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Malve-Ahlroth, Sara, 2020. Supportive work environment for psychological wellbeing : interpretative phenomenological analysis of salutogenic affordances. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Dept. of People and Society



Environments in which we work can be simultaneously demanding and fulfilling. Recently there have been efforts to consider the salutogenic approach with focus on environmental factors that support human health and well-being at work. Salutogenic design of workplaces is considered as a useful and valuable framework for making a positive impact, but there is still need for more research on the topic. This thesis adopted salutogenic affordances perspective to the perceived sensory dimensions (PSDs) and explored how those affordances were manifested in work environment. Salutogenic affordances can be defined as psychologically meaningful dimensions of the material environment that enable salutary processes to take place. The eight PSDs that have been previously identified as the main components of salutogenic environmental experiences were translated into affordances that were used as the backdrop of walk-and-talk interviews with four employees in one workplace in Finland. The aim was to try to understand how the salutogenic potential of the work environment was experienced by the employees of one workplace and what kind of experiential and environmental factors influenced their experience. The interviews were conducted and analysed with interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) approach. The results of the analysis on the eight salutogenic affordances were portrayed in a narrative description. All the eight salutogenic affordances seemed to play a role in supporting the wellbeing of the participants at some level. They experienced the affordances in visually different locations and mostly outdoors. The places where the affordances were experienced, provided contrast to the regular office space. In some cases, the perceived affordances could not be actualized due to social norms or expectations. These findings shed some new light on the quality of salutary experience in a work context. Even if the studied affordances were psychosocial, all of them were also experienced in spatial and physical terms. This is in line with the Supportive environment theory, which argues that people need the support from their surrounding environment also for psychological processes. The results of this study support the previous research findings that it is important to include environmental qualities into salutogenic models of work. Overall, the salutogenic affordance concept as a tool for researching the embodied and experiential qualities of work environments appeared interesting and possibly complementary to other tools such as the perceived sensory dimensions (PSDs).

Main title:Supportive work environment for psychological wellbeing
Subtitle:interpretative phenomenological analysis of salutogenic affordances
Authors:Malve-Ahlroth, Sara
Supervisor:Bengtsson, Anna
Examiner:Von Essen, Elisabeth and Grahn, Patrik
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2020
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LM007 Outdoor environments for health and well-being - Master's programme 120 HEC
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of People and Society
Keywords:affordances, salutogenic design, perceived sensory dimensions, work environment, phenomenological interpretative analysis
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Landscape architecture
Deposited On:24 Apr 2020 07:23
Metadata Last Modified:05 May 2020 10:14

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