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09:00-09:30 Session 1: Words of welcome [VIR]
  • Welcome by Dean of Social Science at Aalborg University Rasmus Antoft
  • Reflections on the changing nature of Nordic working life by the Danish Minister of Employment Peter Hummelgaard


Thomas Bredgaard (Aalborg University, Denmark)
09:30-10:30 Session 2: Keynote address: Helge Hvid [VIR]
Stine Rasmussen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Helge Hvid (Roskilde University, Denmark)
Responsible autonomy and Nordic employment relations. Corona and democracy at work [VIR]

ABSTRACT. In the Nordic countries, we have for decades had a productive tension between the ideals of responsible autonomy in working life on the one hand and the Nordic institutionalization of conflicts of interests on the other. This productive tension is however challenged in the current development of management and employment relations. Responsible autonomy develops into individualized self-management and labour relations are taken over by experts. The keynote builds on the recently published book “Work and wellbeing in the Nordic Countries – Critical Perspectives on the World’s Best Working Lives”, edited by Helge Hvid and Eivind Falkum (link: https://www.routledge.com/Work-and-Wellbeing-in-the-Nordic-Countries-Critical-Perspectives-on-the/Hvid-Falkum/p/book/9780815387237). Workplace democracy has been subject to gradual erosion for decades. However, the corona crisis has shown that changes in the organization of work and organizational changes can be implemented quickly and efficiently with a high degree of employee participation. Democratizing work as an issue seems to be re-actualized.

10:30-11:00Coffee break
11:00-12:30 Session 3A: [13] THEMATIC SESSION: No more Colourless working life part II
Pia Houni (University of Tampere, Finland)
Mervi Hasu (University of Oslo, Norway)
Pia Houni (University of Tampere, Finland)
Open words by Mervi Hasu and Pia Houni [VIR]
Louise Møller Pedersen (Aalborg University, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Denmark)
Peter Nielsen (Aalborg University, Department og Poltic and Society, Denmark)
Involvement, autonomy and innovation in Danish firms [VIR]
PRESENTER: Peter Nielsen

ABSTRACT. Background: Workplace innovation is a basic phenomenon in Scandinavian working life and necessary for the companies to meet changing external and internal demands. From an employee perspective, taking part in innovation processes can be necessary to handle the pressure for increased effectiveness and/or a way to create new opportunities in working life. Workplace innovations vary in their depth and magnitude and how much they affect the employees working life. Theoretically, the Scandinavian management style with focus on dialogue and high trust provide good conditions for employees’ innovative behavior. However, studies reveal that the managers’ ability to involve and engage the employees in the innovation processes varies as well as how the employees’ autonomy and problem solving competences are used. Hence, there is a need for more systematic knowledge regarding the relation between employees’ involvement, autonomy and innovative behavior cross branches, workplace sizes and positions. Moreover, how tight deadlines and possibilities for learning influence these processes. Objective: The aim of this paper is to explore the relation between employees’ involvement/autonomy and innovative behavior for employees within different branches and positions. An analytical distinction is drawn between individual and team based involvement, respectively. Theories of relative autonomy, Knudsens et al. theory of (in)direct participation and Wengers theory of communities of work form the theoretical framework of the analysis. Methods: The empirical foundation for this analysis is from the Danish Meadow survey focusing on workplaces with more than 25 employees from two public (public health service and public teaching) and four private branches (building and construction, business service and financing, industry and trade) http://www.meadow-project.eu/. Data was collected in spring 2012 and resulted in a research sample of 3.362 employees from 630 workplaces (response rate 37,2%). In the analysis, results from the private and public branches and cross work place size are compared. Results: Most research finds a positive correlation between involvement and innovation. Based on logistic regression models this study provides new insights in effects of individual as well as team involvement and –autonomy on innovation. Moreover, the study shows how tight deadlines and possibilities for learning influence the effects in opposite directions. To explore these findings further in depth case studies are needed.

Mervi Hasu (University of Oslo, Norway)
Jungles or gardens in public servants’ work? Agentic discursive resources of employees in the Nordic welfare states [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Ten years ago I started to research renewal of public services within the framework of innovation studies. Before that, I had studied renewal in industry for ten years. In both contexts, my ethnographer gaze has been targeted to the grass-roots, bottom up initiatives of people. In my experience, studying ‘public’ and ‘grass-roots’ has been undervalued. Yet, many seem to expect that the current challenges caused by the global capitalist economy (the ‘private’) can be resolved by ‘the public’, that is, by civil society, public institutions and, in most part, by public servants. In this paper I ask what characterizes the agentic space of public servants in which they take action. In the field of art, creative people are increasingly crossing boundaries of cultures, languages, religions, gender and identities. Organizational obligations and hierarchies do not matter to them. In the current digital era, forefront expert work in globally operating companies and start-up firms also rely increasingly on culturally and geographically unbounded non-hierarchical organizing and individual agency in creation of novelty. Professionals are branding their worklives and presenting their identities in social media as creative, proactive, mindful and passionate. But where does the production of public good and local work in public services stands in this landscape? Margaret Stout (2013), in her study of legitimacy in decision-making, identifies three ideal types among public administration traditions, each granting legitimacy to different parties - elected officials, administrators, or citizen. The first ideal type, the constitutional tradition, views public servants as bureaucrats accountable to the political system that ensures democratic legitimacy (Stout, 2013). The second ideal type, discretionary tradition, views public servants as entrepreneurs responsible for good outcomes (Stout, 2013). The third ideal type in Stout’s (2013) categorization, the collaborative tradition, describes public servants as stewards responsive to the citizenry impacted by their actions. Although Stout’s categorization provides a useful summary of how public sector discourses may treat employee agency, as ideal types these categorizations escape the complexity of the public sector work. Employees in many grassroots level care services are seeking new jobs, and even expert workers such as teachers and social workers are quitting their jobs. This raises the question of agency. What is the agency -forming ‘space’ of public servants, introducing ideas for legitimizing work role and agency related to it? What kind of discursive resources are available, and where do they come from? Political, organizational, technological and citizen-related changes in the public sector form a hybrid space in which various discursive resources become available for professionals, potentially enhancing or hampering their agency. Using Stout’s (2013) work as a starting point, this paper aims at furthering conceptual understanding of agency in public sector work from the point of view of discursive resources.

Markus Arvidson (Karlstad University, Sweden)
Jonas Axelsson (Karlstad University, Sweden)
Work as loyalty? Playfully theorizing two concepts [VIR]
PRESENTER: Markus Arvidson

ABSTRACT. In this presentation we playfully theorizing the concepts of work and loyalty. It is not unusual to see these concepts related to each other in different ways – loyalty in the workplace and in organizations is a well known phenomenon. But here we intend to take one step further: we explore the possibilities for treating work and loyalty as synonymous. In our previous research we have defined loyalty as a ”binding to something specific”. This binding can exist in many different forms - for example in negative form (as absence of disloyalty), and in positive form (loyalty in form of presence – as emotions and commitment). We have identified six forms of positive loyalty. Vertical-involuntary loyalty, vertical-voluntary, horizontal-involuntary, horizontal-voluntary. Among the positive loyalty forms we also find two forms of self-loyalty – voluntary and involuntary. In our playful theorizing with the two concepts we look for interesting etymological similarities between the words and concepts. One similarity concerns ”legal” aspects of both concepts. Loyalty has roots in the french word ”loi”, and in some definitions of ”work” there is a notion of work as ”legal fulfilment”. In our playful way of theorizing we continue our effort to practice a ”conceptual archaeology” and thereby use some older nearly forgotten research about both work and loyalty. But we also make some important connections to new research. Methodologically we are inspired by Richard Swedberg´s approach of theorizing. Also Karlsson and Bergman´s ideas about the importance of theorizing have influenced us.

Pia Houni (University of Tampere, Finland)
Mervi Hasu (University of Oslo, Norway)
Conclusion & discussion
11:00-12:30 Session 3B: [3] TEMATIC SESSION: The Nordic way, is it under threat or still going strong? The Nordic model and work-life in the Nordic region, seen from whistleblowing research
  • Welcome & introduction, 5 min (chairs)
  • Three presentations (10 min. each followed by 10 min. of discussion)
  • Outro and concluding reflections (chairs)


Brita Bjørkelo (Norwegian Police University College, Norway)
Erik Mygind du Plessis (CBS, Deparment of Managment, Politics and Society, Denmark)
Brita Bjørkelo (Norwegian Police University College, Norway)
Erik Mygind du Plessis (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark)
Welcome & introduction
PRESENTER: Brita Bjørkelo
Kristin Lebesby (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway)
Jos Benders (CESO, KU Leuven, Belgium)
Too smart to participate?; Rational reasons for withholding participation in organization development [VIR]
PRESENTER: Kristin Lebesby

ABSTRACT. Academics and practitioners in Organizational development and action research promote employee participation as positive and seem to take for granted that employees are eager to take part in organizational change projects. In order to cope with increasingly complex challenges, organizations encourage employee participation in decision-making processes with hopes of enhancing productivity, creativity and competitiveness. Action researchers often promote different forms of knowledge, bringing together action, reflection, theory and practice, in order to reach a better understanding of the prevailing issues, and thus ways of coping with them.

In a large-scale organizational development project in a Norwegian public organization, the action researchers involved left from this optimistic view. By involving management, unions and employees in a development project, the organization hoped to strengthen their collective learning, knowledge sharing and internalization of new competences. Over time, they found that many employees were actually reluctant to participate and often kept silent. This led to follow-up research into the reasons employees gave for their silence. In the process of understanding the lack of participation, we found that some employees had rational reasons for staying silent in a participative greater ‘whole’. The paper outlines three different rationales for non-participation, and discusses the consequences for action research.

Anne Oline Haugen (Inland Norway University, Norway)
Åse Storhaug Hole (Inland Norway University, Norway)
Changes in Norwegian Whistleblowing Legislation – what do the changes mean for developing a climate supportive of whistleblowing and learning? [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Changes in Norwegian Whistleblowing Legislation – what do the changes mean for developing a climate supportive of whistleblowing and learning?

Managers have obligations due to whistleblowing legislation. Today there are a number of guidelines and policy documents concerning whistleblowing produced by authoritative bodies in several countries. The Council of Europe has also adopted guidelines that describe good management practice. Recently, the Norwegian Government presented a new proposal for Norwegian legislation (NOU 2018: 6) about whistleblowing. One reason for developing this proposal is that studies show that a great number of employees do not blow the whistle because they fear the consequences. The proposal states that the value of whistleblowing is at its greatest when the whistleblowing is taken seriously, the whistleblower is protected from retaliation, and investigation of possible censurable conditions starts immediately (NOU 2018:6, p. 13There are suggestions in the proposal about how to develop an organizational climate supporting whistleblowing. The Norwegian government recently followed up the NOU 2018:6 with a proposition; Prop. L 74 (2018–2019). The legislative changes apply from January 1st 2020. Although the proposition emphasizes the importance of developing a climate supporting whistleblowing, and to learn from whistleblowing processes, there are no suggestions of clarifying this in the proposition. The Nordic model emphasizes the importance of cooperation, involvement and freedom of speech for all employees. The model builds on formal cooperation thorough employee representatives, and informal involvement of all employees in decision-making processes. It is interesting to shed light on what obligations and consequences the new proposition will mean for both formal and informal cooperation at the workplace. This article aims to describe the most important clarifications in the legislation, and discuss to what extent the clarifications will strengthen the protection of the whistleblower. Additionally we will look into the suggestions in the proposal NOU 2018:6 that the Parliament decided not to follow. Of particular interest are several suggestions about a new organizational approach to how to make the whistleblowing legislation function after its intentions (NOU 2018:6). We will examine what arguments were used for not deciding organizational changes. As a part of this we will look into how and if regulations and rules help developing a voice climate in organizations. Further, we will look into the discussion about learning and communication both in the proposal and the proposition. This discussion does not mention what kind of learning that is important, and what to achieve through learning and organizational communication, and we will give this topic special attention as well. Last, but not least, we will discuss to what extend the new legislation can increase the protection for the whistleblower, and if the legislation can contribute to an increase in employees’ whistleblowing intentions and actual whistleblowing.

