Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' 2 2006, page 23-37.
English resume

Sustainability and living work

Helge Hvid

Sustainability is a challenge for the organization and development of work, which gives a new perspective on working life, technology and management. The concept of sustainability creates a perspective that goes beyond the companies, who most often are seen as the cage in which the work is imprisoned. Sustainability creates a perspective where the living work, with independent, participating and wilful employees, is the engine in the development of society. The article draws attention to the importance of the daily work in the creation of sustainability by suggesting a concept of sustainable rhythms of work.

The article concludes, that sustainable rhythms of work can reduce health problems and exclusion related to work significantly. Sustainable rhythms can create a better work-life balance. Sustainable rhythms make it possible for employees to see themselves as participants in the rhythmic relations between production and work on the one side, and society and nature on the other. Also for business sustainable rhythms have potentials – they make employees more competent and more autonomous. It will reduce the costs of management, and it will improve the innovative potentials among the employees.

The concept of sustainable rhythms can also serve as a useful counterbalance to the manifest public interest in development, learning and change. The concept of rhythms emphasises the quality of the established routines.

Likewise the concept of sustainable rhythms can serve as a useful counterbalance to the manifest public interest in social relations, creation of meaning and corporate culture. When the social relations are studied independent of the rhythms of work, the character of the social relations is incomprehensible. The rhythms of work constitute the frame of social relations in the company. The rhythms of work create meeting places and close meeting places, they make some dialogues possible and others impossible, and they influence the creation of meaning.

With the concept of sustainable rhythms, work is re-established as a key-factor for both creativity and identity. The concept makes it visible that the daily work, which both in the 19 th and 20 th century was praised as the dynamic factor in society, still has a crucial role in the modernisation of society – now in the modernisation process towards sustainability.

Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv

(Journal for Working Life)




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in Danish frontpage Nyt om arbejdsliv
editor Jørgen Burchardt