1 Department of Technology and Social Sciences, Technical University of Denmark2 unknown
This article discuss whether the development of the public regulation of the working environment leads to new power patterns in enterprises. The main emphasis is on discussing the development of Danish working environment regulation in the last twenty years, and through this analysis obtaining an understanding of the directions of the reforms made in this period. The paper operate with two analytical perspectives: The reflexive regulation perspective and the political process perspective. Danish working environment regulation is discussed through the general political initiatives taken, and through four specific regulation topics: The Occupational Health Services (OHS), regulation of the psychological working environment, the 'Monotonous Repeated Work'-plan and the workers' compensation. Taking the last twenty years' development as a whole the main developments in the regulation is a further shift in balance between material and reflexive regulation elements to the benefit of the latter. But although the reflexive elements seem to stabilize, they are vulnerable to a loss of legitimacy and changes in the political pattern.The impact on enterprise power patterns is summed up in a polarization thesis: in some enterprises a working environment concern is in positive symbiosis with union and employer intentions. These enterprises can benefit from enhanced reflexiveness, while a large group of enterprises cannot. This status might lead to reintroduction of material regulation elements, despite the development so far.