New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 20: Structural Work Change and Health: Studies of Long Spells of Sick Leave and Hospitalization among Working Men and Women During a Period of Marked Changes in the Swedish Labour Market
Gabriel Oxenstierna, Hugo Westerlund, Jane Ferrie, Martin Hyde, Jan Hagberg and Töres Theorell Background Structural changes have been common throughout the industrial world during the last three decades. One important element has been ‘downsizing’. Sweden is interesting to study from this point of view, for several reasons. The most important reason is that the structural changes have been condensed into a relatively short period (especially when Sweden is compared to several other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and some European countries such as Holland). Another important reason is that Sweden has had very good registers and national surveys which make it possible to study many aspects and consequences of these changes. The most dramatic changes took place from the late 1980s to the end of the 1990s. At ﬁrst there was downsizing in many sectors, not least in the public sector. In hospitals, for instance, staﬀ numbers were reduced by an average of 20 per cent. In addition, many work organizations were also restructured in other ways, for example by reorganization, centralization, privatization and/or outsourcing. During the ﬁrst half of this period there was a major recession in the Swedish economy, with a resultant tripling of unemployment rates. This was followed by a recovery: during the latter half of the 1990s the employment rates rose again (although they never reached the high rates of the 1980s). Still today there are about half a million people fewer in the labour force compared with 1990. These processes have...
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