Evaluation of a Workplace Disability Prevention Intervention in Canada: Examining Differing Perceptions of Stakeholders

Karin Maiwald*, Angelique de Rijk, Jaime Guzman, Eva Schonstein, Annalee Yassi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction Workplace disability prevention is important, but stakeholders can differ in their appreciation of such interventions. We present a responsive evaluation of a workplace disability prevention intervention in a Canadian healthcare organization. Three groups of stakeholders were included: designers of the intervention, deliverers, and workers. The aim was to examine the appreciation of this intervention by analyzing the discrepancies with respect to what these various stakeholders see as the causes of work disability, what the intervention should aim at to address this problem, and to what extent the intervention works in practice. Methods A qualitative research method was used, including data-triangulation: (a) documentary materials; (b) semi-structured interviews with the deliverers and workers (n = 14); (c) participatory observations of group meetings (n = 6); (d) member-checking meetings (n = 3); (e) focus-group meetings (n = 2). A grounded theory approach, including some ethnographic methodology, was used for the data-analysis. Results Stakeholders' perceptions of causes for work disability differ, as do preferred strategies for prevention. Designers proposed work-directed measures to change the workplace and work organizations, and individual-directed measures to change workers' behaviour. Deliverers targeted individual-directed measures, however, workers were mostly seeking work-directed measures. To assess how the intervention was working, designers sought a wide range of outcome measures. Deliverers focused on measurable outcomes targeted at reducing work time-loss. Workers perceived that this intervention offered short-term benefits yet fell short in ensuring sustainable return-to-work. Conclusion This study provides understanding of where discrepancies between stakeholders' perceptions about interventions come from. Our findings have implications for workplace disability prevention intervention development, implementation and evaluation criteria.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-189
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • Program evaluation
  • Workplace
  • Qualitative research
  • Disability prevention
  • Sickness absence
  • Canada

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