This qualitative study explored the vital role of line managers, namely the managerial
level directly above employees, in effectively implementing evidence-based practice
(EBP) from their own perspectives. Interviews were carried out with twenty-eight line
managers within social services and older people care in seven Swedish municipalities.
Thematic analysis was performed. Findings revealed that managers in social care perceived
their role as important in implementing EBP. However, notable differences
were observed between the two settings, where social services managers had more
knowledge and held more positive attitudes towards working according to EBP, and
described a more active role in the implementation process than managers in older
people care. Overall, the implementation of EBP was performed ad hoc rather than
systematically, and with little consideration to analysis of needs according to the local
context and limited focus on follow-up and sustainability. This study highlighted that
line managers in social services and older people care have different prerequisites for
implementing EBP, and are greatly dependent on organisational strategies and context.
Gaining knowledge of line managers’ perceptions is essential for making informed
decisions regarding the support required to achieve EBP in social care, and
thus for providing the best possible care for clients.