Table of Contents

  • This report summarizes the results of the project “God Nordisk Ledelsespraksis” carried out by the Aalborg University (Denmark), VTT (Finland), SINTEF (Norway) and Karlskrona University (Sweden) on Nordic research in the area of management, productivity and working conditions. The project was initiated by the Nordic Council of Ministries in 2012 who stated that: 1) “God ledelse og medarbeiderinnflytelse kjennetegner ofte produktive og innovative virksomheter” (good management practices and workers’ participation are often hallmarks of productive and innovative enterprises) and also 2) “Systematisk utvikling av god ledelse for å styrke omstillings- og konkurranseevnen antas samtidig å føre til bedre arbeidsmiljø og trivsel i arbeidet” (Systematic development of good managerial practices to improve the change capacity and competitiveness are also assumed to improve working conditions and well being at work). Further, as pointed out by the Nordic Council of Ministries, there is a lack of knowledge on the causal relationships between management, work environment and productivity. Therefore it was asked for a critical review of the scientific literature on relationships between management, work environment and productivity, aiming to identify how Nordic enterprises could work to establish good management practices and develop work participation and at the same time improve working conditions and productivity. This report sets out to answer these questions.

  • The focus in this project is to identify and summarize Nordic research that empirically investigates the relationships between three research traditions as follows

  • Nordic research on leadership and management can be studied in a variety of ways. Customary approach is to make a review of research publications’ full contents and results. Due to amount of work involved full review is recommendable, though, only when the number of publications is relatively limited. Robust exclusion criteria and other limiting factors are critical in this approach. The exclusion-focused approach has been used elsewhere in this project to analyse national leadership and management tradition in Nordic countries.

  • The Danish labour market regulation model is based on a voluntary self-regulatory system of collective bargaining where the social partners determine wages and working time, but also working conditions and occupational health and safety, with limited involvement from the state (Due, Madsen 2008). There is no Danish law determining minimum wages or regulating over-time payments. However, some areas are regulated, such as basic rights for salaried workers, labour law, working hours, and occupational health and safety laws. If negotiations of collective agreements fail, the government sometimes adopt a compromise by law. There is, however, no tradition for extending collective agreements to entire sectors. Furthermore, the social partners are consulted and are closely involved in revisions of regulation concerning the workers, such as health and safety laws, working hours, vacation, and protection of rights. According to the precedence principle, European law is superior to the national laws and especially in the area of health and safety some EU laws have precedence over negotiated agreements, limiting and sometimes in direct conflict with the voluntary element in the Danish system (e.g. working time, subcontracting rules, contract extensions, risk assessment).

  • After the Second World War the change of Finnish industrial structure was fierce and one of the fastest in Europe (Myyryläinen 1998). While Finland was still an agricultural country right after the war, by 1970 it had changed to an industrialized and urbanized society where an essential part of the population earned their living from services (See Figure 29). Since 1980 the also the share of people working in industry has been decreasing while the share of services still has kept growing. One interesting recent development trend is that according to Statistics Finland the amount of persons working as managers and highest state officials has decreased by 37% from 2008 to 2013 while the number of experts has increased by 13%. During the same period the total amount of employed persons decreased in Finland by 74,000 and was 2,457,000 in 2013.

  • The Norwegian work life shares many similarities with the other Nordic countries such as (Munkeby et al. 2010)

  • There are many who testify that there is a Nordic tradition in terms of leading and organizing workplaces (Adler 2013). This is characterized by for example sociotechnical forms of work organization, dialogue forms of management, informal communication, cooperation with the unions, decentralized decision making, influence in and over work, advanced competence development and descent working conditions. At the same time, we can see big changes in the labour market. These changes can be characterized by a transformation from an industrial logic to a service-based production, interaction between different activities and organizations as well as globalisation (Castell 1996, Eriksson 2008, Berglund & Schedin 2009). The question is whether and, if so, how this affects leadership, working conditions and productivity/efficiency in the workplaces.

  • This section summarizes the results of the project on Nordic research in the area of management, productivity and working conditions. The Nordic Council of Ministries initiated the project in 2012 by pointed out the lack of knowledge on the causal relationships between management, work environment and productivity. Therefore, it was asked for a critical review of the scientific literature on relationships between management, work environment and productivity, aiming to identify how Nordic enterprises could work to establish good management practices and develop work participation and at the same time improve working conditions and productivity/change readiness.

  • Mellom 2012 og 2014 gjennomførte fire nordiske forskningsinstitusjoner i Danmark, Finland, Norge og Sverige (Aalborg Universitet, VTT, SINTEF og Karlstad Universitet) en studie av god nordisk ledelsespraksis.