitative findings, process evaluation, and quantitative findings of the study are subsequently presented. The analysis focuses on the actions that teachers and managers collaboratively designed in the intervention schools, in order to address organisational and systemic factors generating stress. The common theme in the output of both Change Laboratory cases was their focus on the object of decision-making, and leading to an expansive learning in terms of a reconceptualization of decision-making within their respective organisations. The central contradiction was found to be between the macro perspective and priorities and agendas of the senior leadership that shape policies and processes, and the micro perspective of those having to enact and comply with the decisions made by senior leaders. The intervention outputs can be seen as mediators synthesized from this contradiction. Following the intervention impact longitudinally demonstrated a developing and evolving reconceptualization of pedagogy, which is more central to teachers' object of activity and their professional identity. The analysis demonstrates that professional identity may be a crucial dimension of wellbeing at work in tandem with work-related stress theories. The findings suggest that the Change Laboratory group initially embarked on a re-conceptualisation of decision-making, and utilised the new systems and way of working as a means to address teaching and learning which is more central to their professional identity and their object of activity. The quantitative findings suggests an indication of beneficial effects of the intervention at end-of-intervention point, also considering the limitations. The process evaluation focuses on delineating the different facets of the intervention and assuring intervention integrity, assessing feasibility and acceptability, and generating insights for scaling-up of the intervention. An implementation framework developed in this study was found to be of value in the endeavour to adopt, adapt, and develop process-oriented structural interventions.
Supervisor: Montgomery, Paul Sponsor: OUP John Fell Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Work-life balance ; Organizational change ; Teachers--Job stress ; School management and organization--Case studies