Working Environment Authority Interventions to Promote Well-Being at work

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

    Abstract

    How can working environment authorities intervene at workplace level to promote the well-being of employees? This issue is discussed in light of recent developments in the inspection strategies and methodologies of the Danish Working Environment Authority. Well-being at work – or the psychosocial working environment – is gaining ground as an area to be conceptualized and regulated by the authorities. New methods seeking to address this issue have been developed and sought integrated into the overall screening- and inspection programme.
    Authority interventions concerning the psychosocial working environment have so far received relatively scarce attention from researchers. This paper draws on insights from a literature review of research on working environment regulation, including attempts to regulate the psychosocial working environment, and on empirical research into the social processes concerning inspections at Danish workplaces. Document studies, several case-studies (based on interviews, chronicle workshops, and participant observations), and a survey has been carried out in order to understand the reception and effects of working environment authority interventions at Danish workplaces.
    The conducted case-studies illustrate a number of challenges for WEA in promoting an improved psychosocial working environment at inspected workplaces. The challenges relate partly to what we have labelled decision dependence – both in workplaces entangled in horizontal decision structures, and in workplaces embedded in vertical, hierarchic decision structures. Furthermore, the psychosocial working environment is per se a difficult object of intervention given the political considerations that demarcate the legitimate area of intervention by WEA, given that the area is not clearly defined and described, and that we still have limited knowledge of how effective improvement processes concerning the psychosocial working environment can actually be achieved.
    Some of the case-studies are examples of successful improvement processes, and here success seems to have been related to either clear management support for improvements, or a combination of the establishment of issue based working groups that cut across traditional workplace committees; to the direct involvement of employees in problem definitions and identification of solutions; and to the use of a concrete and everyday language in describing problems and solutions.
    Following these conclusions our analysis points to some key points for WEA strategy development and further research.

    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2011
    Number of pages20
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    Event29th International Labour Process Conference - University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
    Duration: 5 Apr 20117 Apr 2011
    Conference number: 29

    Conference

    Conference29th International Labour Process Conference
    Number29
    LocationUniversity of Leeds
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    CityLeeds
    Period05/04/201107/04/2011

    Cite this

    Hansen, A. M., & Starheim, L. (2011). Working Environment Authority Interventions to Promote Well-Being at work. Paper presented at 29th International Labour Process Conference, Leeds, United Kingdom.
    Hansen, Agnete Meldgaard ; Starheim, Liv. / Working Environment Authority Interventions to Promote Well-Being at work. Paper presented at 29th International Labour Process Conference, Leeds, United Kingdom.20 p.
    @conference{98cbcc25a55645d3b4c5b854d540721c,
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    abstract = "How can working environment authorities intervene at workplace level to promote the well-being of employees? This issue is discussed in light of recent developments in the inspection strategies and methodologies of the Danish Working Environment Authority. Well-being at work – or the psychosocial working environment – is gaining ground as an area to be conceptualized and regulated by the authorities. New methods seeking to address this issue have been developed and sought integrated into the overall screening- and inspection programme. Authority interventions concerning the psychosocial working environment have so far received relatively scarce attention from researchers. This paper draws on insights from a literature review of research on working environment regulation, including attempts to regulate the psychosocial working environment, and on empirical research into the social processes concerning inspections at Danish workplaces. Document studies, several case-studies (based on interviews, chronicle workshops, and participant observations), and a survey has been carried out in order to understand the reception and effects of working environment authority interventions at Danish workplaces. The conducted case-studies illustrate a number of challenges for WEA in promoting an improved psychosocial working environment at inspected workplaces. The challenges relate partly to what we have labelled decision dependence – both in workplaces entangled in horizontal decision structures, and in workplaces embedded in vertical, hierarchic decision structures. Furthermore, the psychosocial working environment is per se a difficult object of intervention given the political considerations that demarcate the legitimate area of intervention by WEA, given that the area is not clearly defined and described, and that we still have limited knowledge of how effective improvement processes concerning the psychosocial working environment can actually be achieved. Some of the case-studies are examples of successful improvement processes, and here success seems to have been related to either clear management support for improvements, or a combination of the establishment of issue based working groups that cut across traditional workplace committees; to the direct involvement of employees in problem definitions and identification of solutions; and to the use of a concrete and everyday language in describing problems and solutions. Following these conclusions our analysis points to some key points for WEA strategy development and further research.",
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    language = "English",
    note = "null ; Conference date: 05-04-2011 Through 07-04-2011",

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    Hansen, AM & Starheim, L 2011, 'Working Environment Authority Interventions to Promote Well-Being at work' Paper presented at, Leeds, United Kingdom, 05/04/2011 - 07/04/2011, .

