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Makt och möjlighet att förändra?: Systematiskt arbetsmiljöarbete i könade offentliga verksamheter
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems, Ergonomics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7532-3566
2021 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Power and capacity for change? : Systematic occupational safety and health management in gendered public operations (English)
Abstract [en]

Despite legislation, regulations and extensive efforts from the Swedish Work Environment Authority, there are major shortcomings in public organisations´ work environments. This thesis describes and deepens the understanding for organisational conditions that contribute to, or constrain, systematic work environment work in gender-segregated public organisations. The thesis is based on four sub-studies, conducted on the basis of an interactive, qualitative approach. Two studies examine how employees, safety representatives and managers in, homecare services and technical maintenance, describe and interpret work environment challenges, gender and organisational conditions for workplace learning, and systematic work environment work. The third study examines how inspectors and managers from the Swedish Work environment Authority perceive these issues based on the experiences of hundreds of inspections in gender-segregated organisations. The fourth study focuses on organisational conditions that enable – and those that constrain – systematic work with gender-aware and gender-equal working methods in a municipality. The fourth study is based on interviews with managers, strategists, employees and politicians. The thesis´s total empirical basis consists of 79 in-depth interviews as well as documentation from dialogue and analysis seminars. The results show that unequal working conditions make work environment work more difficult, and that a good work environment is a matter of power and capacity for change. Strong gender norms constrain systematic work environment work, where mandatory parts such as participation, analysis, documentation, risk assessment and incident reporting are limited due to gender stereotypical norms. Moreover, weak structures for learning limit opportunities for learning and development, as well as opportunities to obtain necessary work environment knowledge. Furthermore, lacking structures for systematic joint learning processes limit opportunities to make visible, and change restrictive gender norms. An overall conclusion is that creating effective systematic work environment work is complex. Effective systematic work environment work is enabled by gender-awareness and organisational change competence, characterised by organisational readiness for learning, supportive structures and a culture that enables learning and change. As gender is going on at different levels, interacting and reinforcing each other, one conclusion is that gender-aware learning processes need to be initiated and implemented at individual, organisational and operational levels. This thesis contributes, theoretically, by combining different fields of research (gender and organisation, situated learning and organisational change) that allows for a novel and in-depth understanding of why systematic work environment work is so difficult. More specifically, combining gender theory with theories of situated learning in communities of practice and organisational change, make power relations visible and deepens the understanding of how women and men learn doing gender, of how failure can be understood, as well as what necessary conditions for systematic work environment work and development towards good working environments are. The results point at a number of challenges, which made visible, can, serve as a starting point for both policy and practice in the work of developing systematic work environment work and thereby good work environments in public operations. The thesis highlights organisational conditions that constrain and enable such work.

Abstract [sv]

Trots lagstiftning, föreskrifter och omfattande insatser från Arbetsmiljöverket finns stora brister i offentliga verksamheters arbetsmiljöarbete. I avhandlingen beskrivs och fördjupas förståelsen av organisatoriska villkor som främjar eller begränsar systematiskt arbetsmiljöarbete i könssegregerade offentliga verksamheter. Forskningen baseras på fyra delstudier, genomförda utifrån en interaktiv, kvalitativ ansats. I två studier undersöks hur medarbetare, skyddsombud och chefer inom hemtjänstverksamheter och tekniska förvaltningar beskriver och tolkar arbetsmiljöutmaningar, betydelser av kön samt organisatoriska villkor för arbetsplatslärande och systematiskt arbetsmiljöarbete. En tredje studie undersöker hur inspektörer och chefer vid Arbetsmiljöverket uppfattar dessa frågor utifrån erfarenheter av hundratals inspektioner inom könssegregerade verksamheter. Den fjärde studien fokuserar organisatoriska villkor som främjar ett systematiskt arbete med könsmedvetna och jämställda arbetssätt. Delstudien baseras på intervjuer med chefer, strateger, medarbetare och politiker i en kommun. Avhandlingens sammanlagda empiriska underlag utgörs av 79 djupintervjuer liksom dokumentation från dialog- och analysseminarier. Resultaten visar att ojämställda arbetsvillkor försvårar arbetsmiljöarbete och att en god arbetsmiljö är en fråga om makt och handlingsutrymme. Starka könsnormer försvårar det systematiska arbetsmiljöarbetet där obligatoriska delar som delaktighet, analys, dokumentation, riskbedömning och incidentrapportering begränsas av könsstereotypa normer och värderingar. Svaga strukturer för lärande begränsar möjligheter för arbetsplatslärande och utveckling liksom möjligheter att erhålla nödvändiga arbetsmiljökunskaper. Bristande strukturer för systematiska gemensamma lärprocesser begränsar möjligheter att synliggöra och förändra begränsande könsnormer.En övergripande slutsats är att skapande av effektivt arbetsmiljöarbete är komplext. Effektivt arbetsmiljöarbete kan sägas främjas av könsmedvetna och jämställda arbetssätt samt organisatorisk förändringskompetens. En sådan kännetecknas av organisatorisk mottaglighet för lärande, stödjande strukturer och en kultur som främjar lärande och förändring. Eftersom könsgörande processer på olika nivåer samverkar och förstärker varandra är en av slutsatserna att könsmedvetna, lärande förändringsprocesser behöver initieras och genomföras på individ-, organisations- och verksamhetsnivå. Den här avhandlingens teoretiska bidrag rör kombinationen av könsteori (doing gender) samt teorier om situerat lärande i praktikgemenskaper och organisatorisk förändringskompetens. Tillsammans synliggör teorierna maktrelationer och fördjupar förståelsen av hur kvinnor och män lär sig göra kön liksom hur utebliven förändring kan förstås. Vidare belyses vilka villkor som är nödvändiga för effektivt systematiskt arbetsmiljöarbete och utveckling mot goda arbetsmiljöer. Rent praktiskt pekar resultaten på en rad utmaningar, som väl synliggjorda kan tjäna som utgångspunkt för såväl politik som praktik i arbetet med att utveckla ett systematiskt arbetsmiljöarbete och därigenom goda arbetsmiljöer i offentliga verksamheter. Avhandlingen synliggör organisatoriska villkor som begränsar och främjar ett sådant arbete. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2021. , p. 95
Series
TRITA-CBH-FOU ; 2021:26
Keywords [en]
Work environment, systematic work environment management, doing gender, learning, communities of practice, organisational change, public organisations, interactive research
Keywords [sv]
Arbetsmiljö, systematiskt arbetsmiljöarbete, kön, lärande, praktikgemenskaper, organisatorisk förändringskompetens, offentliga organisationer, interaktiv forskning
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Technology and Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-294175ISBN: 978-91-7873-900-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-294175DiVA, id: diva2:1553906
Public defence
2021-06-04, https://kth-se.zoom.us/j/68725801924, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 2021-05-11

