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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Developing trust and balancing control : social interactions in work accommodations Kwan, Hanah C.


The return to work (RTW) literature has identified various determinants for successful outcomes for injured workers. Social interactions due to multiple stakeholders within multiple systems have emerged as an important area in need of further investigation. Additionally, the increase use of work accommodations to facilitate early return to work has gained increased focus due to the promising direct and indirect benefits to stakeholders. This study examines the social interactions in the RTW accommodation process from the perspectives of three key stakeholders—the injured worker, the workers’ compensation system and employer representatives—with the aim of developing a middle-range theory grounded in these stakeholders’ perspectives. Interview data from 27 participants (17 workers, 5 employers, 5 insurers) were transcribed and analyzed using constructivist grounded theory method. The resulting theory identified that developing trust and balancing control are interdependent core processes in the RTW accommodation process. Developing trust and balancing control are dynamic processes with opportunities to repair/increase or falter/decrease these core processes among stakeholders. These processes impacted the outcomes and goals of returning the worker to productivity, the satisfaction with the accommodation process, the amount of loss reduction, and claim closure. Study results imply that stakeholders can intervene when trust is not being developed and there is an imbalance of control. The measurement of trust and control in the RTW accommodation process would support the application of study findings. The resulting grounded theory provides a framework for the implementation of successful RTW accommodations

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