1 Department of Technology and Social Sciences, Technical University of Denmark2 Innovation and Sustainability, Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark3 Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark4 Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
Forandring set i et politisk og kulturelt perspektiv
Management of the work environment - a political and culturel perspectiveFor many years activities to improve working environment at local enterprise level in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries have been carried out in the framework of institutionalized cooperation between the industrial parties. This is a result of regulations during several years. However, this model is questioned and new principles for self-regulation, in form of ISO inspired management systems, are promoted. In this thesis a theoretical framework is developed in order to understand problems inherent in the existing model, and to understand the ambiguous outcomes of the application of new principles at enterprise level.The thesis take departure in theoretical contributions, which regard political processes as important for the understanding of organizations. The aim is to develop and consolidate this approach further. This is done by compiling different new and older contributions on political processes from industrial og organizational sociology, and by making a kind of synthesis with selected theories and concepts on organizational culture. So, the approach developed represents a break with the more rationalistic and functionalistic understandings, which have been prevailant within the social studies of work environment. On this background social practise in the field of work environment is conceived as constituted, maintained and changed by political processes. Furthermore these political processes are produced in a specific cultural context, so special attention must be drawn to the 'taken for granted' assumptions and 'frozen' patterns in politics. In the empirical part of the thesis enterprises, who aims at developing integrated managament systems for work environement and environment, are studied. Emphasis is laid on the analysis of the social processes, that lead to a specific shaping of the managment system, in a few longitudinal case studies. The management systems, which have strong rationalistic and bureaucratic bearings, are conceived as political change programmes, where specific conceptions of organization, man, problems and solutions are embedded. The study illustrates how these change programmes are transformed through processes of negotiation, and how the existing local conceptions of work environment play an important part, so that in reality the 'new' contains elements of old thinking and old structures. This process does not necessarily lead to a new coherent and consistent model, rather inconsistency and ambiguity are characteristic features. On this ground a critical discussion of management systems as a new strategy for the management of work environment is carried through.