This report is based on a literature review of current research in the area of working life studies, focusing on organization of work. This summary is not to be viewed as comprehensive, but rather as indicative of key issues and results in this area. It is a so-called “rapid review” (Grant & Booth, 2009), and is based on a systematic literature search conducted by an information specialist in collaboration with the project experts. Its focus is on factors that contribute to sound and healthy workplaces, with high efficiency and productivity, including that the employees both experience a good work environment and feel good at work. The aim is to summarize and describe current research regarding the organization of work (including organizational models) that can contribute to health and wellbeing, efficiency and productivity in working organizations mainly in a Swedish, but also in a Nordic context. To achieve this aim, three more specific questions were formulated:
- Which principal orientations can be identified within the research on the organization of work (including organizational models) in terms of contexts and study objects, methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives?
- Which organizational factors can be identified as contributing to employee health and wellbeing, efficiency and productivity?
- Based on the results of the publications analysis, what knowledge gaps can be identified, and what general advice can be formulated?
This literature review includes 80 publications, most with a focus on a Swedish context, although the workplace, labour market and work life contexts of other Nordic countries are also included.
All in all, we can see that there is a considerable body of research concerning the organization of work. It is at the same time clear, judging from the publications included, that much of this research actually focuses on factors constraining health and wellbeing. In other words, judging from the analysis of the included publications, it is clear that there is a lack of research with a direct focus on the organization of work (including organizational models) as it relates to health and wellbeing in which the focus is on factors that promote health. Even scarcer is research that focuses on the organization of work (including organizational models) as it relates to health and wellbeing, as well as productivity and efficiency. It is also striking that neither health, wellbeing, productivity nor efficiency is unambiguously defined, but rather the vast majority of publications lack explicit definitions of what is meant by the terms health, wellbeing, productivity and efficiency. This entails that drawing overly far-reaching conclusions is problematic, as it is reasonable to assume that different definitions are being used (implicitly). The two main themes that emerged during the analysis are conflicting logics in the public sector and the temporal and spatial aspects of organization of work. It should be noted that these main themes share a degree of commonality. It is also clear, judging from the publications included, that much of the research that is available focuses on the public sector, albeit in different ways.
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