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Strategies to Improve Employee Exercise Participation in Corporate Fitness Centres

Brandner, James Karl (2018) Strategies to Improve Employee Exercise Participation in Corporate Fitness Centres. PhD thesis, Victoria University.

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Abstract

Corporate fitness centres are popular employee fringe benefits, where employees participate in exercise to derive physical, mental, and social benefits (Mathes, McGivern, & Schneider, 1992); and improve productivity and reduce absenteeism for employers (Swayze & Burke, 2013). Employee participation in corporate fitness centres, however, is low and ranges between 10% - 60% of an employee population (e.g. Clark et al., 2011; Mathes et al., 1992), which is insufficient from the perspective of corporate fitness centre stakeholders (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008; Schwetschenau, O'Brien, Cunningham, & Jex, 2008). To date, little is known about the factors that contribute to employee exercise participation in corporate fitness centres, and this indicates a need for research, especially in Australia, where there is a paucity of information (Hunter, Gordon, Lythgo, Bird, & Benson, 2017). Thus, the purpose of this research was first, to explore what factors contribute to employee exercise participation in corporate fitness centres and second, to develop strategies that could improve participation. A dominant qualitative, mixed methods approach addressed the research purpose. Phase-one was qualitative and employed a case study to triangulate three data sources: documents (n = 18), semi-structured interviews with managers (n = 8), and three focus groups with employees (n = 10). Phase-two was quantitative and used an online questionnaire of employees across Australia to predict what factors contribute to employee exercise participation in corporate fitness centres. The data strands were synthesised together to develop a comprehensive understanding on what factors contribute to employee exercise participation in corporate fitness centres. Results showed the a priori core themes of constraints, negotiation, and motivation contributed to exercise participation. Specifically, structural constraints, skill acquisition, and identified regulation were, respectively, the main constraint factor, negotiation strategy, and motivation dimension to independently predict employee exercise participation. Additionally, facilitators inductively emerged as another contributing factor in the data. This research contributes to the limited available information on what factors contribute to employee exercise participation in corporate fitness centres globally, and within Australia, specifically (Hunter et al., 2017). Several strategies to improve employee exercise participation emerged in this research, with management potentially concentrating their efforts to minimise structural constraints, such as considering corporate fitness centre design and program scheduling. Identified regulation significantly predicted exercise participation, and indicates management could promote exercise participation outcomes in promotional materials. Further increasing employee motivation levels may translate into more employee efforts to negotiate constraints to exercise participation. This could be achieved by management instilling values at the policy level that further facilitate employee exercise participation. This research adds to the body of knowledge about employee exercise participation in corporate fitness centres by describing the lived experiences of employee constraints, use of negotiation strategies, and motives that underpin exercise participation. This research also contributes the first user-friendly resource of the key strategies when establishing and managing corporate fitness centres.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
Uncontrolled Keywords: corporate fitness centres; fringe benefit; employees; exercise; physical activity; wellbeing programs; participation; constraints; motivation; human resource management; management strategies; Australia
Subjects: FOR Classification > 1117 Public Health and Health Services
FOR Classification > 1503 Business and Management
Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Institute for Health and Sport
Depositing User: VUIR
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 05:29
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 05:29
URI: http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/38649
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