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Exploring Sustainable Work Systems: An Interactional Perspective on Learning and Organizing
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0281-971X
2005 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Working conditions are increasingly unpredictable, complex, and ungovernable creating severe health risks for employees and negative economic consequences for both corporations and society. Considering the growth in understanding human psychology and sociology, and the progression in measuring working conditions and health, this phenomenon is most perplexing. The enigma has yielded interest in a field known as sustainable work systems, where the challenge is to organize work in a manner that is both beneficial for the business and for its employees.

In an attempt to shed light on the growing issue, this dissertation outlines the features of a model intended to capture conditions of organization where learning is of paramount importance, and where organization is conceptualised using interaction as the foundation. One central question concerns which forms of interactions and co-operations replace traditional structures in organizations. Another relevant question, linked to the former, concerns the way in which these structures shape conditions of organization, learning, efficiency, and effectiveness.

A combination of research methods has been employed to provide an enhanced picture of this inquiry. Four corporate sub-units have been subject to a cross-sectional study. These sub-units were chosen by middle managers of a corporation because they excelled in an organizational reform that was initiated two years prior. During 2004, a survey was constructed and distributed to all employees in these four sub-units. Data regarding the sub-units’ efficiency and effectiveness has been collected; and, interviews with managers leading the organizational change have been conducted.

The two papers included in this thesis disclose four distinctly different approaches to organizational design. All four sub-units have separate conceptions of function and organization, although the guiding principles prescribed by top-management were identical for each of the four first-line managers who were leading the change. Three of the four sub-units have made more pervasive change efforts, and have a higher degree of learning and development, efficiency and effectiveness.

The results of this thesis suggest that interaction serves as a vehicle for shaping organizational conditions and outcomes. As a consequence of the chosen design, interaction varied between sub-units, thus influencing conditions of organization, learning, efficiency and effectiveness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2005.
Series
Trita-IEO, ISSN 1100-7982 ; 2005:07
Keyword [en]
Sustainable Work Systems, Interaction, Organizational Learning, Sensemaking
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-595ISBN: 91-7178-238-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-595DiVA: diva2:14553
Presentation
2005-12-20, Albert Danielsson rummet, Sing-Sing, Lindstedtsvägen 30, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100616Available from: 2006-01-19 Created: 2006-01-19 Last updated: 2010-06-16Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. EFFECTS OF FOUR DIFFERENT TYPES OF LEARNING ORGANISATIONS
Open this publication in new window or tab >>EFFECTS OF FOUR DIFFERENT TYPES OF LEARNING ORGANISATIONS
2004 (English)In: International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, ISSN 1465-6612, E-ISSN 1741-5160Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9017 (URN)
Note

QC 20100616

Available from: 2006-01-19 Created: 2006-01-19 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. Learning when Organizing: The Influence of Interactions on Learning at Work
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Learning when Organizing: The Influence of Interactions on Learning at Work
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9018 (URN)
Note
QC 20100616Available from: 2006-01-19 Created: 2006-01-19 Last updated: 2010-06-16Bibliographically approved

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Hemphälä, Jens

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