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Sick society: a study exploring the psychosocial work environment
2006 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study started as a request from a research team at the divison of Industrial design at the department of Human Work Sciences at the University of Technology in Luleå Sweden. Their request was for an examination of a work environment from a psychosocial approach using sickness absence as a point of analysis. From the background of structure change in organisations during the 1990’s that worsened the psychosocial work environment and increased the stress of the individual, the relationship between psychological demand, decision latitude, and social support is examined. The purpose of this study is therefore to explore the cause of sickness absence from a psychosocial perspective. This exploration is lead by three questions: what is the psychosocial work environment and how has the implementation of new management reforms changed it? How do psychological demand, decision latitude and social support affect the individual? And: why does this, with increasing frequency, result in sickness absence? Through the application of Göran Ahrne’s perspective of organisations, this study critically applies the theory of Robert Karasek & Töres Theorell to empirical data collected through quantitative and qualitative methods. This triangulation of information uses sickness absence as the point of analysis to explore how three factors from within the psychosocial “work” environment affect the health and well-being of the individual. This study is of an organisation dominated by woman, and this type of absences could provide a legitimate break from the governance and demands of the organisation and is therefore important. The study reveals the full extent of the influence that organisational governance has not only on individual health and well-being but also on creating identities. Furthermore, it demonstrates the potential of organisations to destroy identities it creates through demolishing the secure, stable homogenous environment they have created and nurtured. To reduce the risk to health and well-being, organisations must provide a clear objective and direct its governance towards creating stability and security for the individual.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Social Behaviour Law, psychosocial work environment, sickness absence, management, reforms, psychological demand, decision latitude, social, support, organisation, governance
Keyword [sv]
Samhälls-, beteendevetenskap, juridik
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-58821ISRN: LTU-DUPP--06/118--SELocal ID: f6295d5f-2542-4bd8-be3c-b4947619f069OAI: diva2:1032209
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 15 credits
Educational program
Sociology, master's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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