Dissertation: Project-based development of well-being at work can help during times of change – investing in project competence pays off

Maija Vänskä
The dissertation of Maija Vänskä in the field of Social and Health Management shows that project-based investments in well-being at work pay off. The results are based on a case study carried out in a public organisation, as part of which a survey was carried out on participants in a workplace well-being project.

– The people involved in the project got the impression that their employer cares about its staff during times of change. According to the survey, the benefits of the project included an increased sense of inclusion and community, says Maija Vänskä, who will defend her doctoral dissertation at the University of Vaasa on Friday, 13 May.

Vänskä’s doctoral dissertation deals with well-being at work and its development in a public organisation. She points out that workplace well-being is a multifaceted phenomenon, which is not entirely straightforward to define. Simply put, it means working safely and healthily.

– Well-being at work is part of everyday operations, it should not and must not be forgotten.

According to the doctoral dissertation, project-based development of well-being at work comprises many critical points, where the decisions made affect the results to be achieved by the project. One of these is the level of procurement expertise, which can be considered a central factor predicting success in workplace well-being projects.

– It pays off to invest in procurement expertise in public organisations, for example, with the help of sufficient procurement training and prior coaching.

Project-based development of well-being at work is not necessarily quick as lightning, especially if the project expenses exceed the amounts specified by procurement legislation. It may take years to progress from project preparation and to implementation. This became evident also in the workplace well-being project that was studied.

– The setting of the preliminary project criteria should be carefully considered so that they make it easier to, for example, choose the service provider, Maija Vänskä says.

In the case study, Vänskä made use of qualitative and quantitative methods that gave a broader view for the study. In addition to the survey, the research data consisted of the organisation’s documentation.

Public defence

The public examination of M.Sc. Maija Vänskä’s doctoral dissertation "Työhyvinvointi ja sen kehittäminen julkisessa organisaatiossawill be held on Friday 13.5.2022 at 12 at the University of Vaasa, Auditorium Nissi.

Participation in the defence is possible also online: https://uwasa.zoom.us/j/69896390931?pwd=NXBSOUJOQUk3TnFHeHo0dWdLRXZQdz09Password: 882388

Professor Jari Stenvall (Tampere University) will act as an opponent and Professor Harri Jalonen as custos. The defence will be held in Finnish.

Doctoral dissertation

Vänskä, Maija (2022) Työhyvinvointi ja sen kehittäminen julkisessa organisaatiossa. Acta Wasaensia 484. Väitöskirja / Doctoral dissertation. Vaasan yliopisto / University of Vaasa.

Publication pdf: https://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-395-018-4

Further information

Maija Vänskä, tel. +358 440 701012, maija.vanska (@) elisanet.fi

Maija Vänskä was born in Kuopio in 1959. She graduated as a nurse from Kuusankoski Institute of Health Care in 1994 and as a public health nurse from Lahti University of Applied Sciences in 1996. Then, she completed a master’s degree in Health Science at the University of Kuopio in 2003. During her career, she has worked as, among other things, an occupational health nurse and HR manager at the municipality of Nastola and as an workplace wellbeing manager at HUSLAB.

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