Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 4 2005, page 7-26.
Psychosocial work environment
A collective task at the workplace
Psychosocial problems at the workplace are common in Denmark, yet they are difficult to regulate at the central level. As a consequence, the social partners and the state show a growing interest in enlarging and improving workplace level collaborative regulation. Research on the local conditions for decentralization within this specific field is very limited, and consequently little is known about the potentials and challenges faced by the local representatives, who deal with psychosocial problems on everyday basis. This article argues that the local representatives at DJØF-workplaces in the public sector often experience problems managing the regulation locally, but also that it is feasible to institutionalize a local type of joint regulation under the right conditions. The argument is based on a case study, which includes eleven interviews with managers and representatives at four DJØF-workplaces and five interviews with consultants in relevant employer- and employee organisations at the central level in the public sector. The institutional IR-theory represented by H. A. Clegg and A. Flanders is the theoretical basis for the article. In light of the empirical results it is discussed how these theoretical perspectives contributes to the understanding of the institutionalisation process at the local level as well as of the interplay between this process and regulation at the central level. The institutionalisation of the management of psychosocial problems at the local level is found to be highly dependent on the level of employee-influence in the works council. The level of influence is not subject to legislative regulation but to regulation via collective agreements, which calls for consideration of its institutional importance in future collective agreements.