Brita Bjørkelo (Norwegian Police University College, Norway)
Birthe Eriksen (BI Norwegian Business School, Norway)
Leaders and managers role in whistleblowing: Seen from psychology and law [VIR]
PRESENTER: Brita Bjørkelo

ABSTRACT. The Nordic model is commonly described by an “an institutionalized power base that gives trade union representatives and safety representatives access to resources by virtue of their roles” (Skivenes & Trygstad, 2017, p. 171). The Norwegian whistleblowing legislation, chapter 2A in The Work Environment Act (WEA, see e.g., Lewis & Trygstad, 2009) states that a report about wrongdoing that is made through internal whistleblowing procedures is legally justifiable (§ 2A-1), and as such, employees are to be protected against retaliation (§ 2A-2). In 2016, members of Parliament appointed an expert committee to evaluate the present legislation and the system that is supposed to secure whistleblowing in general as well as protection against retaliation and later workplace bullying (NOU 2018: 6, 2018). The committee argued for the need to clarify both the law and the regulations, as well as improving the knowledge about them (Kvam, 2018). As a result, strengthened legal amendments were put in place by a vote in the parliament on the 5th of June 2019, which will take effect from the 1st of January 2020. However, despite strong legal regulation, empirical studies have repeatedly shown that Norwegian employees that report wrongdoing at work are more likely to be harassed and bullied than other employees (Bjørkelo & Bye, 2019; Bjørkelo, Einarsen, Nielsen, & Matthiesen, 2011; Bjørkelo, Matthiesen, & Nielsen, 2018). Further, few employees have successfully taken their case to trial, and won (Eriksen & Bjørkelo, 2014). The reception and handling of critical information about alleged wrongdoing, places great demands in the hands of employers and managers. This applies both with regard to ensuring a sound investigation of the allegedly defamatory conditions (wrongdoing), and with regard to safeguarding the whistleblower and other parties involved. This presentation discusses the role of employers, leaders and managers in the Nordic model, when it comes to whistleblowing at work, as seen from psychology and law.

Erik Mygind du Plessis (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark)
Brita Bjørkelo (Norwegian Police University College, Norway)
Outro and concluding reflections
11:00-12:30 Session 3C: [9] THEMATIC SESSION: Are Nordic labour markets inclusive for persons with disabilities?
Frederik Thuesen (VIVE - The Danish Center for Social Science Research, Denmark)
Kaja Larsen Østerud (Norwegian Social Research, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway)
Disability disclosure in a hiring setting – the employer perspective [VIR]
DISCUSSANT: Jeffrey Moore

ABSTRACT. For disabled job seekers, the decision of if, when and how to disclose a disability presents a challenge with few straightforward answers. Previous literature on disability disclosure has mainly focused on the disabled job seeker’s perspective, demonstrating how it is a complex and contextual issue fraught with tensions and competing interests. The employer perspective is less researched, even though their expectations towards what constitutes a favorable disclosure process is important to elucidate what disabled job seekers can expect. This article seeks to address this gap by investigating 32 employer interviews, focusing on their preferences when it comes to disclosure, utilizing the theoretical lens of stigma management and impression management. The point of departure is two field experiments, in which the interviewed employers has been subjected to in advance. The field experiments, examining how disclosure of either a mobility impairment or a history of mental health problems impacts callback ratios, provide a behavioral component adding to the information gained in the interviews. The analysis reveals that there are differences in how early wheelchair users and people with mental health problems are expected to disclose, with early disclosure favored for the former. In addition, the employers favor applicants who can present a positive disability story, such as a story of overcoming or a supercrip narrative. They favor assertive impression management techniques and covering in order to present the impression that the disability plays a minimal role. The expectations are impacted by the employers’ conceptions of disability, with employers with a more relational as opposed to a medical view are more open to negotiate terms of employment.

Frederike Scholz (Hasselt University, Belgium)
Artificial Intelligence and the recruitment and selection process: A case of subtle discrimination towards disabled jobseekers [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Despite the growing use of online recruitment, where employers engage in the use of the Internet to attract and recruit potential talent for their organisations, current organisational and management literature has neglected the reactions of job applicants to web-based recruitment and selection practices from an equality perspective, in particular the voices and experiences of disabled jobseekers. A previous UK-based study by Scholz (2017) demonstrates that implicit ableist norms of the ideal worker can have a significant, although often unintended, impact on the design of recruitment and selection practices and produce disability inequality in organisations.

This paper draws on this conceptual lens of the previous study (Scholz, 2017) to review the growing but still scarce literature on Artificial Intelligence (AI) recruitment and how it has influenced the way applicants are matched to the organisation and the job. AI are cognitive systems that are trained by historical data sets to make selection decisions (Fleck, 2016; Bolton, 2017, Van Esch et al. 2019). These systems can help narrow down the number of job applications with help of screening tools or online assessments, and employers can make use of one-way video interviews, that analyse the applicants facial expression, their gestures, whether they make eye contact, their body language, but also the choice of words used and the speed of speaking. This raises several ethical and privacy concerns in that employers might use personal information to catalogue job candidates further and that this can lead to discrimination during job screening (Lee, 2019; Van Esch et al. 2019).

The aim of this paper seeks to identify in what way these AI systems used in recruitment impact on disabled jobseekers before considering the employer perspective in the utility and risks of AI. This review is vital to identifying current theoretical and empirical gaps within the organisational and management studies literature and to demonstrate in what way future empirical research can contribute to this debate.

Susan Doughty (Anderson University, United States)
Jeffrey Moore (Anderson University, United States)
Understanding inclusive organizations through ecological systems theory [VIR]
PRESENTER: Susan Doughty
DISCUSSANT: Irmgard Borghouts

ABSTRACT. Current research in the area of understanding the dynamic of hiring people with disabilities is gaining momentum as communities and governments are intentionally seeking to create new avenues for employment to all of its citizens. For over 6 years, our team has worked in Walgreens and Sephora USA to understand the transformational dynamic of these inclusive teams. Previous research has looked into developing models of requisite inclusive management style, dynamics of inclusive teams, as well as inclusive onboarding strategies (Transitional Work Group). In studying these organizations we shift focus to look at the macro system of an inclusive organization. In order to accomplish this we use Ecological Systems Theory as a lens by which to analyze inclusive organizations to determine the interactions between inclusive teams, departments, plant location and the corporation.

First introduced in the 1970s, Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory proposed that in order to truly understand an individual’s growth and development, it was vital to examine the contexts and relationships in which they were embedded. This model imagines the individual at the center of a series of concentric systems, the influence of which grows stronger as you approach the center.

Here, we apply Bronfenbrenner’s model to the world of business and inclusion—with an inclusive team, rather than an individual, as its hub. This approach allows for the examination of an inclusion model in a systemic way—taking into account the many levels of influence and coordination that are required for successful implementation of an inclusive workplace. Using examples from real-world inclusion initiatives, we explore the ways in which Ecological Systems Theory can be used to better understand and effectively address the challenges faced by companies eager to implement inclusive hiring practices.

Jeffrey Moore (Anderson University, United States)
Charissa Freese (Tilburg University, Netherlands)
Thomas Bredgaard (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Irmgard Borghouts (Tilburg University, Netherlands)
Perspectives in inclusive workplaces: A cross-cultural study of necessary conditions for successful creation of teams with employees with disabilities [VIR]
DISCUSSANT: Frederike Scholz

ABSTRACT. We compare four case studies who have successfully created inclusive teams for persons with disabilities. These four are Walgreens, a drug store chain in the United States, Sephora, part of a luxury goods group, a large organization in the South of the Netherlands, and Grundfos in Denmark who recruit for employment individuals with disabilities, cognitive or physical limitations. Using the case study approach, we compare the American, Dutch and Danish models to identify similarities and differences in leadership styles and team member skills that lead to successful inclusive teams. Our findings highlight the enablers and disablers of inclusion, as well as, factors of recruitment, team impact and performance. We also describe the challenges faced by inclusive teams, using the complexity leadership model to explain how managers enable conditions needed for group success. Instead of using a top-down autocratic leadership style, managers seek to share power with the team, raise up informal leaders and share problem-solving and decision making.

11:00-12:30 Session 3D: [4] THEMATIC SESSION: Evaluation of Working Life Interventions and Labour Market Policies
Simo Aho (Tampere university, Finland)
Rasmus Ravn (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Kristian Nielsen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Stephan Heblich (University of Toronto, Canada)
The effects of entrepreneurship education on occupational choices: Results from a quasi-experiment [VIR]
PRESENTER: Kristian Nielsen

ABSTRACT. Entrepreneurship in the form of new venture creation is important in advanced and innovation-driven economies: the dynamics of firm entry and exit foster competition, positively affecting innovation, productivity, and job creation. In recognizing the importance of entrepreneurship in these economies, several policies have been initiated to foster entrepreneurship, including those focused on training and education. Nevertheless, few empirical studies investigate the expected positive effects of entrepreneurship education on realized startups, but instead focus on entrepreneurial intention or self-efficacy. In addition, only a few studies accommodate the two potential selections that might overestimate a positive effect: individuals predisposed towards entrepreneurship are more likely to demand this training, while educational institutions in entrepreneurial regions are more likely to supply it. We utilize a quasi-experiment (a change applied to the upper secondary school system) and difference-in-differences strategies with fixed effects to isolate the causal effects of entrepreneurship education on new venture formation (i.e., direct effects). With the change, entrepreneurship and related topics such as innovation and creativity were implemented in the curriculum in two out of the three school types within the upper secondary school system. The treated school types were technical schools and business schools, while the main focus in the general schools was to strengthen natural sciences. Thus, cohorts graduating from the specialized schools before (2005–2007) and after (2008–2010) the reorganization are used as the treatment group in a difference-in-difference setup, with graduates from the general schools (2005–2010) being the control group after balancing the two samples. Furthermore, our research expands upon existing research by exploring whether postgraduation choices within the labor and education market also influence the probability of forming a startup (i.e., indirect effects). We find both direct and indirect positive effects of entrepreneurship education on startups, which are equally present for graduates predisposed towards entrepreneurship.

Simo Aho (Tampere university, Finland)
Impact evaluation of activation and chains of various services for least employable job-seekers [VIR]
DISCUSSANT: Henning Jørgensen

ABSTRACT. Usually evaluations of various activation measures are designed so, that later employment perfor-mance of participants in a certain type(s) of ALMP is compared with that of control group that did not participate in similar ALMP during the period of interest. However, not all measures aim at immediate employment, but are meant to achieve a step forward along a path of various services and actions leading to finding sustainable employment. Repetitive participation in ALMP is very common at least in Finland.

In evaluation studies, activation measures designed or targeted for long-term unemployed or those who have obstacles to employment such as low education or social or health problems etc. often show low or no average net increase of later employment of participants. We claim that this is partially due to the fact, that evaluations typically cannot identify and measure reaching of intermediate goals along the path to open market employment. As well, evaluations typically are not able to grasp paths or combinations of different services, including e.g. coaching, training, health care services, wage subsi-dies etc., and cannot show the “end results” of such service and activation chains. Conventional eval-uation designs cannot measure catalytic validity (Stiles 1993) of services.

We describe how we are developing methodology to identify service chains and reaching of interme-diate steps on the path to employment, and measure various impacts (and side-effects) of repetitive participation in ALMP. This kind of tools could significantly improve the evaluation capacity of ser-vice providers, useful for developing accurate need assessment of customers, targeting of services, and designing successful paths to sustainable employment for different target groups.

