On how and why line managers are drivers of implementation : a qualitative study exploring the behaviours of line managers in the implementation of an organisational health intervention
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- Institutt for psykologi 
The importance of line managers in intervention processes is well known, but their role is poorly defined. This qualitative study explored the behaviour of line managers in the implementation of an organisational health intervention. Applying realist evaluation theory provided the opportunity to investigate how and why the behaviours of line managers are important for driving the intervention process. Interviews were carried out with seven heads of departments of a large, Norwegian university, who had all led the implementation of a work environment intervention. A thematic analysis was performed, identifying three behavioural mechanisms; cooperation, follow-up, and communication of progress. In addition, five relevant contexts were identified; competing demands, degree of line manager expertise, degree of presence from other stakeholders, and line manager and employee perceptions of the intervention. The study contributed to explaining the underlying reasonings and reactions behind line managers’ behaviours in implementation processes. It advocates a higher emphasis on the importance of line managers, and for evaluation literature to consider a broader aspect of their behaviour. Moreover, the expression of the behavioural mechanisms was found to be highly dependent on contexts. The study concluded that studying behaviour without assessing its interaction to contexts has little purpose.