Dr. Eskerod publishes Article on Change Agents

Together with associates from the University of Southern Denmark, Prof. Dr. Pernille Eskerod published a peer-reviewed article on how to enrich project organizations by appointing formal change agents in June 2017. The article is based on a longitudinal action-oriented multi-case study research, involving workplace health promotion projects in six organizations.

Enriching project organizations with formal change agents: Health promotion projects at the workplace


Purpose: Project success requires effective and efficient cooperation between the project organization and the permanent organization in which the project takes place. The purpose of this paper is to discuss potentials and pitfalls from enriching project organizations by appointing peers as formal change agents.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on a literature review and a multiple-case study in which six organizations participated in an action-oriented research project. The aim for the organizations was to obtain a better health status among the employees by accomplishing an internal change project that enhanced physical activity at the workplace and in leisure time. Change agents in the form of peer health ambassadors were selected by middle management and hereafter trained by the project representatives.

Findings: The findings suggest that the selection of change agents and middle and top management support are major determinants of success within change projects. To select change agents that the employees respect and can identify with, combined with top management prioritization, is important in order for the project organization to benefit from the additional role.
Practical implications: Selecting the “wrong” change agents can jeopardize a change project, even when the project is supported by top management and the target group members at the starting point are highly motivated to change.
Originality/value: The research contributes to the understanding of project organizing by building theory on how formal peer change agents can enhance project success in change projects.


Action research, Workplace health promotion, Change agent, Change project, Peer, Project organizing


Eskerod, P., Justesen, J.B. & Sjøgaard, G. (2017). Enriching project organizations with formal change agents: Health promotion projects at the workplace, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 10(3), 578-599.

Article Info