Lancine Eric Diop (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Anna Diop-Christensen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Economic incentives and social inequality: The impact of two early retirement reform on retirement decisions in Denmark [VIR]

ABSTRACT. The European countries are facing challenges related to the ageing of populations. Consequently and during the last decades, policy makers across Europe have implemented measures - including economic incentives -, which aim at retaining workers in the labour force as late as possible. A rather extensive literature shows that economic incentives indeed delay (early) retirement. However, the largely unanswered question central to the current study is: To which extent do various groups respond differently to changes in economic incentives in the early retirement scheme and what are the consequences for inequality and social stratification? Concretely and using Denmark as a case study, we evaluate the impact of two early retirement reforms (1998 and 2011) on the transitions to retirement, comparing the effect for various socioeconomic/demographic groups using a Difference-In-Difference design on Danish Administrative data. We expect that groups with poor health and marginal attachment to the labour market will be relatively less affected by the increasing economic incentives resulting from the reforms.

11:00-12:30 Session 3E: [20] THEMATIC SESSION: New Technologies, professions and professionalism
Annette Kamp (Roskilde University, Department for People and Technology, Denmark)
Jesper Petersson (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Christel Backman (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Patients’ online access to their medical records and the invisibility work of doctors as a strategy to retain professional control [VIR]
PRESENTER: Jesper Petersson

ABSTRACT. In this paper, we draw on Michael Lipsky’s (1980) work around discretion to analyze a real case setting comprising an interview study with 30 Swedish physicians regarding how they experience changes in clinical work by the fact that patients are now given access to medical record notes online. By the notion of invisibility work, we point to how physicians advance discretionary actions to preserve invisibility to their work. We discuss three identified main ways for performing invisibility work in relation to the record: omitting information; covert writing; and parallel note writing. We argue that invisibility work is a way to resolve professional tensions emerging from the political decision to provide patients online access to medical record information as it assist in making doctors’ daily work proceed and simultaneously advance the integration of a new formal system for patients’ access record information.

Hanna Marie Ihlebæk (Østfold University College, Norway)
Camilla Gjellebæk (Østfold University College, Norway)
Digitalisation and professional work in healthcare: technology, knowledge and learning [VIR]
DISCUSSANT: Claus Bossen

ABSTRACT. In this paper, we explore the different ways in which health innovative technologies affect the work of health professionals, by investigating how it both challenges existing ways of knowing and provokes a need for new types of knowledge, not previously or overtly defined within a profession’s jurisdictional domain. Drawing on existing dichotomies in the conceptualisation of technology, knowledge and learning the paper discuss how particular understandings and applications of these concepts can be essential to a successful outcome of local initiatives to improve health by technological means. The theoretical arguments made will be illustrated by findings from two separate empirical studies in a Norwegian context. One study among professionals in the municipal healthcare services, exploring drivers and obstacles when implementing eHealth technology and new ways of providing care. Another study investigating the problems and promises of the use of technological solutions among nurses working at a hospital cancer ward.  

The aim with the present paper is to illuminate how the alignment of expected benefits and actual outcomes of increased digitalisations depends on a dynamic perspective on technology, a broad understanding of knowledge and a situated apprehension of learning. Furthermore, it depends on the ability for organisations and professionals alike to accommodate for and adapt to change in itself implying new ways of understanding and performing work. Crucial to these adaptation processes is the facilitation of a working environment where learning is an integral part of doing. This further involves a transformation from the unbalanced reliance on formal acquisition processes to a greater emphasis on participatory learning, when facilitating for the future working life. Finally, the paper argues that if such learning affordances is not facilitated for, digitalisation in healthcare institutions has the potential of rendering certain types of work and knowledge invisible, with consequences for the continued and increased quality in patient care.      

Pernille Bertelsen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Claus Bossen (Aarhus University, Denmark)
Digitization of healthcare and Medical Secretaries in Denmark [VIR]
PRESENTER: Claus Bossen
DISCUSSANT: Bjarne Pareliussen

ABSTRACT. The relationship between medical secretaries and new technology has for decades attracted attention in national Danish newspapers as well as internally in their professional organization. The latest debates have followed the implementation of the American EPIC based Electronic Heath Record (EHR), in Denmark called ‘Sundhedsplatformen’, from 2016, in two of the country’s five Regions. Very little research has been done on the work of medical secretaries compared to research in physicians and nurses, which may be due to their smaller number, but perhaps also that they together with other administrative staff are relatively invisible to outsiders (Wichroski, 1994; Truss et al 2012). The profession and work tasks of medical secretaries in Denmark is very different from e.g. USA. Since their emergence in the 1930s as the 'physician’s secretary', medical secretaries in Denmark have adapted to various changes in technologies and hospital management systems: Electric typewriters, paper-based records, Dictaphones and, most recently, EHRs and speech recognition are technologies that have changed their work. The medical secretaries are at the center of the digitization processes, because digitization partly changes their working tools - e.g. from paper to electronic patient records - and partly change their work processes. Digitization of health care through the rapid exchange, storage and search of information supports the centralization of healthcare organizations with highly specialized departments and complicated collaborations that have been ongoing for decades and most recently in Denmark has resulted in so-called ‘super hospitals’ (Vallgårda 1992, Ankjær-Jensen 2005, Jespersen 2005).

The paper examines the last decades of intensive digitization of health care, and what impact it has had for the professional work of the medical secretaries in Danish hospitals. We do so in order to understand the impact and whether or not the medical secretaries as a profession continue to have a future in the Danish health sector. More generally, our empirical study helps to elucidate how digitalization is changing and shaping healthcare professions and the discussion of how digitalization is not driven solely by technological possibilities, but also is shaped by the work tasks these technologies affect. We provide examples of how digitalization creates a need for new boundaries between health care professionals in hospitals, when complex EHR systems become part of daily practice.

The empirical data is based on interviews with medical secretaries, senior medical secretaries and their managers at four hospitals in Denmark in 4 different regions. The data is based on 12 semi-structured interviews and 28 hours observation.

11:00-12:30 Session 3F: [7] THEMATIC SESSION: Technological change, digitalization, and quality of work
Tomas Berglund (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Anna Marie Lassen (University College North Denmark (UCN), Denmark)
Pernille Bertelsen (Aalborg University (AAU), Denmark)
Translation of work routines and professional tools - Online communication technology in home care psychiatry [VIR]

ABSTRACT. This abstract explores how online communication affects home care support employees in their daily work in home care psychiatry. Through an ethnographic field study, the abstract sets out to investigate the work practices of healthcare professionals and social workers employed in social psychiatry in 3 Danish Municipalities. It explores professionals’ ability to understand and negotiate change of practice during the implementation process (Lassen, 2019). Building upon the empirical findings, the abstract argues that the incorporation of online communication technology, which allows employees to communicate and provide services at a distance, challenges and transforms employees’ work routines. Unnoticed, the new technology has slipped into professional work and changed work practices. Online home care, therefore, challenges the understanding of technology as a neutral player in municipal health and social care practice. This abstract shows how technology is transforming the context in which it is used, and that it is not always possible to predict these transformations in relation to employees' work routines. In conclusion and to provide a perspective, it is, therefore, stressed that Danish municipalities must pay significantly more attention to the practices in which the welfare technology will be used. Practices should be identified and the impact of technology on these practices analyzed and discussed with employees to gain a professional assessment of the advantages of the technology in relation to the ‘big picture’.

Tuomo Alasoini (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Coping with the dual challenge: the work of bank employees in upheaval [VIR]

ABSTRACT. A new phase of “intelligent” automation is advancing fast in data-intensive industries, such as banking and insurance, media and communication and many professional services. Especially the banking sector in Europe has been in a constant state of flux since the financial crisis of 2007-08, owing to a dual challenge caused by digitalization and stricter regulatory framework. This dual challenge manifest itself as renewals in business models, ways of service provision and organizational systems of European banks, modifications in industrial relations and changes in employees’ job contents.

Stricter regulations concerning the provision of financial services has brought new responsibilities for workers. They include increased documentation of interactions with customers, increased information given to customers when selling financial products or providing financial advice, and increased collection of information on customers. The new regulatory framework has been primarily designed from the point of view of reinforcing consumers’ and investors’ rights and protection and the overall confidence in the reliability of the financial system without paying much attention to the effects of the new requirements on the work of banking employees.

This paper examines changes in the Finnish banking industry caused by digitalization and introduction of the MiFID II Directive (Markets in the Financial Instruments Directive II) and the impact of these changes on work, with an eye on different aspects of job quality. The paper analyses the impacts on work of bank employees from the point of view of both physical and psychosocial health and safety risks as well as new opportunities for workers. The starting hypothesis is that the technological and regulatory changes in work has brought about increased work load and mental stress for workers, while at the same time they have created needs for new skills and competences and learning opportunities at work. An important question regarding the overall job quality is the relative importance of these two potential lines of development. The paper looks also at other kinds of changes at work, concerning, for example, work-life balance, social relations at work and the growing digitization of communication.

The empirical material is based on semi-structured interviews of actors in the Finnish banking industry. The about 20 interviews comprise trade union officials, shop stewards, HR managers and bank employees working in sales and advice. The study is conducted as part of a larger EU-funded research project with research and trade union partners from nine EU member states.

Bertil Rolandsson (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Tuomo Alasoini (Tampere University, Finland)
Jon Erik Dölvik (FAFO, Norway)
Anna Hedenus (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Anna Ilsoe (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
Trine Pernille Larsen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
Johan Roed Steen (FAFO, Norway)
Framing the digital evolution – technological investment and change in Nordic manufacturing [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Based on 40 qualitative interviews, conducted in seven different machine industry companies, located in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, this paper explores how technological changes framed as Industry 4.0 are affecting the pattern of jobs, skills, and work organization. The study focus on changes in the work of blue-collar workers, their skills, responsibilities, voice, and interaction with the unions and other employee groups, notably the engineers. Several strands of research, drawing on hypothesis such as skill-biased technological change or routine-biased technological change, scrutinize how digitalization of work transforms the labour market. By assuming that digital technologies possess a specific capacity to rationalize work in one way or the other, these studies sketch broader pictures of continuous technological change. In many cases, they tend to point at a process fostering upgradation of work. In other cases, technology displaces semi-skilled occupations, engaged with routine tasks, and fosters an increasingly polarized labour market. Most studies nevertheless draw on the assumption that digital technology shapes work primarily by conducting task and by replacing human labour in one way or the other. This paper nevertheless recognize that these studies rarely investigate the effects digital technology actually brings about in companies that have digitalized their production. Digitalization becomes a black-boxed cause to changing patterns on the labour market. Thus, we need more knowledge about what these new digital technologies do in practice. By drawing on the concept technological frame this study aims to unpack this black box and scrutinize how a set of managers and union representatives conceptualize digitalization in action.

13:30-14:30 Session 4: Keynote address: Cathie Jo Martin [VIR]
Thomas Bredgaard (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Cathie Jo Martin (Boston University, United States)
Same as it ever was? The Cultural Constraint on the Nordic Working Life Model [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Industrial relations systems are under pressure in the post-industrial world and scholars disagree over the future of coordinated capitalism. Both optimistic and pessimistic views miss an important fact: very different types of economies have high levels of coordination in their industrial relations systems. Thus, we must understand both why coordination develops under such diverse economic conditions, and why it persists (or is reinvented) at successive critical junctures. Cathie Jo Martin suggest that cultural conceptions of labor, coordination, skills and the state shaped the evolution of corporatist and pluralist forms of industrial relations. Applying computational text analyses to large corpora of literature in Britain, Denmark and Sweden, she demonstrate the similarities in cultural memes among coordinated countries and their differences with liberal countries dating back to 1700. Writers of fiction become involved in political struggles and their stories influence the preferences of other political actors. Most importantly, these writers act as purveyors of symbols and narratives that they inherit from past cultural works. Cultural touchstones - the cultural constraint - influences the framing of social problems, the construction of social class, and the processes of institutional renewal. This research has implications for the future of the Nordic model. Coordinated industrial relations were historically grounded in a commitment to social investment and a belief that all must contribute to the collective economy and society. Yet neoliberalism is eroding the Nordic formula for growth and social solidarity, and right-wing populism is capitalizing on the forgotten truths of the Nordic model.

