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

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    NHO was at that time called NAF—the Confederation of Norwegian Employers, changed its name to NHO first January 1989.

  2. 2.

    LO—the The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions have 850,000 members according to their own web site.

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Correspondence to Ingjerd Skogseid.

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Strand, G.L., Skogseid, I. Management and Employees’ Collaboration: Is the Norwegian Work Life Model Suited for All?. Syst Pract Action Res 26, 53–74 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11213-012-9269-1

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Keywords

  • Manager
  • Union
  • Employee collaboration
  • Local culture