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Workplace and workforce 2000+ – the future of our work environment


Objectives: Research in the Human Resource Department at the University of Mannheim is directed towards the exploration of future work structures and design, and their effects on employees and employment relations. Methods: The main methods applied are trend extrapolation and simulation in combination with delphi research methodology. The trends observed during the last decade suggest that the workplace and workforce in the new millenium will primarily be affected by flexibilization, decentralization, and globalization. Results and Conclusions: Flexibilization will lead to a core group with unlimited full employment and an increasing larger group of short-term limited and/or part-time employees who face severe employment risks, ultimately resulting in stress. Flexibilization will also affect the workplace. Information technologies will dissolve social entities. The virtual company suppresses social interaction and will as a consequence create new forms of alienation. Decentralization will increase the responsibility for business processes. Employees will be regarded as business process owners and will be held responsible for their results, a situation which again creates new stress factors. Globalization enhances competition, which in turn will encourage competitive attitudes at the workplace. Internal market mechanisms will take the place of performance appraisals by management. Market evaluation will substitute leadership styles and communication, which stand for the human side of enterprise. The psychosocial problems arising from these developments will produce new challenges for occupational health professionals.

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Oechsler, W. Workplace and workforce 2000+ – the future of our work environment. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 73, S28–S32 (2000).

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  • Key words Future of work
  • Psychosocial problems
  • Work environment
  • Work force
  • Stress factors