14:30-15:00Coffee break
15:00-17:00 Session 5A: [13] THEMATIC SESSION: No more Colourless working life part II
Mervi Hasu (University of Oslo, Norway)
Pia Houni (University of Tampere, Finland)
Creative knowledge and quality of working life [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Martha Nussbaum (2011) has articulated ten basic capabilities for good human life in a democratic society. These capabilities are all basic needs, opportunities, human rights and should be available for all. These ten principles cover one’s life from birth to death, and perhaps for this reason we are not used to connecting these principles to working life. But they are not irrelevant from working life. The working career is longer for my generation than it was for the previous generation (in Finland). Approximately, the retirement age is at 63 years old, but for my generation this might be close to 70 years. I, like many others, have started working life as a teenage summer worker, and a little later combining University studies and work to get some extra money. Very soon after this experience we started working seriously in the professional field. A shorter view on this lifelong perspective easily opens a question about the quality of working life. Definitely it is not irrelevant what we do, where we do it and in what way environment and people around us treat us. All these amount to how our capabilities can be best used and flourish. From many researches we know how important well-being at work is. It is easy to be convinced of this by the economical result, which despite being relevant, is sometimes easier to see than the immaterial opportunities. In this presentation I will look at some ideas and activities of how to support creative knowledge and immaterial aspects in a working context. In many research data the same characteristics appear. Problems in leadership, changes in the work itself and communication difficulties are a few of these. In this presentation I will highlight the opportunities of art-based action in working life through case study examples.

Eveliina Saari (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Kristiina Korjonen-Kuusipuro (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
Maria Hirvonen (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Jarno Turunen (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Susanna Kalavainen (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Voluntary work for digital surviving of the citizens – source for learning or humble obligation? [VIR]
PRESENTER: Eveliina Saari

ABSTRACT. Digital skills have become new civics for everyone to be able to participate in society and to perform one’s personal duties. For example, the digitalization of the financial sector introduced citizens to the service innovation of the online bank services, which gradually but radically diminished face-to-face service and the number of bank offices and clerks. Currently topical is how digitalization is implemented in services that are not based on simple technical transactions, but that gain their significant value from emphatic encounters between human beings, such as education and social and health care. Finland is currently obliging public services to provide citizens with digital services, which may lead to diminishing face-to-face contact points with civil servants. There are estimated to be one million citizens in Finland who cannot or do not want to use mobile phones or ICT devices. The Ministry of Finance and the Population Register Centre began national-level actions in 2018 to provide citizens with sufficient digital support. Digital support for learning is offered by libraries, service providers, associations (mainly volunteer-based), and adult education centers; and the best regional model for organizing this in a sustainable way is currently being tried out.

We discuss how digital divide among citizens can be resolved and diminished based on voluntary peer learning, which seems to be a common way to provide digital support regionally. We analyze what motivates volunteer workers to provide digital support and how they describe their work engagement. What kind of expertise and knowledge they think they need in the service encounters with citizens? What kind of critical obstacles they face in their digital support encounters? The survey data was collected in five different regions in Finland in autumn 2018 and spring 2019, consisting of 140 volunteers’ replies. Six short interviews of digital supporters were conducted and seven digital support encounters were observed in 2018. Five developmental evaluation workshops were conducted in different regions in autumn 2019, in which the role of volunteer workers as digital support providers was discussed together with regional decisionmakers.

The continuous development and renewal of the digital service platforms, mobile devices and ICT programs set challenges for updating the expertise of the voluntary workers continuously. Sustainable solutions to stay on track in accelerating pace of digitalization is co-developed between decisionmakers and voluntary workers. An intriguing question is how the concerns of the voluntary workers are heard and what kinds of actions will follow. The findings unfold a qualitative, human-centered understanding for the digital divide research, which is not yet analyzed in depth from the perspective of voluntary work.

Sara Lindström (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Heli Ansio (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Reetta Raitoharju (Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland)
Meaningful work, older age and entrepreneurship: Tactics for making work meaningful [VIR]
PRESENTER: Sara Lindström

ABSTRACT. In today’s Nordic countries, older age cohorts are increasingly encouraged towards self-employment as part of the strengthened ideology of active ageing. At the same time, finding meaning in one’s work has developed into a pervasive Western working life discourse.

In this article, we explore the intersection between meaningful work, entrepreneurship and older age. By using qualitative data collected during a development project, we identify tactics for making work meaningful among entrepreneurs aged 55+. Moreover, we focus on how age and entrepreneurship are applied as socially constructed categories in these tactics.

We show that ageing entrepreneurs construct their work as meaningful through tactics that can be categorized into three groups: Tactics of helping others, tactics of self-actualization and tactics of autonomy. We argue that age is so far an overlooked dimension in understanding the dynamics of meaningful work in general and of entrepreneurial work in particular. Moreover, our findings suggest that the identified tactics both reflect and resist current societal developments and institutional strategies for promoting active ageing and entrepreneurship.

Mervi Hasu (University of Oslo, Norway)
Pia Houni (University of Tampere, Finland)
Conclusion & discussion
15:00-17:30 Session 5B: [17] THEMATIC SESSION: Employment trajectories and socio-economic integration among Refugees and Immigrants
Hanne Kavli (FAFO, Norway)
Karen Nielsen Breidahl (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Malin Lindberg (Luleå University of Technology, Sweden)
Cecilia Nahnfeldt (Uppsala University & Research Unit of The Church of Sweden, Sweden)
Johan Hvenmark (Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Sweden)
Social innovation in the civil society working life [VIR]
PRESENTER: Malin Lindberg

ABSTRACT. As a "third sector" in society, besides the public and private sectors, the non-profit sector – also called the civil society – engages people in joint action for shared and common interests in areas such as culture, health, employment, politics etc. Sweden's 250 000 civil society organizations employ 190 000 persons and engages almost 4 million as volunteers. The academic knowledge on the civil society working life is however scarce, in both working life studies, civil society studies and innovation studies. A currently relevant – yet under-studied – concern regards the contribution of civil society organizations to an inclusive and diverse working life. This specifically regards their innovative measures for improved inclusion of disadvantaged and underrepresented groups, enforced by their idealistic aims, civic involvement and democratic procedures. The study therefore aims to advance the knowledge on these social innovations in the civil society, by means of a participatory and practice-oriented case study. The study identifies and analyzes empirical cases of implemented innovations through a dialogue with civil society organizations and stakeholders. All identified cases are studied on a comprehensive level through document studies, while ten cases are studied in more detail through interviews, participatory observations and document studies. The data is systematized and analyzed in regard to the innovations' strategies and practices for tailored and short/long-term work opportunities, work tasks and workplace design, as well as improved diversity in the civil society workforce. Previous studies on working life, civil society, social innovation, gender and diversity inform the analysis. The study thereby contributes to improved know-how among civil society organizations and stakeholders – as well as the academic community – on how to develop, support and study civil society innovation for an inclusive and diverse working life.

Thora H. Christiansen (University of Iceland, Iceland)
Erla S. Kristjánsdóttir (University of Iceland, Iceland)
“I keep pushing the wall” Highly skilled visible minority migrant women’s strategies for success [VIR]

ABSTRACT. ABSTRACT Research focusing on women and positive outcomes such as migrant women’s strategies for career success and contribution in a new country is scarce. Therefore, it is important to examine lived experience from the viewpoint of migrant women who have managed to overcome barriers, achieve career success and attain management positions in a host country labor market. Women’s migration is receiving increased attention, but frequently through the lens of victimization, and thus the professional career outcomes of highly skilled women in a new country are still understudied. Focusing on the Icelandic labor market furthermore provides rich context of advanced gender- and social equality that may or may not extend to migrant women. This phenomenological study focuses on what it is like for highly skilled visible ethnic minority migrant women to hold management positions in Iceland. Twelve interviews were conducted with university educated migrant women who have held management positions and lived in the country for 12 or more years. The interviews were analyzed according to phenomenological methodology that revealed three themes. The first theme indicates that the women experienced intersecting barriers and discrimination due to their gender, ethnicity, nationality and language skills. In predominantly male-dominated sectors they faced harassment and intimidation. The second theme reveals, however, that these women employed various strategies in order to overcome the barriers. The strategies included proactive measures to find supervisors who appreciate diversity, finding creative solutions to the language problem, and connecting with other women. The third theme shows that they were agentic, harnessing their resilience and work ethic to engage with the barriers and outperform the local competition. They worked harder and ensured that they were prepared for anything that could happen. This paper contributes to the migration literature by revealing the agentic efforts and strategies employed by skilled migrant women to overcome labor market barriers. The findings suggest that for skilled migrant women to succeed in the Icelandic labor market takes enormous sacrifice and effort. Furthermore, the migrant women feel that even in a country that consistently ranks at the top for gender equality, it is an added barrier to be a woman and that men devalue them. They also feel that they share this barrier with Icelandic women and that solidarity with other women is a valuable coping strategy.

Anna Diop-Christensen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Institutional Diversity and the Immigrant Wage Gap? A comparison between the German and British experience with statutory minimum wages [VIR]

ABSTRACT. This article exploits the introduction of a sectoral minimum wage in the Ger-man construction industry and the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in the UK to examine the impact of minimum wage reform on the immigrant wage gap in two sectors with a large population of foreign-born workers and varying wage setting environments. Our results suggest that minimum wage reform may help reduce the wage position of the most vulnerable migrant workers in liberal market economies where wage setting arrangements are largely decentralised. However, this impact appears to be confined at the bottom end of the wage distribution with no apparent spill-overeffects higher in the wage distribution.

Karen Nielsen Breidahl (Aalborg University, Denmark)
The active line in a ’suspended state’: Asylum reception in Denmark and Sweden [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Across Western Europe, mass migrations have challenged the capacity of countries to manage the reception of migrants and ensure that those who stay will be prepared for life in their new host societies. Processes of reception are a key part of the asylum system, laying the foundation for future integration and many asylum seekers are waiting for extended periods in reception settings. They live, in effect, in a suspended state, not yet part of the state in which they hope to live, but also not part of the home state that they fled. Yet, relatively little is known about this waiting period. This paper examines more deeply the opportunity structures for engaging in regular employment that asylum seekers are confronted with while waiting on a decision in Sweden and Denmark. Based on the assumption that “everything starts from the beginning” it is argued that it is of crucial importance to understand how so-called ‘pre-integration’ intentions take place on the ground in order to better understand subsequent integration pathways.

The paper is theoretically inspired by street level theory, which recognize how individuals do not directly experience "the state" or its "policies;" rather, it is through everyday interactions in street level organizations (such as asylum centers) that individuals experience the state and its policies. The paper demonstrates the prevalence of a number of contradictions when it comes to fulfil asylum seekers formal right to engage in regular employment in both Sweden and Denmark: What is stated in formal policies is not how policy is ‘made on the ground’.

Thomas Bredgaard (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Rasmus Ravn (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Employer preferences towards recruitment of refugees? A Danish vignette study [VIR]
PRESENTER: Rasmus Ravn

ABSTRACT. In the majority of EU countries, refugees have higher unemployment rates, lower employment rates and are more often in precarious employment compared to native born. In this article, we examine the preferences of Danish employers towards recruitment of jobseekers with a refugee background and test how different ethnic backgrounds impact recruitment preferences. We use a factorial survey experiment (vignette experiment) with descriptions of fictitious job applicants to explore whether a ‘refugee penalty’ exists on the Danish labour market. By manipulating the country of origin of the job applicants, we further explore whether refugees from specific countries (Iraq/Ethiopia/Ukraine) are more disadvantaged in the recruitment process compared to refugees with no country of origin specified. Our main contribution to existing research is the identification of a “refugee penalty” and an additional ethnic penalty for Ethiopian jobseekers. We find that having a refugee background lowers the likelihood of being hired and that refugees with an Ethiopian background are less likely to be hired than a refugee with no country of origin specified (a further ethnic penalty).

