Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 53–74 | Cite as

Management and Employees’ Collaboration: Is the Norwegian Work Life Model Suited for All?

  • Geir Liavåg Strand
  • Ingjerd SkogseidEmail author
Original Paper


Norway’s work life is known for its strong emphasis on the collaboration between employees, unions and managers. This article explores two case studies: two companies who are part of the same group of companies with the same owners, who are introducing broad collaboration. The same process was used to change employees’ participation in the development processes, but the results were different for each company. In this article we explore the factors that influence the implementation of broad collaboration between employees, unions and managers in the light of the Norwegian work life model and of the regional traditions. When introducing new collaboration patterns between managers, union and employees in a company, it is important to take regional traditions into consideration. One of the companies succeeded in implementing direct manager-employee collaboration, and the other company failed to implement broad collaboration. This article explores the reasons behind the different results. It further explores the experience from the two cases, and asks the question is the Norwegian work life model suited for all? The article suggests strategies for how to create an environment for broad collaboration in companies that have no such tradition.


Manager Union Employee collaboration Local culture 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Norway Research InstituteSogndalNorway

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