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Title: An exploration of salutogenic factors promoting workforce health and well-being in small and medium-sized businesses in East-Westphalia Lippe/Germany
Author: Pönighaus, Julia A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8510 991X
Awarding Body: University of Gloucestershire
Current Institution: University of Gloucestershire
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis explores the research gap in salutogenic factors promoting workforce health and well-being generated by top management of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in East-Westphalia Lippe (EWL), in Germany. The workplace health promotion (WHP) is, and will be, a relevant area of research because the growing absenteeism, the reduced work performance and the increased turnover rates in businesses are believed to be some of the major challenges of the 21st-century. It is well documented that WHP has many advantages for SMEs but only a few recognise the necessity of WHP. The thesis chooses a new way in WHP in SMEs while using salutogenesis as a theoretical framework in order to give the thesis a special focus on employees’ well-being. In addition, salutogenesis is successfully used in various professional fields for example medicine and nursing. But there is a research gap in implementing salutogenesis in SMEs. The originality consists of connecting the salutogenesis (SoC model) with a current study about health promoting factors by Bruch et al. (2013) which were used as salutogenic factors and tested for usability in SMEs. Consequently, the thesis implements the theoretical premise of salutogenesis to SMEs and explores how, or to what extent, applicable the concept of salutogenesis is in SMEs in EWL. The primary question is: What salutogenic factors can be generated by top management to support the promotion of health and well-being of the workforce? The second research question meets the important role of the top manager as the decision maker of WHP: How can SMEs develop top management awareness to keep their staff healthy? The third key research question is: How can SMEs in EWL/Germany integrate health promoting and well-being factors? The research methodology is based on the literature review and the empirical research based on focus- group discussions of top managers and employees of SMEs in EWL. A critical realist prejudice was developed as a foundation for an Applied Thematic Analysis (ATA). A reflection group was used to compare the authors’ interpretation. The core findings are: The findings from the small-scale research suggest: The salutogenic factors can be mainly found in the quality of the relationship of top managers with their employees. The thesis delivers the new findings to WHP research: ‘the importance of the quality of the relationship’, and the ‘importance of the capacity of older top managers to reflect’. The latter is at the same time the surprising finding of this thesis. Whether the higher age of top managers has significant influences on WHP has to be explored in future research. For salutogenic WHP in SMEs, it seems to be optimal for the top managers to act in a relationship-oriented sense with the capacity to reflect themselves. SMEs that implement salutogenic factors are headed in the right direction to be fit for the future, by taking into account the needs of employees in the sense of salutogenesis and thus keeping their most important resource, the workforce, healthy. Further additional research is needed about experiences of implementation of the SoC in SMEs.
Supervisor: Veale, Francisca ; Petter, Soren Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD2340.8 Small and Medium-sized businesses, artisans, handcrafts, trades ; HD58 Organizational behavior, change and effectiveness. Corporate culture