15:00-17:00 Session 5C: [9] THEMATIC SESSION: Are Nordic labour markets inclusive for persons with disabilities?
Kaja Larsen Østerud (Norwegian Social Research, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway)
Patrizia Aurich-Beerheide (University of Duisburg, Germany)
Martin Brussing (University of Duisburg, Germany)
A benefit of last resort: How Gatekeeping practices determine access to Incapacity Pension in Germany [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Although Germany, in comparison with other countries, never experienced what has been called a 'disability crisis' (Lindsay/Houston 2013) a number of labour reduction routes used to exist in the 1990s that led to serious problems of a ‘welfare state without work’ (Esping-Andersen 2004). It is against this backdrop that Germany experienced a reform of Incapacity Pension in 2001, a benefit which presumed reduced earnings capacity on grounds of illness or disability. Eligibility rules were tightened considerably as the so called “Berufsschutz” (occupational protection) was abolished: whether or not a person was able to earn an income was no longer assessed in regard to the previous occupation, but was now instead linked to incapacity to work ANY job on the labour market for at least three hours a day. At the same time, rising retirement ages in old-age pension put ‘pressure’ on the Incapacity Pension system due to persons who can no longer work, but who are too young to retire, many of them unemployed and long-term sick. Today persons with a long-term illness or disability undergo a lengthy process of assessment and often have to rely on other types of benefits, before they are granted an Incapacity Pension. The path to receiving an incapacity pension is shaped by different social security systems and each of these systems has different legal competences, different assessment criteria and different assessment practices. As a result of these differences, diverging and sometimes conflicting evaluations between social insurance organisations arise about the question whether an applicant is considered to be able to work and which kind of benefit is appropriate. This paper analyses the structure of these ‘gatekeeping’ processes in two German regions. In contrast to most of previous research about gatekeeping into incapacity pensions, which emphasized the allocation of juridical responsibilities and fiscal restraints, we find that interests, organisational and professional practices play a large role in determining access to Incapacity Pension.

Camilla Lundberg (Work Research Institute/OsloMet, Norway)
Narrating the good stories: How street level bureaucrats foster labour market participation for people with disabilities [VIR]

ABSTRACT. A rich stream of research within the general category of interpretive studies focuses on narrative theory. However, narratives relating to the ‘good stories’ tapping into how street level bureaucrats foster labour market participation is scarcely researched. The narratives analyzed in this paper represent typologies of such “good stories”. Drawing on Maynard-Moody and Mushenos (2003, 2015) take of analyzing stories among street level bureaucrats, and research on organizational narratives (Loseke 2007), I suggest that the good stories may narrate current norms in social policy fields within which activation occur, and provide with an understanding of how bureaucrats see their work role identities. More concrete, I will focus on how policymaking may produce narratives at an institutional level informing organizations or groups, filtered in the interpretative structure through the “good stories” among councilors, job specialists and market coordinators. The research question is: What characterizes the ‘good stories’ that emerge in street level bureaucrat’s storytelling of fostering labour market participation for disabled people, and what are their function?

Empirically, the analysis is based on semi structured focus group interviews (14 group interviews, n = 40) with councilors, job specialists and market coordinators in five Norwegian labour and welfare offices, selected for their possible knowledge and experience of fostering labour market participation for people with disabilities.

Preliminary results suggest a typology of two main narratives. Firstly, the narrative “creating the space”, involving several actors in the pursuit of work, where several actors involved do their utmost, including the street level bureaucrat. Secondly, “countering norms”. This narrative could be read as confronting views of disabled people as lacking in work capacity, and emphasizing positive characteristics in the job pursuit. The focus is on the extraordinary character of the citizen with disability, rather than illness.

The narratives enable street-level bureaucrats to (a) provide a renewed image of how street level bureaucrats ideally should foster labour market participation – and legitimize the welfare state (b) provide with renewed and antidiscriminatory images of disabled job seekers, though overly optimistic, as the stories inhabit images of performing above average for the story to emerge. These insights contribute to new knowledge by adding a unique narrative perspective to existing understanding of how street level bureaucrats work with labour market participation for people with disabilities.

Finn Amby (VIA UC, Denmark)
Lena Kjeldsen (VIA UC, Denmark)
Do you believe in me? -a vignette experiment on caseworkers’ belief in the ability of people with mobility impairments to find jobs

ABSTRACT. There is a substantial difference between the employment rate of people with and without disabilities in many countries, as people with disabilities are underemployed compared to people without disabilities. Despite multiple political strategies and goal formulations, this has been the case for at least the last two decades. Although the vast majorities of job are not mediated through public employment services, people with disabilities are more dependent on the services of the job centers. Hence, the starting point for this paper is the assumption that the employment system and particularly caseworkers can have an impact on whether political goals to get more people with disabilities into employment can be realized. Using a survey-based vignette experiment, the aim of the study is to examine caseworkers’ belief in the ability of people with mobility impairments to find jobs on their own. The results show that caseworkers have lower belief in the ability of people with mobility impairments to find a job on their own than people without disabilities. However, the reason behind this is not obvious – is it a sign of inadvertent discrimination (ableism) from the caseworker or does the results merely reflect caseworkers’ knowledge about the local job market. More important, what does the result mean for jobseekers with mobility impairments?

Helle Holt (VIVE, Denmark)
Different situations, different lack of information - A qualitative study of the experienced barriers in employment of people with physical disability [VIR]
DISCUSSANT: Camilla Lundberg

ABSTRACT. In Denmark as in other countries, people with disability have difficulties achieving employment. Therefore, it is important to understand the lived experiences of people with disability, but only few qualitative studies have been carried out in Denmark. The aim of this study is to gain better understanding of how people with physical disability experience labour market barriers and opportunities of employment.

The qualitative study consists of in-depth interviews with 20 persons with a physically disability. The aim of the study is to gain better understanding of how they themselves conceive labour market barriers and their opportunities for getting an employment. In the interviews the interviewees where asked about their experience with the disability and how they manage life and work. The 20 interviewees were chosen with so much variety as possible. They differ in their disability, education, age, gender and employment. Some of the interviewees are in subsided employment and some does not have an employment. The interviews are collected from May to October 2018.

The preliminary findings of the study show that even though the study is limited to people with physically disability it is obvious that also this group of people are heterogenic. This heterogenic has implications. Firstly, the interviews show that people with physical disability often have more than one disability. Many are for instance struggling with cognitive challenges often connected with their physical impairment. Secondly, the interviews show that it is important to distinguish between persons with an innate disability and persons with a disability gained later in life. People born with a physical disability as for instance CP or muscular dystrophy who never have been in employment have nearly no knowledge about the labour market. Whereas people with a disability gained later in life as for instance sclerosis or arthritis, have work experiences and insight in their own competences. In this paper, the focus will be on people with an innate disability.

Using theories on information lack, network and gender differences the paper will explore: how a lack of informations of the demands of the labour market and a lack of understanding own competences are a cocktail that can make it difficult for people with an innate physically disability to find a satisfactory job if they at all find a job. Strong networks might be a buffer for the information lack but the question is if people with an innate disability have the right network for helping them to understand the labour market. Finally, the paper will explore if there are gender differences in the kind of informations and network respectively women and men have. If a gender difference is found which consequences will it have for women’s and men’s chances for employment.

15:00-17:00 Session 5D: [4] THEMATIC SESSION: Evaluation of Working Life Interventions and Labour Market Policies
Simo Aho (Tampere university, Finland)
Rasmus Ravn (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Henning Jørgensen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
The coming dead of activation as labour market paradigm [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Abstract for paper - Nordic Working Life Conference 2020 Henning Jørgensen, CARMA, Aalborg University

The coming dead of activation as dominant labour market paradigm

During the last 25 years, activation has been established as the most dominant edition of labour market policy – or employment policy as it most often is called – in almost all European countries. Well known elements of this paradigm is conditionalization of economic benefits, use of incentives and sanctions, job search activities, self-responsibility of the individual, and strong New Public Management steering of the street-level organizations. Finally, the activation turn got tangled up with a research program of micro-based statistical analysis and assessment schemes. Data of individuals and their degree of public support is the foundation of investigations and recommendations. Pressure through activation must help turning an unemployed status into a self-supporting one by accepting all kinds of available job in the open labour market on the side of the unemployed person. This activation paradigm will soon come to its end – and with it the scientific research practices now steering many activation programs around Europe. This is not only because of internal contradictions in the paradigm, but also because of the shortcomings of activation to help activate, reorganize and modernize labour market policy in times of structural change and new challenges from climate change, demographic developments, new economic business models, inequality, insecurity, and instability in a number of arrangements. Innovation in policy-making and implementation is in big troubles with activation as a dominant paradigm for this. Research carried out within an activation frame is also unable to direct discussions and decisions about these questions. Activation will fall – and the micro-based research programs as well. Alternatives to the activation approach is already in the making, mostly at local and regional level in different parts of Europe. Denmark is having more municipalities trying experimentally to develop investment-based approaches.Renewal along these lines is also in accordance with some of the recommendations of the EU “social investment”-approach. Other countries have both new social policy and labour market approaches implemented. Macro-based research programs are to be called for too, combining measurement of outcomes to meso-arrangements and micro-motives and behavior.

Christian Uhrenholdt Madsen (TeamArbejdsliv & The National Research Centre for Working Environment Research, Denmark)
Johnny Dyreborg (The National Research Centre for Working Environment Research, Denmark)
Peter Hasle (Department of Technology and Innovation, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark)
Line Leonhardt Laursen (The National Research Centre for Working Environment Research, Denmark)
Certified occupational health and safety management - Assessment or improvement? [VIR]
DISCUSSANT: Kristian Nielsen

ABSTRACT. In the last decades, Certified occupational health and safety management systems (COHSMS) have played an important role in the Danish health and safety regulation. Changing governments have promoted the use of management systems through several incentivizing structures. COHSMS is the collective name for several related audited processes and policies aimed both at evaluating and improving health and safety performance across workplaces. Company compliance is secured through mandatory external audits that are carried out by certifying agencies, and through internal audits carried out by company actors. Through COHSMS, it is argued by providers of standards, companies can secure compliance with legal requirements across their extended organizations as well as integrate health and safety into the operational tasks of their companies. Most studies into the effectiveness of COHSMS have primarily used either qualitative case studies to investigate the inner workings of a COHSMS in one company, or larger cross-sectional studies of the differences in accidents and sickness absence between certified and non-certified companies. However, it is simply not possible through either of these methods alone to establish whether COHSMS are effective as either evaluation tools or as OHS-interventions. Neither can adequately describe whether an adoption of COHSMS companies are affecting the OHS activities of the adoptee. Furthermore, researchers of safety and risk management have pointed out, the performative character of risk management systems, where the systems are changed and fitted in order to become ‘auditable’. In this way, the use of COHSMS can both be viewed as an evaluation tool, an intervention aimed at improving occupational health and safety outcomes, or simply a form of decoupled window dressing to convince external stakeholders of the compliance of the company in question In this paper we are discussing how external actors (e.g. researchers, regulators or NGOs) can assess the effectiveness of COHSMS and other types of ‘reflexive’ types of self-regulation. We argue that it is important not only to use lagging indicators, such as accidents at work or absence from work, but more important to establish methods that can assess the internal company processes and activities that the COHSMS catalyzes after adoption, supplemented by theoretical approaches to understand the basic mechanisms related to the success or failure to implement COHSMS.

