Abstract The Inclusive Working Life (IWL) program is a tripartite cooperation between the Norwegian government, labour organisations and employers associations. IWL aims to prevent and reduce sick leave levels, increase employment of employees with disabilities and increase average retirement age. The IWL program has been evaluated on several occasions. Few measurable effects have been discovered in quantitative studies so far, still the program has been reinstated, last for the period 2014-2018. Qualitative studies can contribute to understand the IWL limitations to meet own targets. As a contribution to enhance knowledge of the IWL implementation process – the present study accessed practical experiences with the IWL program. A total of twenty-four informants with first-hand experience of IWL were interviewed, more specific employers with personnel responsibility and support staff. Through inductive analysis it was discovered that the informants experienced the external IWL program as representing something different than the internal, general work environment (GWE). The internal GWE was broadly characterized by strengths. These strengths were thematically connected to (1) resources, (2) proactivity and (3) Quality of Working Life (QWL) principles for public administration. The IWL program was mainly characterized by weaknesses. These shortcomings concluded that the IWL program was understood as (1) reactive, (2) deviated from success criteria for effective work environment interventions, (3) associated with demands, (4) held a stress perspective on the work environment and (5) was in line with New Public Management (NPM) principles for public administration. This concludes that the IWL program contrasts today s knowledge-based work environment perspectives. GWE indicates to buffer the recommendations the external IWL program imposes.