مدیریت OHS : یک مسیر به منظور مذاکره جدید در سازمان کار با عملکرد بالا؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|22216||2011||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10053 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Safety Science, Volume 49, Issue 7, August 2011, Pages 964–973
Contrary to a widely held view, rather than seeing the certification of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) as a barrier to increasing employee participation, this article views new ways of structuring participation as a necessary step towards making improvements in OHS management systems. The article first considers how work organization has changed and then in a similar way traces how bargaining has shifted from being distributive to become integrative to create a fundamental change in the negotiation regime. Finally, by analyzing an OHS-certified firm in greater depth, the article shows how solutions for improvements in OHS management and notable bottom-up formulations of OHS benchmarks may help us discover how the organizational form of firms with high-performance work organization can be developed through new participatory structures.
Until recently it has been argued that OHS was best looked after by effective government regulation and inspection combined with safety organizations (SO) and safety councils (SC), with employee participation at the level of individual firms. In this way firms would be forced to take OHS issues into consideration when optimizing the efficiency of a given set of routines by making increasing use of technology, aiming for economies of scale and coordinating the activities of bureaucratic hierarchies (Nelson and Winther, 1982, Chandler, 1962 and Chandler, 1977). Observers investigating this previous system found that one of its weaknesses was that SOs and SCs never became fully integrated into the managerial system of production but were placed in a ‘side-car’ position from which it was difficult to achieve effective influence on the firm (Frick, 1994 and Frick et al., 2000). To its critics, this system could only be improved by granting employees sitting on SCs greater participatory power over decisions concerning investments, choice of technologies, the setting of local standards in employment relations, etc. However, instead of reforms improving the system through increased participatory power for local SCs and creating refined procedures for their collaboration with the state’s OHS authorities, in many countries reforms of the system have evolved towards greater self-regulation on the part of employers. In Denmark and other countries, firms could simply obtain certification (e.g. under OHSAS 18001) of their management system for OHS purposes and in this way escape the costs and inconveniencies of routine inspections by the OHS authorities. To those who saw participation as being dependent on government control and vice versa, certification broke a cumulative chain of causation that could have led to a better system (Dawson and Clinton, 1988, Frick, 2009 and Frick et al., 2000). There are good reasons to question whether this would in fact have led to a better system as the economy re-organized. With the turn to a new economy where internal work organization, technology, and relations among firms and with stakeholders change frequently (Allwin and Aronsson, 2003), government control and inspection, as well as employee representatives in SCs, would easily become overburdened, as indeed they are in most cases. This would lead to highly formal, ritualistic, legalistic and very bureaucratic OHS management (OHSM) systems reinforcing the side-car positions of SCs and employee participation. Where they are in place, existing participatory systems of shop stewards, convenors and work councils (WC-related participatory systems) under the new economy are urgently needed to deal with constantly changing and novel competitive situations, while SC-related participatory systems may stick to bureaucratically ordained tasks that are repetitive and easily ignored. This may happen despite the new forms of work organization that call for much more attention from employee representatives in SCs. In this way the existing participatory and negotiating system has reached its limits and is in need of reform. Rethinking and studying promising cases of a new division of labor in participatory systems in relation to OHS certification offers a chance to answer the following questions: (1) how can the participatory influence of employees be reformed and strengthened by working with OHS certification? and (2) how may new ways of participation co-evolve with new forms of work organization and constitute a new negotiation regime within the constitution of firms? The chosen analytical strategy is not normative and deductive. Rather, it analyzes a case where certification has led to an advanced form of OHSM with a high degree of participation in order to discover inductively how it could take the next steps in constituting itself in a novel way. Before doing this, the second section will answer the question: can OHS certification be seen as a suitable form of regulation in the new economy? Then the third section aims at mapping out how negotiating regimes have gradually changed from distributive to integrative bargaining. Then the ground is ready for the fourth section to examine an extreme case of certified OHSM (Flyvbjerg, 2001), where the next steps for reform become visible. We show how a new division of labor among participatory bodies and engagement in bottom-up formulations of OHS benchmarks could lead to cumulative advances in both OHS certification and general participation.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
A cynic might see the current swarms of new benchmarks, certifications and de-regulation of government inspection as a way for employers and shareholders to increase their authority over wage-earners, an authority that many observers saw being eroded during the late 1970s, when wage increases, worker militancy, wage-earner funds, public ownership, etc. were limiting the influence of both shareholders and managers. The new regime, on the contrary, has made it easier for managers in the headquarters of multinational companies to exert pressure on rival subsidiaries, and for subsidiary managers to put pressure on rival departments and teams, as well as on rival suppliers. This game of imposing constantly changing benchmarks seems to have made it almost impossible for lower units in the ‘hierarchy’ to define a coherent long-term strategy for and by themselves, as the survival of teams and subsidiaries, like the promotion of individual managers within a corporate hierarchy, is determined by how well they measure against these benchmarks rather than on how well they are developing the firm unit, both in the long term and for its constituency of workers and managers. In this respect, OHS certification and an associated benchmarking system constitute both a continuation and a possible transformation of a trend. OHS focuses its benchmarks on improvements in the conditions of and prospects for the constituents of the firm unit and works with initial measures assessing whether a firm is following a path that works to the advantage or disadvantage of its workers. Within this framework, workers, their representatives and unions may gradually learn that they should themselves begin to formulate, negotiate and set new benchmarks for what they see as improvements and what they consider to be set-backs. Working conditions, both physical and psychological, are an important first step. The degree of human development and learning that a firm’s evolution brings about could be the next step. But this involves a whole new set of questions. Which benchmarks should be used to evaluate whether the ‘we’ of workers, such as a firm unit within a corporation, are progressing towards a more or less advantageous situation in terms of ‘our’ relations with customers and suppliers, as well as with the larger labor market? As workers start to pose these questions, and to the degree they are able to translate them into benchmarks, the potential to move from a regime that is distributive to one involving integrative bargaining will increase. Institutionalizing the novel benchmarks of this regime into ‘learning by monitoring’, novel managerial techniques and negotiating orders will force micro-agencies to search for compromises between externally imposed and internally evoked prerogatives and benchmarks. In a world where managers are continually on the move between business units and positions, the work of workers in refining benchmarking, finding novel ways of negotiating them and improving systems of learning by monitoring could turn into a search for the long-term identity of the enterprise, whereas those benchmarks that frequently change and are externally imposed would simply help to question, doubt and inspire the search for endogenous and still more ambitious and relevant benchmarks. The certification of OHS is creating a much more open field in which such an evolution could take place. In Denmark, such an evolution seems to be possible in some of the advanced versions of certified OHSM systems, but that is greatly dependent on the old negotiating order of shop stewards, convenors and WCs playing a novel role and preparing action to expand the scope of the SC participatory system. However, it is obvious that in learning organizations such as those present in the Nordic countries, the Netherlands and Austria, the introduction of lean managerial principles can best co-evolve with highly decentralized forms of work organization, provided there is one participatory system that can organize improvements and another to reform the first and to identify novel issues to renew the firm in accordance with endogenous aspirations.