Available from: 2021-05-11 Created: 2021-05-11 Last updated: 2022-06-25Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Gender-awareness: a prerequisite for improving work environments in public organisations?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender-awareness: a prerequisite for improving work environments in public organisations?
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keywords
Work environment, gender, organisation, working conditions, public organisations, interactive research
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Technology and Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-294166 (URN)
Note

Submitted manuscript

QC 20210527

Available from: 2021-05-11 Created: 2021-05-11 Last updated: 2022-06-25Bibliographically approved
2. Conditions for workplacelearning: a gender divide?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conditions for workplacelearning: a gender divide?
2021 (English)In: Journal of Workplace Learning, ISSN 1366-5626, E-ISSN 1758-7859, Vol. 33, no 4, p. 302-314Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine and discuss conditions for workplace learning in gender-segregated workplaces in the public sector, how social constructions of gender contribute to (or constrain) the workplace learning conditions within two workplace contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was carried out through an interactive approach with data from 12 semi-structured interviews with workers and first-line managers from technical maintenance and home care in a Swedish municipality, validated at an analysis seminar with 27 participations, from both workplace contexts the Swedish Work Environment Authority and us researchers.

Findings

The results indicate that gender affects conditions for workplace learning and contributes to an enabling learning environment in the male-dominated workplace context and to a constraining learning environment in the female-dominated workplace context. The identified differences are created in both organisational structures and the organisations’ cultures.

Research limitations/implications

When analysing conditions for workplace learning from a gender perspective, the approach of comparative, cross-case analyses is useful. An interactive approach with women and men describing and analysing their work experiences together with researchers is a fruitful way of making gender visible.

Practical implications

The theoretical approach in this study illuminates how social constructions of gender operate and affect conditions for workplace learning and contributes to a deeper understanding of underlying causes to unequal conditions in different workplace contexts.

Social implications

The findings imply a gender divide which, from the theoretical strands, can be seen as an expression of asymmetrical power relations and where these gendered learning conditions probably also affect the quality of the services.

Originality/value

The findings contribute to existing gender theoretical literature by demonstrating that gender is essential to take into consideration when understanding working conditions in different workplace contexts. This study contributes to workplace learning literature by exploring the different ways in which social constructions of gender contribute to enabling and constraining learning environments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2021
National Category
Work Sciences Gender Studies
Research subject
Technology and Health; Industrial work science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-288105 (URN)10.1108/JWL-08-2020-0134 (DOI)000596013900001 ()2-s2.0-85097050163 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Genusmedvetet arbetsmiljöarbete - lärande nätverk i kommunal sektor
Funder
AFA Insurance
Note

QC 20201224

Available from: 2020-12-23 Created: 2020-12-23 Last updated: 2023-09-29Bibliographically approved
3. Bringing in gender perspectives on systematic occupational safety and health management.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bringing in gender perspectives on systematic occupational safety and health management.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keywords
Gender, organisation, systematic occupational safety and health management, femininities, masculinities
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Technology and Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-294169 (URN)
Note

Submitted manuscript

QC 20210527

Available from: 2021-05-11 Created: 2021-05-11 Last updated: 2022-06-25Bibliographically approved
4. Lärande organisation med mottaglighet för innovation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lärande organisation med mottaglighet för innovation
2018 (Swedish)In: Den lärande organisationen 2.0. / [ed] Otto Granberg & Jon Ohlsson, Lund: Studentlitteratur AB, 2018, 1:1, p. 185-207Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Studentlitteratur AB, 2018 Edition: 1:1
National Category
Work Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-294171 (URN)
Note

ISBN: 978-91-44-11479-8. QC 20210518

Available from: 2021-05-11 Created: 2021-05-11 Last updated: 2022-06-25Bibliographically approved

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Sjöberg Forssberg, Karin

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