The four cultures of collaborative health. A first empirical study

Håkan Sandberg


The concept of collaborative health has been found to be an adequate expression of the physical, psychological and social health resources the individual uses in collaboration, health resources which also are affected by teamwork collaboration (Sandberg, 2010). The aim of this study is to elucidate the concept of collaborative health in different working life contexts and thereby develop the meaning of this concept. In 2009 – 2010 individual interviews were undertaken with 19 experienced professionals from the welfare sector as well as trade and industry in Sweden. The main result of this study is described as “cultures of collaborative health”: The resource culture; the mission culture; the relational culture and the human value culture. These four cultures express partly overlapping ways of describing meanings of collaboration at work with consequences for collaborative health. Conflicts in the collaborative situations are discussed as a consequence of the individuals’ different, sometimes clashing, “paradigmatic positions” with regard to which culture they tend to emphasize when reflecting upon a satisfying collaboration. The main result of this study gives rise to a conceptual development of collaborative health. Further empirical studies are needed in order both to clarify the methodological issues and to bring stronger evidence in support of the usefulness and meaning of collaborative health, possibly directing the concept to a position of being well defined and generally useful, e.g. as the core concept in an instrument relating working life conditions to health. The concept of collaborative health might have the power of bringing a somewhat new perspective to research and management of working life.

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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413