Working Life Research

Research group
Active research
Project period
2000 - ongoing
Project owner
Department of Sociology and Work Science

Short description

Work is a significant part of people’s everyday lives. Changes in the labour market and how work is managed and organised have varying consequences for different groups in the workforce. How working conditions and the work environment are shaped depending upon gender, class, ethnicity and generation is an important subject of study. Comprehensive working life research is conducted at the Department at the societal, workplace and individual levels, and from both a national and an international perspective.
Current research projects involve labour relations; workforce mobility and flexibility; young workers’ entry to the labour market and older workers’ exit; the status of occupational groups; work organisation and leadership; and workers’ conditions and job perceptions.

The research area covers labor market institutions, actors and policies in a national, European and global perspective. One area that is being studied is changing forms and conditions for flexibility and security in the labor market, such as how the regulation of fixed-term employment and employment via rental companies has changed over time. With regard to labor market policy as a policy area, its transformation in recent decades, in a time of mass unemployment and welfare state austerity policy, is being studied. Another area focuses on age and work, such as young people entering the labor market as well as older people leaving the labor market with retirement. The latter touches, for example, on the issue of opportunities and obstacles to an extended working life among different groups in the labor market. There is also a tradition at the department to study the social partners, for example by analyzing the conditions and obstacles to trade union cooperation in Europe. A globalization perspective is also relevant, such as in relation to new forms of migration flows to Sweden.

The research area includes studies on the organization, management and governance of work at different levels and how this affects employees. This includes studies concerning the conditions for and development of sustainable work organizations and sustainable leadership, both in the public and private sectors. In our studies, we often focus on practices for governance, organization, management and leadership, as well as how societal trends such as globalization, digitalisation and a culture of scrutiny affect management and the organization of work. These often provide complex organizational conditions, which are studied both in a broader sense and linked to more specific issues and areas. One such area concerns organizations' strategies for flexibility and stability in staffing. Other areas concern practices for organizational development, human resource management, payroll, standardization, employer branding and value-based governance, as well as how organizations can build capacity to meet the need to work at older ages (age management).

The research area includes studies on working conditions and work environments at individual, group, organizational and industry levels. We study how working conditions interact with societal trends, organization, leadership practices and the labor market - and how this affects working conditions and work environments. Our research often has a sustainability perspective and concerns both risks and resources, especially in the psychosocial work environment and sometimes in interaction with physical work environment conditions. One area concerns how health, well-being, sick leave and transitions into and out of working life are affected through working conditions and working environment. This is studied, among other things, linked to gender issues, socio-economic status, development issues and aging. A related area concerns how learning, attitudes and commitment are affected by working conditions and the work environment. Another area includes how different forms of participation and governance affect our working conditions, for example in the design of new forms of organization, within the framework of the ongoing organization of different occupational groups or in connection with political reforms.

The research area includes studies on methodology and competencies for managing conflicts, collaboration on difficult and complex issues, change leadership and related themes. One sub-area concerns studies of conflicts, abusive discrimination and conflict management in the workplace. This area includes studies on the working methods of organizational consultants and on investigations of abusive discrimination. We have also built up knowledge and models around strategies for building robust collaborative cultures at different types of workplaces. A second sub-area concerns methods and the facilitation role when representatives of different interests and functions are to collaborate on the handling of complex issues of various kinds. A third sub-area we study is change theories and implementation work among business leaders, e.g. in terms of local integration projects and implementation of new ways of working.

The research area examines the importance of professions and professions at the societal, organizational and individual level. Studies of professions provide knowledge about how the division of labor in society and in organizations is recreated and developed. The professions position individuals in society and in organizations and provide them with cultural, economic and social resources and touch on issues of upbringing, education, experiences and identity. Professional research is an area that pays special attention to professional groups' professionalisation projects, the conditions of professionals and professionals and the actions of professionals in order to maintain influence over the specific area of ​​knowledge. The area also studies socialization and identity processes, including careers, incorporation and exercise of knowledge, skills and abilities in professions. Questions about the public's trust in, trust in and perceptions of the status of different professions and professions are of interest - as well as how professionals in different professions experience such forms of recognition.