Hans Joergen Limborg (Teamarbejdsliv, Denmark)
Improving standards for management of psycho-social working environment [VIR]
DISCUSSANT: Lancine Eric Diop

ABSTRACT. Certified OHS management systems like OHSAS 18001 has been introduced to manage health and safety, but it is obviously difficult for the certification bodies to include Psycho-Social Health & Safety (PSHS) in the systems and in the audit procedure. As it is difficult for management to include prevention of mental health problems in the task of managers on on levels. In Canada the Insurance Sector met this challenge by developing a national Standard: “The National Standard of Canada for PSHS in the Workplace”. This paper presents a project that aims to ’translate’ the Canadian standard to a Danish context and test it six case-studies. We ask if a Canadian Standard can be ‘translated’ into a Danish context and represent a ‘new’ and relevant approach to management of PSHS? A system to manage PSHS is introduced to 6 large companies - 2 from production, 2 from public health and 2 from service. Baseline and end of intervention interviews form the data for an evaluation of the outcome and results. The hypothesis is that, to companies and businesses with tradition for a very systematic approach to management - a standard will seem relevant. But they will risk ‘blindness’ towards the complex relations. For other companies with more socially complex work tasks and many relations a systematic approach might be useful to handle complexity.

The results of the interventions show us that a foundation of a) knowledge of the relation between mental health and the organisation of work and social relations, b) appointed actors and c) a leadership pipeline is essential for any improvement of the management system and the ability among managers to prevent or handle problems related to mental health. Implementing a management system requires translation not just from a Canadian context to a Danish but also from ‘system - thinking’ to daily practise and from ‘OHS – expertise’ to the modus operandi of the workplace. From these results from the intervention studies we are now developing a Danish Guideline for development and implementation of a management system to handle and prevent mental illness together with the Danish Working Environment Authority.

Julia Salado-Rasmussen (Department of Social Work, University College Copenhagen, Denmark)
Stella Mia Sieling-Monas (Department of Social Work, University College Copenhagen, Denmark)
Inge Bonfils (Department of Social Work, University College Copenhagen, Denmark)
Thomas Mackrill (Department of Social Work, University College Copenhagen, Denmark)
Making use of fidelity reviews in implementation and impact evaluations of Supported Employment interventions [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Over recent years, the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) approach has been introduced in municipal jobcentres in Denmark as an intervention aimed at people with severe mental illness. Based on evidence favouring Supported Employment (SE) (Drake et al., 2012; Bond et al., 2016; Modini et al., 2016; Christensen and Eplov, 2018) we have seen an increased level of interest in SE amongst government stakeholders and public employment services in Denmark.

The IPS model was developed to supports adults with severe mental illnesses in finding and keeping a job (Drake et al., 2012). Over the years, IPS has been extended to other target groups (Swanson et al., 2017). Recently IPS interventions targeting adolescents and emphasizing education have been recommended in the research literature (Frøyland, 2016; Swanson et al., 2017). Denmark has witnessed a growing number of youths not involved in either education, employment or training (NEET) (Pihl, 2016) and research has shown that up to six out of ten adolescents opting out of education and work are struggling with mental health issues (Goldman-Mellor et al., 2016). In our intervention research project, ‘Reconnect’, we have modified the IPS-model to suit a Danish context and a target group of adolescents (15-24 years) with symptoms of anxiety and depression.

IPS is an evidence-based model resting on eight principles. High fidelity towards these principles have generally proven to yield the best results (Drake et al., 2012). Components of IPS are defined in a fidelity scale, aimed at measuring the level of implementation (Becker et al. 2015). For the Reconnect evaluation, we develop a modified fidelity scale within three categories: staffing, organization and services and encourage the participating municipalities to implement the Reconnect intervention with the highest fidelity possible.

Using fidelity reviews is still a rather novel approach when evaluating active labour market programs in Denmark and thus the aim of this presentation is twofold. First, we present insight from the modified fidelity scale and discuss how the fidelity review is incorporated in the impact evaluation and embedded in a quasi-experimental design. Secondly, we argue how the fidelity scale can enhance implementation and address a number of implications of working with fidelity measures. We discuss how the fidelity scale can be used as a way of ensuring compliance within organizational negotiations, but also how this approach to evaluating frontline implementation includes a number of limitations and dilemmas.

The presentation is based on existing research on implementation of IPS (Bond and Becker, 2012; Frøyland, 2016; Bonfils et al., 2017; Bonfils, 2019), evaluation theory (Vedung, 1997) and the preliminary results from the Reconnect study.

15:00-17:30 Session 5E: [16] THEMATIC SESSION: Positive psychosocial factors at work
Louise Møller Pedersen (Aalborg University, Department of Culture and Learning, Denmark)
Gunnar Gillberg (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Jan Holmer (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Roland Kadefors (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Anders Östebo (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Why joining the Army? Motives, expectations and experiences of recruits to the Swedish Armed Forces [VIR]
PRESENTER: Gunnar Gillberg

ABSTRACT. This study was carried out so as to arrive at an understanding of why young recruits to the Swedish Armed Forces chose a military rather than a civilian career, and how their expectations were met when confronted with the realities of life as a soldier. Three themes were covered in the interviews: the motives why choosing the military; the envisaged career development; and the views of the Army as an employer. The study material consisted of 37 interviews with young recruits (29 men and 8 women) carried out at units representing different branches of the Armed Forces (army, navy, air force). The interviews were semi-structured, transcribed and categorized. Each interview lasted for about one hour. Anonymity was granted. The interviews were categorized into (a) challenge, variation and meaningfulness; (b) identity and cooperation; (c) structure and safety; (d) the tension between the office desk and the woods; (e) the tension between the meaningful and the profitable. It was found that joining the military was a conscious choice by most. The positive expectations vis-à-vis the Armed Forces were largely confirmed when recruits were confronted with the military environment. The Army was considered by the interviewees as a very good employer. The experience of the military context meant an increased sense of meaningfulness and coherence in life. Working for the Armed Forces was looked upon as safe and structured; the relation to the supervising officers was experienced as clear, but equal. Critical views included concern with respect to the low wages and the frequent changes of managers. It was reported that some equipment was old and worn. The female soldiers found that it was sometimes difficult to use equipment because it was oversized, but otherwise gender seemed a non-issue. Most interviewees were rather fresh recruits. Those who had worked for a longer time as soldiers were more critical; they criticized the slowness of the organization: there was much idle time spent in waiting for material and equipment. We conclude that the positive view by the interviewees vis-à-vis the Swedish Army reflects their desire to be part of a system that offers meaningfulness, safety and structure, and provides them with a sense of coherence. This is in contrast to the notion of young adults being self-centered and negative to authority and cooperative efforts.

Åsa Bergman Bruhn (Dalarna University, Sweden)
Attractive and sustainable work in the equine sector – an explorative study in riding schools and trotting stables in Sweden [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Background There are limited number of studies focusing on the working environment in the equine industry. However, it is relatively well known that there exist several shortcomings and challenges in the work environment. Creating attractive and sustainable jobs is important in many respects, not only for organizations' ability to recruit, retain and engage employees but also for maintaining employee health and well-being, regardless of profession and industry.

The attractive work model (Åteg et al., 2004) represents a holistic view of what makes a job attractive and is based on promotion factors. The model contains statements around the categories working conditions, work content and work satisfaction and represents an overall picture about what makes work attractive and sustainable.

Aim The aim of this study is to gain knowledge of how employees in the equine industry – including riding schools and trotting stables - experience their work environment and to identify what factors are most important for the work to be considered attractive, healthy and sustainable over time.

Method The abstract should be seen as a draft of a licentiate thesis in work science and is based on the preliminary results from a quantitative and a qualitative study.

Based on the attractive work model, a questionnaire has been designed which has been used in the quantitative study. In total, 150 employees at 30 randomly selected riding schools and trotting stables answered the questionnaire and the data was analyzed descriptively.

The qualitative study is based on data collected through 21 individual semi-structured interviews with employers (n=17) and managers (n=4) in two riding schools and two trotting stables in Sweden. The interview guide is based on the categories in the model Attractive work. A thematic analysis was carried out in several steps.

Results The preliminary results show that the employees considered work as one of the most important things in life and that their current job is relatively attractive. The results also indicate that factors such as loyalty, good relationships, a functioning social interaction, stimulating and challenging work tasks, inclusive leadership, feel sought, needed and important, being familiar with the work tasks and experiencing a sense of coherence are considered as most important for the work to be perceived as attractive. In addition, the results show that the work seems to highly be characterized by self-realization and quality of life as well as meaningfulness and passion and that those factors both can promote health as well as cause illness in the workplace.

Kurt Keller (Department of Culture and Learning, Aalborg University, Denmark)
Hanne Keller (Department of Culture and Learning. Aalborg University, Denmark)
Good working conditions - a theoretical outline [VIR]
PRESENTER: Kurt Keller
DISCUSSANT: Gunnar Gillberg

ABSTRACT. During half a century German and Scandinavian research on the psychosocial work environment has delineated a paradigmatic concept of healthy and unhealthy psychosocial working conditions. It has been the aim of these research approaches to discover in detail the psychological experience of work performance in order to attain adequate understanding of the interplay of subjective and objective aspects of work practices. In general, the research methodology has been highly inductive, and much more focus has been on problematic conditions than on recommendable conditions. Nevertheless, the paradigmatic conceptualization can be depicted fairly clearly from the huge existing source of empirical research covering all kinds of work processes: The psychosocial conditions of work is understood as an interplay of tasks and actions, where the tasks include demands and strains and the actions include subjective as well as objective resources of the labour power. Continuing demands and strains that can’t be met lead to stress and other kinds of health breakdown in the workers. With adequate resources, however, the work process can be enriching like artistic experience of expressive flow when workers unfold their competencies and develop new capabilities. The entire interplay of tasks and actions is conceived in three different dimensions that have to be investigated and analyzed distinctly, since they are complementary and cant’ be reduced to one another: control, competence and social identity. In prolongation of this theoretical understanding, we suggest a phenomenological conceptualization of working life and indicate an implication for the social-psychological notion of a good and healthy life.

Hjördís Sigursteinsdóttir (University of Akureyri, Iceland)
G. Linda Rafnsdóttir (University of Iceland, Iceland)
Importance of good management and social support at work [VIR]
DISCUSSANT: Hanne Keller

ABSTRACT. The well-being and working conditions of preschool teachers and assistant teachers can affect the children and their developmental processes, as they spend so many hours together every week. The social-emotional capacity and the psychological well-being of preschool teachers and assistant teachers are fundamental characteristics that support improved social and emotional learning practices in the classroom. Preschool teachers and assistant teachers who experience emotional exhaustion and burnout at work are less likely to exhibit positive practices for the children’s caregiving. This a major concern, since teaching is often recognized as one of the most stressful occupations. Although the interest in preschool teachers and assistant teachers’ own psychological well-being and self-care is growing, more research is needed to understand the state of preschool teachers and assistant teachers’ well-being to find ways to better support their mental health. Therefore, in the current study, we explore factors that exist in the work environment, such as management, social support at work, ‘, job roles and job development, which can support the well-being of preschool teachers and assistant teachers. We studied the work conditions and connections between work environment and self-evaluated mental well-being of approximately half of all preschool teachers and assistant teachers in Iceland - including seventeen of the seventy-two municipalities in Iceland. The results shows that good management and social support had a positive effect on well-being at work. Role clarity and job development also had a positive impact on well-being at work, although not as much as good management and support from co-workers. The results indicate that those who are responsible for the working environment of the preschool teachers and their assistants needs to pay a particular attention to social support, motivation, fairness, distribution of tasks, role clarity and ability to develop at work.

