“The commitment of the management is the most important value when it comes to achieving sustainable health among employees,” says Ingela Bäckström. “The health perspective is long-term, and sustainable health is measured by more than sickness leaves. But sustainable health often does lead to improved healthy attendance.”

Sustainable health is about a long-term perception of well-being that leads to the contentment of employees. This increases the preconditions for sustained or enhanced motivation and commitment. This entails a positive effect on employee health, which is something that good leaders can influence over time.

Among other things, Ingela Bäckström has studied organizations with low rates of absenteeism for sickness and looked at how they work. She has also asked employees in various organizations what is important in making them enjoy their work.

The conclusion is that those in leadership positions should take care to:
o Truly attempt to understand their co-workers and their work situation
o Be present and available in order to be able to communicate with employees
o Be a role model, be fair, and keep promises
o Remain in their leadership role long enough to establish trust and confidence.

Working with values in Quality Management can have a positive impact on work satisfaction. This in turn leads to enhanced productivity and satisfied customers. Working with Quality Management can be a good way for leaders to attain sustainable good health among employees.

Ingela Bäckström at the Mid Sweden University Department of Technology and Sustainable Development will publicly defend her dissertation on May 28 in Östersund. It is titled On the Relationship between Sustainable Health and Quality Management – Leadership and Organizational Behaviours from Swedish Organizations. The subject area is quality technology.

Questions may be directed to:
Ingela Bäckström, phone: +46 (0)63- 16 57 86 or cell phone: +46 (0)70-257 62 23. Ingela.Backstrom@miun.se

2009-05-25, Lars Aronsson, information officer for research

Phone: +46 (0)63-16 53 36, fax: +46 (0)63-16 54 54, cell phone: +46 (0)70-516 53 36, e-mail:Lars.Aronsson@miun.se