Re-visiting the Nordic approaches to work re-organization and job redesign: lessons for UK skills policy
The paper considers the lessons that UK policy makers might draw from Scandinavian programmes in the area of work re-organisation and job redesign. It takes as its point of departure the recent publication of the Cabinet Office Performance and Innovation Unit's report on workforce development which signalled the need to develop a new 'demand-led' approach to tackling Britain's 'skills problem'. Building on the PIU analysis, the paper asks how UK policy makers might go about developing programmes aimed at improving work organisation, as one element of a wider 'demand-side' strategy. It begins by asking why work re-organisation and job redesign have tended to be relatively neglected as policy issues in the UK. The paper then moves on to explore the problems and challenges that Norway and Finland have faced in developing programmes aimed at 'workplace development', and tries to assess what UK policy makers could learn from these experiences given their willingness to do so. Finally, the paper examines how the UK might approach initiating a publicly supported programme of workplace development, albeit from within a very different and perhaps less hospitable social, political and institutional environment.
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