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Prerequisites for young managers: Leadership towards a good work environment and healthy workers

Research project Due to lack of support and unsustainable work environment more than half of young managers in Sweden considers voluntary turnover. What prerequisites do young managers in Sweden have, what support and resources are required to make it attractive to remain in the job?

The research project investigates health and work environment of young managers within the private sector and their prerequisites to exercise good leadership. The project is financed by “Afa försäkring”.

Head of project

Susanne Tafvelin
Associate professor
E-mail
Email

Project overview

Project period:

2019-01-01 2023-12-31

Funding

Afa Försäkring

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Psychology

Research area

Psychology

Project description

Due to lack of support and unsustainable work environment more than half of young managers in Sweden considers voluntary turnover. Sweden is the one country in Europe with the lowest share young managers and knowledge about their health and work environment is scarce. What prerequisites do young managers in Sweden have, what support and resources are required to make it attractive to remain in the job? Managerial turnover may lead to a variety of consequences. Among other things, it may lead to reduced stability and effectiveness in organizations followed by increased costs but also affect the work environment of employees and working groups. In other words, there are many reasons to find out more about prerequisites and needs of young managers.
 
The aim of the research project is to investigate what makes young managers thrive and willing to stay in the role of a manager. In extension the result could facilitate the establishment of young managers on the labor market and counteract illness.

The research project comprises several sub-studies including both quantitative and qualitative research. The sub-studies constitute surveys as well as interviews with managers and HR professionals in working life.

Survey study

Surveys are sent out to employees and managers in private sector in Sweden. Young managers refers to managers between 19-29 years (young adults). Questions in the survey examine, among other things, experiences of demand and resources in the role of manager in both younger and older managers. The questionnaires also make it possible to compare answers from women and men to see if they differ in any way. Furthermore, contextual factors on leadership performance will be attended to. The questionnaire is sent out on two occasions at six-monthly intervals, which makes it possible to examine which factors over time affect young managers' conditions to lead and the willingness to continue working as manager.

Interviews in working life

By interviewing managers in working life, the project is expected to bring an in-dept understanding about how young managers experience their work situation, what expectations they know from others and their need of support. The interviews also aim to find out how organizations can support young people in their managerial role by improving conditions. Collaboration is established with three organizations in different segments (private sector) where interviews are conducted with young managers, their employees, HR professionals and senior managers. Through the interviews, comparisons can also be made about how the conditions for young managers appears within different businesses. One year after the interview procedure, follow-up dialogue is conducted revealing results and enables further discussion about possible areas of improvement.

Utility in practice

Based on knowledge from the aforementioned sub-studies, a handbook is formulated with concrete strategies and good examples applied to organizations in Swedish working life, with the aim of improving the conditions for young managers, retaining young managers in their role, and helping to facilitate young people's establishment in the labor market. In addition to the manual, educational opportunities will be arranged and information disseminated through the Co.Lead.R website.