Journal Article

Organizational change—key to capacity building and effective health promotion

Sue Heward, Cheryl Hutchins and Helen Keleher

in Health Promotion International

Volume 22, issue 2, pages 170-178
Published in print June 2007 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online May 2007 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dam011
Organizational change—key to capacity building and effective health promotion

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SUMMARY

Contemporary health promotion is now a well-defined discipline with a strong (albeit diverse) theoretical base, proven technologies (based on program planning) for addressing complex social problems, processes to guide practice and a body of evidence of efficacy and increasingly, effectiveness. Health promotion has evolved principally within the health sector where it is frequently considered optional rather than core business. To maximize effectiveness, quality health promotion technologies and practices need to be adopted as core business by the health sector and by organizations in other sectors. It has proven difficult to develop the infrastructure, workforce and resource base needed to ensure the routine introduction of high-quality health promotion into organizations. Recognizing these problems, this paper explores the use of organizational theory and practice in building the capacity of organizations to design, deliver and evaluate health promotion effectively and efficiently. The paper argues that organizational change is an essential but under-recognized function for the sustainability of health promotion practice and a necessary component of capacity-building frameworks. The interdependence of quality health promotion with organizational change is discussed in this paper through three case studies. While each focused on different aspects of health promotion development, the centrality of organizational change in each of them was striking. This paper draws out elements of organizational change to demonstrate that health promotion specialists and practitioners, wherever they are located, should be building organizational change into both their practice and capacity-building frameworks because without it, effectiveness and sustainability are at risk.

Keywords: health promotion; organizational change; capacity building

Journal Article.  4564 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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