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Tommy Isidorsson


Department of Sociology and Work
+46 31-786 55 07
Visiting address
Skanstorget 18
41122 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 720
40530 Göteborg

About Tommy Isidorsson

Background Associate professor, 2012, Work Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden Ph.D. 2001, History, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Download the thesis (Striden om tiden Arbetstiden utveckling i Sverige under 100 år i ett internationellt perspektiv)

B.A. 1986, History, Geography and Social science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Research I have written several reports on working time issues and flexibility over the last couple of years. In 2001 he finished his thesis Time Wars. Working Time Development in Sweden in a Centennial and International Perspective. The thesis analyses actors as well as structures and explains the development of working time. The thesis is published in Swedish with an English summary. I have conducted several studies on flexibility and stability. My main interest has been how firms and organisations’ adapt to changes in demand, i.e. the different strategies utilised for handling changes in production volume. Such strategies for flexibility are working time flexibility, functional flexibility, and numerical flexibility. The interest in numerical flexibility includes several studies on agency workers. The analyses have focused on mechanisms that influence the development of these strategies for flexibility and their consequences on a societal level, at work place level and individual level. I have also conducted studies in occupational health and safety management.

Current research Agency work and commitment. The use of agency workers and its effects on commitment on permanent staff and agency workers. Legalised in 1993 the use of agency worker is a relatively new phenomenon is Sweden. Temporary agency work has increased rapidly in most OECD countries, including Sweden, during the last two decades. In the Netherlands and in the UK, where temporary work agencies have existed for several decades, a considerable increase in the number of agency workers took place in the 1990s and stabilised in the 2000s. The proportion of agency workers counts for around one or two per cent of all workers in most EU-countries. The impact of agency work on the labour market should however not be underestimated. Even if the proportion of agency workers is low, the proportion of workplaces using agency workers is considerable and agency workers affect the work organisation also for permanent staff. The aim of this project is to analyse and explain how the use of agency work affects commitment on permanent staff in user firms and commitment among agency workers themselves. Employers' use of temporary agency workers. Extent, motives and explanations in a comparative perspective The use of temporary agency workers is subject of a rather extensive debate. Previous research on the usage of agency workers and employers’ motive for using them dates back to the years when the agency industry was quite new in Sweden. Today temporary agency work is an institutionalized staffing strategy although also discussed from different political viewpoints. Therefore, there is a need for research that maps out the real use and explains how the use of temporary agency workers affects the labour market. The project aims at analysing the use of temporary agency workers in Sweden and the UK in 2002 and 2012. Thus the project compares two countries with different institutional settings.

Teaching I am teaching on subjects concerning work organisation, labour market and Industrial Relations (IR).

Cooperation In my current and previous project I meet the social partners in work shops that our research group arrange on a regularly basis.