    Working Environment Authority Interventions to Promote Well-Being at work. / Hansen, Agnete Meldgaard; Starheim, Liv.

    2011. Paper presented at 29th International Labour Process Conference, Leeds, United Kingdom.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

    TY - CONF

    T1 - Working Environment Authority Interventions to Promote Well-Being at work

    AU - Hansen, Agnete Meldgaard

    AU - Starheim, Liv

    PY - 2011

    Y1 - 2011

    N2 - How can working environment authorities intervene at workplace level to promote the well-being of employees? This issue is discussed in light of recent developments in the inspection strategies and methodologies of the Danish Working Environment Authority. Well-being at work – or the psychosocial working environment – is gaining ground as an area to be conceptualized and regulated by the authorities. New methods seeking to address this issue have been developed and sought integrated into the overall screening- and inspection programme. Authority interventions concerning the psychosocial working environment have so far received relatively scarce attention from researchers. This paper draws on insights from a literature review of research on working environment regulation, including attempts to regulate the psychosocial working environment, and on empirical research into the social processes concerning inspections at Danish workplaces. Document studies, several case-studies (based on interviews, chronicle workshops, and participant observations), and a survey has been carried out in order to understand the reception and effects of working environment authority interventions at Danish workplaces. The conducted case-studies illustrate a number of challenges for WEA in promoting an improved psychosocial working environment at inspected workplaces. The challenges relate partly to what we have labelled decision dependence – both in workplaces entangled in horizontal decision structures, and in workplaces embedded in vertical, hierarchic decision structures. Furthermore, the psychosocial working environment is per se a difficult object of intervention given the political considerations that demarcate the legitimate area of intervention by WEA, given that the area is not clearly defined and described, and that we still have limited knowledge of how effective improvement processes concerning the psychosocial working environment can actually be achieved. Some of the case-studies are examples of successful improvement processes, and here success seems to have been related to either clear management support for improvements, or a combination of the establishment of issue based working groups that cut across traditional workplace committees; to the direct involvement of employees in problem definitions and identification of solutions; and to the use of a concrete and everyday language in describing problems and solutions. Following these conclusions our analysis points to some key points for WEA strategy development and further research.

    AB - How can working environment authorities intervene at workplace level to promote the well-being of employees? This issue is discussed in light of recent developments in the inspection strategies and methodologies of the Danish Working Environment Authority. Well-being at work – or the psychosocial working environment – is gaining ground as an area to be conceptualized and regulated by the authorities. New methods seeking to address this issue have been developed and sought integrated into the overall screening- and inspection programme. Authority interventions concerning the psychosocial working environment have so far received relatively scarce attention from researchers. This paper draws on insights from a literature review of research on working environment regulation, including attempts to regulate the psychosocial working environment, and on empirical research into the social processes concerning inspections at Danish workplaces. Document studies, several case-studies (based on interviews, chronicle workshops, and participant observations), and a survey has been carried out in order to understand the reception and effects of working environment authority interventions at Danish workplaces. The conducted case-studies illustrate a number of challenges for WEA in promoting an improved psychosocial working environment at inspected workplaces. The challenges relate partly to what we have labelled decision dependence – both in workplaces entangled in horizontal decision structures, and in workplaces embedded in vertical, hierarchic decision structures. Furthermore, the psychosocial working environment is per se a difficult object of intervention given the political considerations that demarcate the legitimate area of intervention by WEA, given that the area is not clearly defined and described, and that we still have limited knowledge of how effective improvement processes concerning the psychosocial working environment can actually be achieved. Some of the case-studies are examples of successful improvement processes, and here success seems to have been related to either clear management support for improvements, or a combination of the establishment of issue based working groups that cut across traditional workplace committees; to the direct involvement of employees in problem definitions and identification of solutions; and to the use of a concrete and everyday language in describing problems and solutions. Following these conclusions our analysis points to some key points for WEA strategy development and further research.

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    ER -

    Hansen AM, Starheim L. Working Environment Authority Interventions to Promote Well-Being at work. 2011. Paper presented at 29th International Labour Process Conference, Leeds, United Kingdom.