The Employee as Promoter of Health: A Qualitative Case Study of the Health Work of Health Ambassadors

Marie Reinholdt

Student thesis: Master thesis


With today's focus on health, more employees are participating in creating health-promoting initiatives in the workplace. Employees are trained as health ambassadors for the purpose of initiating health activities for colleagues. Thereby, employees become inventers of health promotion. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how health ambassadors perceive the experience of being the intended creator of health promotion in his or her organization. The study takes a phenomenological-hermeneutic research approach and uses health ambassadors trained by Dansk Firmaidrætsforbund as a qualitative case study. The research relies on a qualitative method, and the empirical data has been collected through semi-structured interviews. The interviews have been transcribed and subsequently analyzed using Giorgi & Giorgi’s (2003) descriptive phenomenological method. Four theoretical perspectives have been derived from the empirical analysis which are used to unfold the experiences of the health ambassadors. Bandura's (1977, 1998) Social Learning Theory and Social Cognitive Theory provides a basis of the analysis, while Stets and Burkes identity theory, Manz’s (1992) self-leadership theory as well as Houghthon, Neck and Manz’ (2003) self-leadership theory provides the theoretical basis for the analysis. Based on the analysis, a change-theoretical meta-analysis from the perspective of Weick and Quinn (1999) is conducted shedding a further light on the health ambassadors' approach(es) to the task. The study identifies six key findings. Three of the six findings relate to the self-experience of the health ambassadors in their new role, while the last three findings relates to the relationships that the health ambassadors experience with their organization. The analysis reveals that the identity of the health ambassadors, their ability to self-lead, and their position in the organization has a significant implication as to how they experience being and working as a health ambassador. In addition, this also affects their approach to the tasks included in being a health ambassador.

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages80
SupervisorsLone Dalsgaard Dawe