An important condition for developing healthy workplaces is leadership that creates a culture for health-promoting workplaces and values, and inspires and motivates employee participation in such a development.

– It involves creating good working conditions and a good work environment, says Andrea Eriksson, whose dissertation “Health-promoting leadership – A study of the concept and critical conditions for implementation and evaluation” shows how a health-promoting leadership can be developed.
Her research is based on case studies of projects aiming at developing health-promoting leadership as well as on interviews with managers in the municipal sectors.

Promoting employee health is a long-term development that requires commitment and support from all organisational levels, not least from the top management.

– A health-promoting workplace does not only mean individual-oriented wellness activities, it is rather a holistic approach to promote a good physical and psychosocial work environment, says Eriksson.

This approach includes managerial knowledge and skills as well as policies and structures of the organisation that support a health-promoting workplace.

Sickness rates is not the hole story
The concept of health-promoting leadership has been adopted by several Swedish municipalities as a means to decrease sickness rates.
Andrea Eriksson is critical to a narrow focus on low sickness rates.

– In my interviews with managers in the municipal sector I have noticed that they are aware of factors promoting employee health, but their work situation make it difficult for the managers to be health-promoting leaders in practice. In female-dominated working sectors, such as care of elderly and schools, an important issue is thus how to improve the managers’ working conditions as well as their possibilities to promote a good work environment.

Andrea Eriksson makes suggestions for important aspects to consider when implementing and evaluating health-promoting leadership. They include time and support for development work as well as organising work in a health-promoting manner.

– It can be, for example, to give employees increased control over their work environment or to support them in different ways according to their needs.

Title: Health promoting leadership. A study of the concept and critical conditions for its implementation and evaluation.

Time and place for public defence: Friday, the 2 December 2011, 1.15 p.m. in Hall.
Adress: Fredrik Bloms väg 25, Nya Varvet, Göteborg
Dissertation can be ordered for 150 SEK excluded postage fees:

Author: Andrea Eriksson E-mail:
Main supervisor: Runo Axelsson, professor, Sahlgrenska Akademin, Second supervisor: Susanna Bihari Axelsson, associate professor, Nordic School of Public Health