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Testing middle range theories in realist evaluation: a case of a participatory organisational intervention

Testing middle range theories in realist evaluation: a case of a participatory organisational... Realist evaluation seeks to answer the question of “what works for whom in which circumstances?” through developing and testing middle range theories (MRTs). MRTs are programme theories that outline how certain mechanisms of an intervention work in a specific context to bring about certain outcomes. In this paper, the authors tested an initial MRT about the mechanism of participation. The authors used evidence from a participatory organisational intervention in five worksites of a large multi-national organisation in the US food service industry.Design/methodology/approachQualitative data from 89 process tracking documents and 24 post-intervention, semi-structured interviews with intervention stakeholders were analysed using template analysis.FindingsThe operationalised mechanism was partial worksite managers’ engagement with the research team. Six contextual factors (e.g. high workload) impaired participation, and one contextual factor (i.e. existing participatory practices) facilitated participation. Worksite managers’ participation resulted in limited improvement in their awareness of how working conditions can impact on their employees’ safety, health, and well-being. Based on these findings, the authors modified the initial MRT into an empirical MRT.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to the understanding of “what works for whom in which circumstances” regarding participation in organisational interventions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Workplace Health Management Emerald Publishing

Testing middle range theories in realist evaluation: a case of a participatory organisational intervention

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References (41)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1753-8351
DOI
10.1108/ijwhm-12-2021-0219
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Realist evaluation seeks to answer the question of “what works for whom in which circumstances?” through developing and testing middle range theories (MRTs). MRTs are programme theories that outline how certain mechanisms of an intervention work in a specific context to bring about certain outcomes. In this paper, the authors tested an initial MRT about the mechanism of participation. The authors used evidence from a participatory organisational intervention in five worksites of a large multi-national organisation in the US food service industry.Design/methodology/approachQualitative data from 89 process tracking documents and 24 post-intervention, semi-structured interviews with intervention stakeholders were analysed using template analysis.FindingsThe operationalised mechanism was partial worksite managers’ engagement with the research team. Six contextual factors (e.g. high workload) impaired participation, and one contextual factor (i.e. existing participatory practices) facilitated participation. Worksite managers’ participation resulted in limited improvement in their awareness of how working conditions can impact on their employees’ safety, health, and well-being. Based on these findings, the authors modified the initial MRT into an empirical MRT.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to the understanding of “what works for whom in which circumstances” regarding participation in organisational interventions.

Journal

International Journal of Workplace Health ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 11, 2022

Keywords: Realist evaluation; Organisational interventions; Food service; Work environment; Occupational health

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