Emotional labour in Lean Health Care - some experiences from Sweden

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Emotional labour in Lean Health Care - some experiences from Sweden

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Publication Conference Paper, other
Title Emotional labour in Lean Health Care - some experiences from Sweden
Author(s) Sederblad, Per
Date 2010
English abstract
During the last decades, there has been a strong influence from Japan on organizational theory and management practices in the West. It started in the 80’s with culture in focus, but also an interest for work organization and team work. The most important wave of Japanese influence however started in the early 90’s with the concept Lean Production (LP), a US-interpretation of the Japanese production management (JPM) system. In this concept the work team is central. The period since then can briefly be characterized as a period of diffusion of LP, to industry in an increasing number of societies and to new sectors such as private and public services, especially health care. In Sweden there has during the last decade been a rapid diffusion of Lean Production systems in industry now including most companies. During the last years several steps to introduce Lean Health Care (LHC) have been taken, e. g. at the University hospital in Lund. The aim of this paper is to discuss how LHC can lead to intensification of work by use of team work and normative control and how emotional labour is influenced by this development. I will in some sections of the paper use the concept JPM instead of LHC, as I will discuss the development in a broader sense, including cultural aspects. Cultural aspects are almost neglected in the LP and LHC discourses. The paper is based on research projects that I have conducted since the late 80’s regarding: team work in Swedish industrial companies; mergers and acquisitions between Swedish and foreign companies in the automotive industry; health care in Sweden; case studies of team work in Japan. Methods used have been questionnaires, interviews and observations. Regarding my research on LHC, documents have been studied and some informant interviews have been made with nurses and administrators. In seminars with researchers and professionals tentative research results have been discussed. In the case of LHC, I think the cultural aspects should be focused. The team control can for the nurses be regarded as a preferable alternative to the traditional control by medicines and administrators. However, the problems of stressful work situations and the dominance of emotional labour over emotion work will remain and even increase with LHC, if not the unions will be able to resist attempts to intensification of work from the managers and administrators. In Sweden, the unions in Health Care are basically integrated with the professional organizations that might increase possibilities of resistance and union control.
Link http://ewds.strath.ac.uk/ilpc/PreviousConferences/ILPC2010Papers.aspx (external link to publication)
Publisher Rutgers University, New Brunswick
Pages 8 p
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Emotional Labour
Lean Health Care
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note 28th Annual International Labour Process Conference, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, USA, March 15-17, 2010
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/11289 (link to this page)
Link http://www.ilpc.org.uk/Home.aspx (external link to related web page)

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