Hanne Keller (Department of Culture and Learning, Aalborg University, Denmark)
Meaningful work [VIR]
DISCUSSANT: Åsa Bergman Bruhn

ABSTRACT. The positive psychology and research in the social capital are two trends that have recently indicated how to create a good working environment. Positive psychology has highlighted the importance of work being organized so that it promotes learning and developing and employees have the opportunity to get into flow. Research in social capital focuses on, how good working relationships in the organization supported by organizational trust and justice are the key to a working environment where people thrive. Employee well-being comes from doing a good job in good and efficient working relationships. In the good work environment, one can use one's skills and autonomy to solve the tasks in a professionally supportive social environment. Such a work environment is meaningful and engaging. The meaningfulness and the commitment are deeply connected to the opportunities to use one's professional and personal skills to achieve professional goals. Meaningfulness and commitment are not abstract sizes but closely linked to the working conditions. It is therefore a signal of danger if the work loses its meaning and the commitment disappears. Based on qualitative research on employee’s development of stress-strain, some trends are discussed in the way the work environment changes at present. Changes which seems destructive to the employee's experience of meaningfulness and commitment.

The empirical data exemplify three trends that challenge meaningfulness and commitment. It is characteristic of the respondents that they long for and want a meaningful and engaging work, and that it is strongly contributing to dissatisfaction that they feel, that they have lost their meaning and commitment. The three trends are the following: Self-management, output management and professional work in the cross-pressure between bureaucratic and professional frameworks of understanding. Self-management as a new management technology has positive features because it is based on employee autonomy. However, there are also some dilemmas in relation to the opportunity for the employee to lead himself in organizations with excessive work pressure. One can describe this dilemma as dealing with whether the employee should guide him/herself based on personal values or the values of the organization. Output management is about managers distancing themselves from employees and operating on the basis of management information in the form of quantitative statements. Here, employees lack managers' support of work processes. Work in the cross-pressure between bureaucratic and professional understanding frameworks is about the professionalism of professionals constantly being pressured by developments in the bureaucratic framework of understanding. The two understandings are often experienced in opposition to one another and meaning disappears if the bureaucratic framework of understanding is not integrated with the professional framework of understanding. Empirical examples of the development will be given as a basis for the theoretical discussion.

Hjördís Sigursteinsdóttir (University of Akureyri, Iceland)
Work engagement, job satisfaction and intention to leave [VIR]
DISCUSSANT: Signe Laursen

ABSTRACT. A good working environment contributes to increased well-being in the workplace and a good working spirit. The aim of this study was to examine work engagement, job satisfaction and intention to leave the job. The study is based on an electronic questionnaire survey submitted to 17 municipal employees in the fall of 2015. There were 8,942 employees who received the questionnaire via email, and after two reminders, the response rate was 61% (5,458 participants). The results show that measurement for work engagement was 3.7 out of 5.0 and the results indicated that almost one-third of the employees were engaged. Job satisfaction was measured 4.1 out of 5.0, and over a quarter of the employees totally or to some extent agree often thinking about leaving their job. The results also show a strong positive relationship between work engagement and job satisfaction and a medium negative strong relationship between work engagement and intention to leave the job. The results indicate that the more engaged the employees were, they were more satisfied with their job and had less intention to quit their job. It is of great importance to the municipal employees that their working environment is such that it contributes to increased well-being in the workplace and that their experience is that their work is important and rewarding. The results of this study indicate that municipal employees do not perceive their working environment as such. It is, therefore, necessary that the manager take these findings seriously and contribute to better working conditions and work environment for employees.

15:00-17:00 Session 5F: [2] THEMATIC SESSION: Non-standard employment and precariousness in a Nordic context
Stine Rasmussen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Helene Pristed Nielsen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
‘Making it’ in an insular labour market: strategies and constraints for obtaining an income while living on an island [VIR]

ABSTRACT. While the Nordic countries may overall in some senses be seen as rather inclusive labour markets, something peculiar seems to happen when people are living in relatively isolated places, such as islands. Taking its empirical starting point in an island setting from which is it if not impossible, at least impractical, to commute to work, this paper addresses the particular kind of precarity which is dictated by the geographical setting of an insular labour market. Finding a way to earn an income in an island setting may be a challenge if the island is small and one’s ambitions are high and educational levels are specialised. Even more so, if one is part of a larger family unit to which one feels allegiance and obligation. While existing models of insular labour markets acknowledge the importance of expanding traditional notions of wage labour to a much wider notion of ‘income’, this only takes explanations so far. The DORA model, originally developed by Bryden and Hart (2004), does point to the role of ‘less tangible factors’, such as culture and local traditions, in explaining local labour market developments in rural and remote areas. However, to understand the various types of non-standard employment and the strategies and challenges encountered by islanders, the paper proposes that we need to combine and further theorise insights from labour market theory with ideas from human geography about place attachment, community relations and traditions. Empirically, the paper draws on ethnographic fieldwork undertaken in 2019 on a Danish island with approximately 1800 inhabitants.

Simo Aho (Tampere university, Finland)
Regina Konle-Seidl (IAB, Germany)
Thomas Rothe (IAB, Germany)
Stine Rasmussen (AAU, Denmark)
Rasmus Ravn (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Magnus Jespersen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Dynamics of chronic unemployment in Denmark, Finland and Germany [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Widespread and persistent long-term and/or recurrent unemployment is a serious social problem as well as an expensive economic burden for the welfare state. It is a continuous concern of policy makers. This paper starts with the observation that conventional statistics do not adequately reveal how widespread long-term exclusion from regular, genuinely market-based employment actually is. After the interruption of individual unemployment spells by e.g. participation in active labour market policy (ALMP) measures, short casual employment, or periods outside labour force because of illness, family reasons or education unemployment often continues, and the statistics do not grasp the actual length of the individual problem of being without a “real” job. Our concept of “chronic unemployment” (CU) assesses the share of people with weak links to the open labour market, although belonging to the labour force. We compare three countries: Denmark, Finland and Germany. This is interesting, because they all are developed European welfare states, but eg. unemployment rates and volume and structure of ALMP vary considerably between the three countries. Our main questions are: 1. Is “chronic unemployment” a common feature of post-industrial labour markets and advanced welfare states, or are there clear differences in scope and dynamics of “chronic unemployment” across the countries under scrutiny? If so, how can they be explained? 2. Can activation/ALMP affect the dynamics (inflow, duration and outflow) and prevalence of CU or is ALMP rather a means to adjust into structural unemployment? In this paper we provide comparative results concerning the development of CU over time in the compared countries. Our study is based on extensive and rich longitudinal register data sets, including detailed information on individual labour market histories, allowing long follow up periods of individuals. The data covers the years 2001-2014 (for now) and is fairly well comparable between the three countries.

Satu Ojala (Tampere University, Finland)
Niklas Mäkinen (University of Tampere, Finland)
Jouko Nätti (Tampere University, Finland)
Part-time workers’ career trajectories by the length of hours and reason for part-time. A 10-year follow-up study [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Using Finnish Labour Force Surveys, we analyse how different characteristics of part-time work connect to employees’ career trajectories in a 10-year follow-up. We analyse careers both by the length of hours (marginal part-time <15h/week vs. long part-time 15-34 h/week) and by the reason for part-time work, i.e. if the reason is childcare, studies, health, part-time pension, other voluntary choice or if full-time work was not available (involuntary part-time). The Finnish Labour Force Surveys from years 1988–2016 are merged into register follow-up of all respondents until 2016. We select different baseline years for comparison and choose employees at the age of 20–50. We apply sequence analysis for ten-year periods and define work career clusters based on the continuum of spells spent in different labour market statuses, i.e., in employment, unemployment, studying, pension for various reasons, or inactivity. Clusters of career trajectories are illustrated first. As a second step, we analyse the probability of different subgroups of part-time workers to belong to certain career clusters compared to employees working full-time.

An increasing share, 21 per cent of employed women, and a tenth of men, worked part-time in Finland in 2018. A few percentages of those in employment worked only marginal hours. Involuntary part-time work accounts about a third of all part-time work. In preliminary analysis, the involuntary nature of part-time work connects with weakening attachment to work. Marginal part-time hours, instead, predict entering more stable employment, related to the fact that workers with shortest weekly hours are typically young students. We expect to find that involuntary part-time work, as well as part-time and simultaneous temporary employment, predict entering deteriorating career types.

Niklas Mäkinen (University of Tampere, Finland)
Employment in the Informal Economy: Evidence from European Social Survey 2004-2018 [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Informal workers are often not covered by the law and excluded from access to unemployment insurance and pensions. These type of workers are generally considered to be consisted of marginalized and vulnerable populations who work under low salary and poor working conditions. However, according to some researchers it is actually less marginalized populations (e.g. employed, residents in affluent regions, those with more social networks, professionals and skilled workers) who are more likely to participate in informal work. In doing so, they gain more flexible work environment, better wages and greater autonomy to decide on work priorities. Until now there has been very little cross-national empirical evidence, especially in the European context, provided on these views.

To begin to fill this gap, the paper makes two significant contributions. First, it examines whether it is marginalized and vulnerable people who are more likely to participate in informal employment in Europe. Secondly, this paper studies whether job quality, notably job security and working conditions, differs between informal employment and formal employment. In the analyses, Northern, Western, Eastern and Southern Europe are considered separately.

The paper uses data from the European Social Survey (ESS), specifically the available 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 instalments. The ESS data contains information that allows to identify informal employees (dependent employees without a formal written/verbal contract). Additionaly, ESS allows a detailed analysis of the job quality associated with informal employment (ESS 2004, 2010). Given the hierarchical structure of the data (individuals nested within countries), a multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression is used for the analysis.

15:00-17:00 Session 5G: [7] THEMATIC SESSION: Technological change, digitalization, and quality of work
Bertil Rolandsson (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Tuomo Alasoini (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Arja Ala-Laurinaho (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Marja Känsälä (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Eveliina Saari (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Laura Seppänen (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Seppo Tuomivaara (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Digital divides among Finnish wage earners: statistical analysis [VIR]
PRESENTER: Tuomo Alasoini

ABSTRACT. The adoption of digital technology in its various forms is giving rise to new divides in working conditions, terms of employment and career prospects among wage earners. Such divides threaten to aggravate social inequalities and the risk of exclusion from the world of work and society and, at the same time, reduce wellbeing at work and make it difficult to extend working careers and increase employment rates. Widened digital divides may also slow down the realization of productivity gains made possible by digital technology and increase overall technology criticism in society.

It is estimated that about 500,000 to one million Finns have poor access to digital devices and services or inadequate skills to use them. A more detailed information on the breadth and depth of digital divides among Finnish citizens is largely missing. The lack of information concerns also digital divides in working life among wage earners in Finland.

This paper examines what kind of digital divides have emerged in recent years among Finnish wage earners, who of them are “digital winners” and who have stayed behind the digital divides. We distinguish three forms of digital divide. They concern the usage of digital technology at work, the way digital technology is actually used at work and benefits derived from the use of digital technology at work. This triangulation also reflects three successive historical stages in the study of digital divides since the 1990s. The focus of the paper is on the two last-mentioned divides.

Better understanding of digital divides is sought in a more diverse way than in the mainstream of the digital divide research. The mainstream research has focused more unilaterally on citizens’ socio-demographic and general socio-economic background variables. Our approach is based on the traditions of sociology of work and action-oriented working life studies, paying attention to, in addition to individual-level background factors, a number of workplace-related characteristics, such as forms of work organization and labour deployment.

Digital divides among Finnish wage earners are explored through statistical analysis using Statistics Finland’s Working Conditions Survey 2018. The Survey, which has been conducted now for eight times since 1977, provides a statistically representative view of wage earners in Finland. For the first time, the Survey includes also many detailed questions concerning the way digital technology is utilized by wage earners at work and how they assess its impact on their overall working conditions and terms of employment.

