Health Self-Management Applications in the Workplace: Multidisciplinary studies on worker behaviour and autonomy

Anne Bonvanie - Lenferink

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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Health Self-Management Applications (HSMAs) have become popular tools to self-regulate behaviour in the workplace. HSMAs give users feedback on their bodily functioning, and thereby aim to stimulate the improvement of worker behaviour. HSMA feedback can vary from delayed to real-time messaging, can be focused on past performance or on future development, and it can increasingly be adjusted to the user’s preferences. The use of technologies such as HSMAs raises questions about effectiveness and the potential effects on worker autonomy. This thesis aims to examine how HSMAs can responsibly and effectively be developed and used to stimulate workers to show more healthy behaviours. This involves two experimental field studies, and a case study of SPRINT@work, the multidisciplinary research project this thesis is a part of.

This thesis shows that workers are unlikely to alter behaviour that they can identify themselves, such as prolonged sitting behaviour, but do alter behaviour that they were unaware of, such as fatigue during typing. The use of HSMAs is shown to affect the autonomy of workers, especially for those workers with higher BMI. We find that such ethical issues can be prevented by using a context-specific ethics, and that explicating the privacy and autonomy of workers in the work environment can improve the responsible use of HSMAs. This research combined qualitative and quantitative data from both experimental and case study research into a multidisciplinary view on the responsible and effective development of HSMAs for the work environment.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Wortmann, Johan, Supervisor
  • Janssen, Onne, Supervisor
  • Broekhuis, Manda, Supervisor
  • Maeckelberghe, Els, Co-supervisor
Award date2-Mar-2021
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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