School organizational readiness to implement interventions may play an important role for the actual obtained implementation level, and knowledge about organizational readiness prior to intervention start can help pinpoint how to optimize support to the schools. In this study, we applied a novel heuristic, R = MC2 to assess school organizational readiness prior to implementation of a multicomponent smoking prevention program. Furthermore, we examined the association to actual implementation after the first year of study. We used questionnaire data from school coordinators at 40 schools in Denmark who had accepted to implement the multi-component smoking prevention intervention—X:IT II—in the school year 2017–2018 including three main components: (1) Rules on smoke-free school time, (2) A smoke-free curriculum, and (3) Parental involvement. On behalf of the school, a school coordinator answered a baseline questionnaire about the organizational readiness and a follow-up questionnaire about implementation of the three components after first year of study. Readiness was measured by summing aspects of motivation (relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, and priority), general capacity (culture, climate, and staff capacity), and innovation-specific capacity (knowledge, skills, and abilities). Based on school coordinators’ perceptions, almost all schools had good general capacity while the other two areas of readiness varied across schools; overall, 56.8% of schools (N = 25) had good motivation for implementing the X:IT II intervention and 61.3% (N = 27) had high innovation-specific capacity. Half of the schools had high overall readiness defined as high motivation and high innovation-specific capacity. Schools with high overall readiness implemented the rules on smoke-free school time, smoke-free curriculum, and parental involvement to a higher degree than schools with low overall readiness. All participating schools possessed sufficient levels of general capacity, e.g., a well-functioning organizational culture and sufficient staff capacity. High levels of motivation and innovation-specific capacity were positively associated with the schools’ actual implementation of the main intervention components. This way of conceptualizing and measuring organizational readiness may be useful in future studies, i.e., in studies where enhancing readiness is a main objective.
- School intervention
- School organizational readiness
- Smoking prevention