This study’s aim is to increase insights into the characteristics and conditions of municipal health promotion strategy work. Specifically, we aim to find barriers connected to strategy work, that is, creating and formulating municipal health promotion strategy documents, with the following empirical research question: What perceptions do municipal health promotion strategy actors have on barriers connected to low citizen participation, narrow cross-departmental collaboration and weak goal orientation in health promotion strategy work? Empirical data comprised 22 thematics, individual interviews collected from municipal managers, sector managers and municipal health coordinators. Analysis was conducted using content analysis. This study’s findings showed that the main barriers impeding optimal strategy work conditions were administrators’ sceptical views of participation and undeveloped administrative practices in inclusive citizen participation, inadequate leadership to unite actors and facilitate collaborative strategy work practices, and challenges in integrating various views into coherent strategic goals. Also, a need for boundary-spanning leadership that strengthens mutual interaction and creates a shared understanding of health promotion to build strategic collaboration and goal-oriented strategy work was revealed. Finally, to strengthen this leadership, influencing administrators’ mindsets, behaviour and administrative culture is imperative.

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