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The Workers the Work Environment Discourse Forgot - a critical analysis of the official psychosocial work environment discourse in Sweden

Rydén, Lisbeth (2008)
Department of Business Administration
Abstract
Purpose: To explore how the changes in work life, here represented and depicted through the concepts of knowledge work and knowledge worker, have been incorporated in the official psychosocial work environment discourse in Sweden. Methodology: Critical discourse analysis, contrasting the official psychosocial work environment discourse to literature on knowledge work and knowledge worker, to explore how employees, employers and their relations are constructed within these two discourses; focusing identity, autonomy and power. Using the constructions to make visible how they are articulated, used and dealt with in a real life case from the Work Environment Authority. Theoretical perspectives: Our social world is socially constructed and... (More)
Purpose: To explore how the changes in work life, here represented and depicted through the concepts of knowledge work and knowledge worker, have been incorporated in the official psychosocial work environment discourse in Sweden. Methodology: Critical discourse analysis, contrasting the official psychosocial work environment discourse to literature on knowledge work and knowledge worker, to explore how employees, employers and their relations are constructed within these two discourses; focusing identity, autonomy and power. Using the constructions to make visible how they are articulated, used and dealt with in a real life case from the Work Environment Authority. Theoretical perspectives: Our social world is socially constructed and language is the main tool for constructing it. Discourse analysis is thus not just a tool for deconstructing texts but also for enhanced understanding of our construction of the world and our ability to communicate about it. Empirical foundation: The analysis is based on official and public texts on psychosocial work environment in Sweden and an inspection memo from the Work Environment Authority to exemplify and discuss the impact of the two discourses in an everyday work life case. Conclusions: The nature of knowledge work and the subsequent conditions for a knowledge worker is not present in the official work environment discourse. The knowledge worker is thus actively, although maybe unintentionally, made invisible. This has two major consequences; the invisibility marginalizes the knowledge worker’s work situation, i.e. it is both difficult to articulate and to be understood when talking about the work situation and secondly, being marginalized is a psychosocial work environment risk in itself. The non-existence of the knowledge worker in the work environment discourse is thus a double work environment hazard for a growing number of employees in Sweden. (Less)
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author
Rydén, Lisbeth
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Critical discourse analysis, psychosocial work environment, knowledge worker, discursive power, contemporary work life, Management of enterprises, Företagsledning, management
language
Swedish
id
1346675
date added to LUP
2008-06-05
date last changed
2012-04-02 17:00:27
@misc{1346675,
  abstract     = {Purpose: To explore how the changes in work life, here represented and depicted through the concepts of knowledge work and knowledge worker, have been incorporated in the official psychosocial work environment discourse in Sweden. Methodology: Critical discourse analysis, contrasting the official psychosocial work environment discourse to literature on knowledge work and knowledge worker, to explore how employees, employers and their relations are constructed within these two discourses; focusing identity, autonomy and power. Using the constructions to make visible how they are articulated, used and dealt with in a real life case from the Work Environment Authority. Theoretical perspectives: Our social world is socially constructed and language is the main tool for constructing it. Discourse analysis is thus not just a tool for deconstructing texts but also for enhanced understanding of our construction of the world and our ability to communicate about it. Empirical foundation: The analysis is based on official and public texts on psychosocial work environment in Sweden and an inspection memo from the Work Environment Authority to exemplify and discuss the impact of the two discourses in an everyday work life case. Conclusions: The nature of knowledge work and the subsequent conditions for a knowledge worker is not present in the official work environment discourse. The knowledge worker is thus actively, although maybe unintentionally, made invisible. This has two major consequences; the invisibility marginalizes the knowledge worker’s work situation, i.e. it is both difficult to articulate and to be understood when talking about the work situation and secondly, being marginalized is a psychosocial work environment risk in itself. The non-existence of the knowledge worker in the work environment discourse is thus a double work environment hazard for a growing number of employees in Sweden.},
  author       = {Rydén, Lisbeth},
  keyword      = {Critical discourse analysis,psychosocial work environment,knowledge worker,discursive power,contemporary work life,Management of enterprises,Företagsledning, management},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Workers the Work Environment Discourse Forgot - a critical analysis of the official psychosocial work environment discourse in Sweden},
  year         = {2008},
}