Learning Wellness: A case study of a wellbeing initiative through the lens of organisational learning

2020-04-28T11:04:22Z (GMT) by Rameses T. Manalang
Research and practice on wellbeing programmes have been growing and evolving over the years. Nevertheless, the challenges in designing, implementing and sustaining these initiatives in organisations are also predominant in extant literature, where the Human Resource Management (HRM) practice has taken an important role and responsibility in promoting these initiatives. This study helps bridge HRM and wellness, which have traditionally been separate strands of activity and research. It investigates how a wellbeing initiative is learnt and embedded within an organisation using the lens of organisational learning. It also aims to examine the dynamic relationship between the learning of wellness with a number of factors including general happiness and attitudes towards the wellness dimensions. It is a single case study of a global manufacturing company with a strong presence in the Philippines which spearheaded a wellness programme to its employees. Using a mixed methods research design (QUAL & QUAN), a model of wellness learning in the organisation was developed. This is an integrative model utilising the existing frameworks and models on wellbeing and organisational learning. This study shows the viability of an organisational learning lens to wellbeing programmes as an alternative or a complementary approach to existing frameworks and models on workplace wellbeing. Five factors in the organisational learning of wellbeing emerged. In the end, three dominant themes also surfaced about the wellness programme in the said organisation, namely: a social element to wellness, a work-wellness conflict and a wellness lag. This wellness lag is driven by a structural element built-in within the organisation, which is further compounded by the financial constraints which may come upon certain actors, delimiting their participation in the programme. This study endeavours to contribute to our understanding about wellbeing programmes in the context of a developing country like the Philippines, where these initiatives are already being identified as one of the mechanisms in nation building. This extension of knowledge is especially useful in theory building as well as in practice in effectively implementing these initiatives in organisations. Future researchers on wellness programmes could further look into the learning of wellbeing in other organisational contexts. Focus could also be made specifically on the structural, cultural, financial and institutional elements which may impinge on these wellness programmes, using higher order quantitative analysis methods like confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) or structural equation modelling (SEM).