Tomas Berglund (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
The significance of occupational change on income inequality in Sweden [VIR]

ABSTRACT. Since the late 1980s, income inequality has increased in Sweden. The Gini index has grew from 0.23 in 1991 to 0.29 in 2000 and further to 0.32 in 2016. In the same time, however, full-time wage differences have not increased in the same pace. Since 2000, the P90/P10 ratio has been more or less constant, hovering around 2.3. Several factors affect the income distribution. Transfers from the welfare state, employment-non-employment status, as well as capital incomes are all important factors. Wage-incomes are certainly an important factor, as well. Wage differences are strongly related to the occupational structure as an effect of skill-differences, labour demand and supply, the industrial relation system, closure practices (e.g. professional organizations), status differences and traditions. Consequently, changes in the occupational structure could affect the income distribution as well as income inequality. In particular, an occupational distribution moving in the direction of polarization, i.e. a growth of the number of people working in both the low- and high-end of the distribution can add to inequality. In Sweden, several studies have found tendencies of polarization on the labour market. Therefore, an important research question is how occupational change relate to the overall increase in income inequality in Sweden. Moreover, the wage distribution in the occupational structure is one thing, another is the earnings that different jobs generate. Earnings are related to the number of hours a week a job imply, as well as the stability of employment over the year (the risk of unemployment). These factor are related to the organization of work, and if the employment are found in the primary or secondary labour market. In the Swedish case, research have found that low-wage occupations often also are insecure and involve temporary employment. Moreover, this tendency has been more evident over time. Consequently, both polarization and dualization tendencies (i.e. the increase of atypical employment) can contribute to explain increases in income inequality. This paper will dig into these questions by analyzing a Swedish dataset the period 1997-2015 that combine the Labour Force Survey with registry data (LISA) on different income types (Earnings, capital incomes, transfers, etc).

Thomas Bredgaard (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Claus D. Hansen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Jeppe Fuglsang Larsen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
The Corona-crisis, working life and mental health - A study of the lock-down period in Denmark [VIR]
PRESENTER: Claus D. Hansen

ABSTRACT. Across the globe, the covid-19 pandemic has unprecedented and fundamental implications for working life, labour markets and the global economy. It is, therefore, essential to document, study and analyse this unique event in work life history. In this project, we study the implications of the lockdown and reopening of the labour market on working life and mental health in Denmark. Denmark is an example of an early lockdown (Andersen, Schröder & Svarer, 2020) that affected all workplaces, but in different ways. All schools and educational institutions were closed as teaching continued online. Some public employees were sent home, while other performing critical functions, like doctors and nurses, were included into emergency operations. Some private businesses with close physical contact were closed (e.g. hairdressers, hotels, restaurants, bars and fitness centers), other private businesses were encouraged to stay home (e.g. lawyers, real estate agents and accountants), while other private businesses were requested to stay open but observe new guidelines to avoid spread of the Coronavirus (e.g. food stores).

We study three work life situations that were transformed during the lockdown: (1) Emergency workers (nurses and food store workers) (2) homeworkers (teachers and lawyers, real estate agents and accountants) and (3) temporary unemployed workers (hotel and restaurant workers). We have collected qualitative interview data and quantitative survey data from 100 respondents on their experiences during the lockdown. In this first study we examine how the lockdown changed the content and organization of work, work environment, mental health, work-life balance and relations to colleagues and managers. In subsequent studies, we examine the gradual reopening of the labour market (autumn 2020) and long-term implications of the Corona-crisis (spring 2021).

Tomas Berglund (Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Jesper Prytz (Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Union Density in a Changing Occupational Structure [VIR]
PRESENTER: Jesper Prytz

ABSTRACT. Union density in Sweden is comparatively high in an international context. However, during 2007-2008 the center-right government implemented higher fees for unemployment insurance and removed tax deductions for union membership which led to a considerable drop in union density. In this analysis, we investigate which categories of workers interact with these changes. We find that temporary employment, employment in blue-collar sectors such as construction and hotel and restaurants, as well as young employees account for most of the decline in union membership during these years. We conclude that despite this shock to unions, unionism in Sweden has remained resilient.

15:00-17:00 Session 5H: [20] THEMATIC SESSION: New Technologies, Professions and professionalism
Agnete Meldgaard Hansen (Roskilde University, Denmark)
Amalie Marie Bonde Jørgensen (Roskilde Universitet, Denmark)
New technologies are transforming the work of social workers [VIR]

ABSTRACT. The fourth industrial revolution or the second machine age embody how automation, robotization, and artificial intelligence are gaining ground in current working life. Previously new technologies could automate manual work, but today's technologies distinguish themselves by being able to automate professional work.

This is often debated from either dystopic or optimistic stances. This paper will, however, address more nuanced and ambiguous perspectives on how these technologies can transform the working life of professionals, arguing that these technologies might both give professionals new tools to do their jobs, and at the same time re-engineer these jobs (Susskind & Susskind 2015).

Based on an ongoing Ph.D. project, this paper will present preliminary research on how social workers negotiate, workaround, or form the new technology they encounter in tasks regarding decision-making and case management (Orlikowski 2010).

Social workers working in municipal social service functions have experienced a large amount of standardization throughout the last decades. Throughout this standardization, the work has become more regulated and digitalized, causing more time spent on administrative tasks and less time spent with citizens and clients (Järvinen & Mik-Meyer 2012). Currently the Danish municipals also experiment in using intelligent software at solving central tasks.

In this paper I will present cases based on ethnographis field studies of the use of AI systems in social work. In these cases I explore how intelligent technologies challenge the tasks, relations, routines, and professional identity of social workers. To bring out the opposing and conflicting aspects concerning invisible work (Star & Strauss 1999), professionalism (Olesen 2013), and standardization.

Järvinen, M., & Mik-Meyer, N. (Eds.) (2012). At skabe en professionel: Ansvar og autonomi i velfærdsstaten. København: Hans Reitzels Forlag. Olesen, H. S. (2013): Professional Identities, Subjectivity, and Learning: Be(com)inga a General Practitioner I Using Biographical and Life History Approaches in the Study of Adult and Lifelong Learning: European Perspectives. Peter Lang – Europäisher Verlag der Wissenschaften Orlikowski, W. (2010): The sociomateriality of organizational life: Considering technology in management research. Cambridge Journal of Economics Star, S. L. & Strauss, A. (1999): Layers of Silence, Arenas of Voice: The Ecology of Visible and Invisible Work i Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) Susskind, R., Susskind, D. & Susskind, R. (2015): The future of the professions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Marte Fanneløb Giskeødegård (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway)
Kristina Kjersem (Møreforsking Molde, Norway)
Digital discourse of work – changing the images of work through a change in market [VIR]

ABSTRACT. This paper reflects on the topic of new technologies, professions and professionalism through an empirical example from a shipyard’s marked change from building primarily offshore vessels to cruise vessels. This change came about after a significant downfall in the maritime economy, causing almost a complete crash of the offshore market. The shipyards, which up till then, had relied heavily on this market, suddenly found themselves out of new contracts, and had to perform lay-offs. At this time, cruise sailed up as a new opportunity. As a result, the yard had to deal with unfamiliar expectations and requirements. For example, while shipping companies in the offshore sector were most concerned with the vessel’s functionality – as the ship was designed to perform complex tasks in rough sea, the cruise sector had a much more passenger-oriented focus on interior. As a result, the discipline of interior status changes, both in terms of the amount of work that fell on the discipline and the customers emphasis on the value of their deliverances. These changes in requirements and priorities had significant ramifications for work processes. This actualizes the topic of supporting technology. Almklov and Antonsen (2019) understands digitalization as the use of digital technology to support the execution of and control of work processes. What happens then when there are significant changes in the work-processes these tools are meant to support?

Central to this analysis is what this shift does to the flow of work processes, and more specifically its effects on the discourse of work. Discourse are powerful ways of establishing ideas and expectations towards behaviour within a group (Holliday 2019). Digital tools of work are immensely important in this respect, considering the organizational and policy discourse embedded in these systems (Bowker and Star’s 2000). What happens when work shifts and relationships changes? How do digital tools shape and form the possibilities for involved workers to visualize and argue for their needs to be able to perform their work? Andersen and Born (2001) directs our attention to the space language creates that both enables and constraints our imagination as well as possibilities to communicate organizational expectations and needs. Turning our attention to the “digital” discourse of work, focusing not on technological change pr. se, but rather a significant change in the work processes these digital tools facilitate, will allow a deeper understanding of the embedded and interrelated relationship between technologies, professions and professionalism.

Jo Krøjer (Roskilde University, Denmark)
Mette Lykke Nielsen (AAU, Denmark)
Louise Yung Nielsen (RUC, Denmark)
Emotional labour on the digital labour market: Platform workers’ commodification of the self [VIR]
DISCUSSANT: Bjarne Pareliussen

ABSTRACT. Within the digital revolution, new markets and new forms of production are emerging. Work performed on and through digital platforms in the gig economy is known to include emotional labour, which often carry different forms of transgressive behaviour and psychosocial risks. However, empirical studies of emotional work in the platform economy are still very few.

Drawing on 27 qualitative interviews the article engages in two different types of platforms in the gig economy; work performed on social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, and work performed on or through digital work platforms such as Care and WorkSome. The paper examines what kinds of emotional labour seem necessary for digital or platform based workers’ commodification. We argue that work on social media platforms and digital work platforms comprise elements of an ‘affective economy’ where workers do emotional labour as a part of becoming  attractive products.  Among the workers on the digital labour market it seems to be a pattern, that the emotional management performed by the workers, very much depends on the type of relations to followers or customers; do they happen online or offline; in direct confrontation with customers or followers, or at a distance while online. However, emotional labour tends to be mandatory for digital platform workers in order to produce themselves as attractive to potential customers and to uphold their market value in the platform economy.

Bjarne Pareliussen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway)
Marte Fanneløb Giskeødegård (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway)
Digital transitions in the maritime organizations: Changing the Game by Power by the Hour and Remote Monitoring [VIR]

ABSTRACT. How will a profession change by introducing servitization, standardization, control and remote monitoring into an organization? This paper reflects on this question through a case of digital transformation in the maritime industry. More specifically a ship. The ship is a traditional, autonomous and conservative organization. The paper is describing the theoretical framework intended to be used in analyzing data in an empirical study. This study will examine how the Ship Engineers profession due to introducing a new business model into the maritime domain. The empirical data is planned collected in spring 2020. The business model “power by the hour” is a model where shipowners pay for the delivery of propulsion power instead of buying ship engines. This type of business model is relying on contracts that is sometimes referred to as Output-based contracts or performance-based contracts. These contracts and associated business models are often part of the trend of manufacturing firms switching from selling products to deliver a service or servitization in short. As for the “Power by the hour” business model, the cost, planning and execution of maintenance is the supplier’s responsibility. The supplier will also be partly economically liable if there is an engine failure. The increased economical risk for the supplier is mitigated using remote monitoring of engines and enables the supplier to act on situations on board the ship, both to avoid damage and to plan maintenance. In 2017 the first “Power by the hour” contract was signed and by fall 2019 there are seven contracts signed, so there is little, or no, research performed on the effects of this business model in the maritime domain. This study is aiming to shed light on other effects of implementing this business model and contribute to the discussion on organizations and technology both generally and specifically in the maritime domain. To highlight one theory of importance, Orlikowski’s Duality of technology shows how technology is implemented with a specific intent, but has unintentional consequences for organization, work and professions (ORLIKOWSKI, W. J: 1992. The Duality of Technology: Rethinking the Concept of Technology in Organizations. Organization Science, 3, 398 -427). The theoretical framework is chosen by a review of professions that have been affected by the introduction of similar technologies and business models and the theories that have been used in these cases. This framework includes theories used in explaining effects of working in remote operations and dispersed teams and how the technology used to facilitate this is shaping the work situation. Also, theories on how increased standardization has impact on personnel handling safety critical operations is used in the framework, and how servitization and digitalization is changing many professions, especially in IT industry.