Policy on manager involvement in work re-integration: Managers' experiences in a Canadian setting

K. Maiwald*, A. Meershoek, A. de Rijk, F.J.N. Nijhuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGOUND: In Canada and other countries, sickness absence among workers is a significant concern. Local return-to-work policies developed by both management and workers' representatives are preferred to tackle the problem. OBJECTIVE: This article examines how managers perceive this local bipartite agreed upon return-to-work policy, wherein a social constructivist view on the policy process is taken. METHODS: In-depth interviews were held with 10 managers on their experiences with execution of this policy in a Canadian healthcare organization. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and qualitative analyses were completed to gain deep insight into the managers' perspectives. RESULTS: Results show that the managers viewed themselves as a linchpin between the workplace and the worker. They did not feel heard by the other stakeholders, wrestled with worker's limitations, struggled getting plans adjusted and became overextended to meet return-to-work objectives. CONCLUSIONS: The study shows that the managers felt unable to meet the responsibilities the policy demanded and got less involved in the return-to-work process than this policy intended. RTW policy needs to balance on the one hand, flexibility to safeguard active involvement of managers and, on the other hand, strictness regarding taking responsibility by stakeholders, particularly the health care and re-integration professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-494
JournalWORK-A Journal of Prevention Assessment & Rehabilitation
Issue number3
Early online date4 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


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