The Wicked Character of Psychosocial Risks

Implications for Regulation

Anne Helbo Jespersen, Peter Hasle, Klaus Tranetoft Nielsen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Resumé

Psychosocial risks constitute a significant problem in most workplaces, and they are generally considered more difficult to regulate than many other occupational health and safety risks. This article investigates the challenges of regulating psychosocial risks in the workplace. The difficulties lie in the particular nature of psychosocial risks: their complexity, uncertainty, value, and power divergences. Psychosocial risks therefore resemble ‘wicked problems’, typically characterized by
unclear cause-effect relationships and uncertain solutions. We use the ‘wicked problems’ concept to show how workplace regulation, and particularly the enforcement in the form of inspection and audits of certified occupational health and safety management systems, face challenges in assessing psychosocial risks and the strategies used by regulators to overcome these challenges. While
regulation has become more effective in several countries, a better understanding of the nature of the challenges is still needed. It is necessary to accept the uncertain nature of psychosocial risks in the search for more efficient regulation. Achieving more effective regulation should involve stakeholders in the workplace who deal with the prerogatives of management, and should help
develop the competencies of the inspectors and auditors in the field.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftNordic Journal of Working Life Studies
Vol/bind6
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)23-42
Antal sider20
ISSN2245-0157
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2016

Citer dette

@article{dcd3d09794b5439eb0fb565349201ecd,
title = "The Wicked Character of Psychosocial Risks: Implications for Regulation",
abstract = "Psychosocial risks constitute a significant problem in most workplaces, and they are generally considered more difficult to regulate than many other occupational health and safety risks. This article investigates the challenges of regulating psychosocial risks in the workplace. The difficulties lie in the particular nature of psychosocial risks: their complexity, uncertainty, value, and power divergences. Psychosocial risks therefore resemble ‘wicked problems’, typically characterized byunclear cause-effect relationships and uncertain solutions. We use the ‘wicked problems’ concept to show how workplace regulation, and particularly the enforcement in the form of inspection and audits of certified occupational health and safety management systems, face challenges in assessing psychosocial risks and the strategies used by regulators to overcome these challenges. Whileregulation has become more effective in several countries, a better understanding of the nature of the challenges is still needed. It is necessary to accept the uncertain nature of psychosocial risks in the search for more efficient regulation. Achieving more effective regulation should involve stakeholders in the workplace who deal with the prerogatives of management, and should helpdevelop the competencies of the inspectors and auditors in the field.",
keywords = "Audit, Inspection, Enforcement, Standards, Wicked problems",
author = "Jespersen, {Anne Helbo} and Peter Hasle and Nielsen, {Klaus Tranetoft}",
year = "2016",
doi = "10.19154/njwls.v6i3.5526",
language = "English",
volume = "6",
pages = "23--42",
journal = "Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies",
issn = "2245-0157",
publisher = "Roskilde Universitet",
number = "3",

}

The Wicked Character of Psychosocial Risks : Implications for Regulation. / Jespersen, Anne Helbo; Hasle, Peter; Nielsen, Klaus Tranetoft.

I: Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, Bind 6, Nr. 3, 2016, s. 23-42.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Wicked Character of Psychosocial Risks

T2 - Implications for Regulation

AU - Jespersen, Anne Helbo

AU - Hasle, Peter

AU - Nielsen, Klaus Tranetoft

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - Psychosocial risks constitute a significant problem in most workplaces, and they are generally considered more difficult to regulate than many other occupational health and safety risks. This article investigates the challenges of regulating psychosocial risks in the workplace. The difficulties lie in the particular nature of psychosocial risks: their complexity, uncertainty, value, and power divergences. Psychosocial risks therefore resemble ‘wicked problems’, typically characterized byunclear cause-effect relationships and uncertain solutions. We use the ‘wicked problems’ concept to show how workplace regulation, and particularly the enforcement in the form of inspection and audits of certified occupational health and safety management systems, face challenges in assessing psychosocial risks and the strategies used by regulators to overcome these challenges. Whileregulation has become more effective in several countries, a better understanding of the nature of the challenges is still needed. It is necessary to accept the uncertain nature of psychosocial risks in the search for more efficient regulation. Achieving more effective regulation should involve stakeholders in the workplace who deal with the prerogatives of management, and should helpdevelop the competencies of the inspectors and auditors in the field.

AB - Psychosocial risks constitute a significant problem in most workplaces, and they are generally considered more difficult to regulate than many other occupational health and safety risks. This article investigates the challenges of regulating psychosocial risks in the workplace. The difficulties lie in the particular nature of psychosocial risks: their complexity, uncertainty, value, and power divergences. Psychosocial risks therefore resemble ‘wicked problems’, typically characterized byunclear cause-effect relationships and uncertain solutions. We use the ‘wicked problems’ concept to show how workplace regulation, and particularly the enforcement in the form of inspection and audits of certified occupational health and safety management systems, face challenges in assessing psychosocial risks and the strategies used by regulators to overcome these challenges. Whileregulation has become more effective in several countries, a better understanding of the nature of the challenges is still needed. It is necessary to accept the uncertain nature of psychosocial risks in the search for more efficient regulation. Achieving more effective regulation should involve stakeholders in the workplace who deal with the prerogatives of management, and should helpdevelop the competencies of the inspectors and auditors in the field.

KW - Audit

KW - Inspection

KW - Enforcement

KW - Standards

KW - Wicked problems

U2 - 10.19154/njwls.v6i3.5526

DO - 10.19154/njwls.v6i3.5526

M3 - Journal article

VL - 6

SP - 23

EP - 42

JO - Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies

JF - Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies

SN - 2245-0157

IS - 3

ER -