The Contract Organization: Individualization, Standardization and Conflicting Demands at Work

Project leader

Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2012
End date: 31/12/2014
Funding: 3000000 SEK


Organizations, both private and public, are currently going through major changes. Although these changes have been going on and been discussed for more than 30 years, they are still difficult to comprehend. There seem to be several different changes going on at the same time. Some of them even appear to be contradictory to each other.

On the one hand organizations are de-regulated, de-bureaucratized and de-hierarchized, as rules, decision levels, administration, and overhead costs are slashed in order to focus on the customer, increase the flexibility and become more competitive. On the other hand, the actual production is becoming more standardized, normed and monitored as a result of the increasing requirements for documentation, measurability, comparability, accountability, and a general coordination necessary to achieve such competitiveness.

This means that even though the conditions for self-determination and personal responsibility at work increases when the traditional framework for and division of labor is replaced by a consistent focus on results, the actual possibilities for action are severely restrained through the different managerial control systems that in detail determines what, when, how much, by what criteria and with what quality and service the result is to be delivered.

The purpose of this project is to investigate what these changing and conflicting, but also expanded requirement means for work. More specifically, the project aims to study how economic efficiency requirements interact and/or compete with other traditional requirements for work, such as technical and professional requirements, legal and policy requirements, as well as the practical and social requirements. The aim is also to trace the origin of these various requirements, in order to be able to determine the consequences for the organization as a whole.

Last updated on 2017-24-03 at 12:52