Sustainable work with interaction between innovation and job quality
In the chapter "The dynamics and (job) qualities of sustainable work", Susanne Boethius and Christopher Mathieu argue that achieving sustainable work requires recognizing the mutually generative interaction between innovation and job quality. That is, more innovation will bring more job quality and vice versa.
The chapter presents results from quantitative and qualitative empirical studies carried out in the QuInnE project (www.quinne.eu) and with the help of these studies the connection between innovation and different dimensions of job quality is clarified.
The chapter also presents two ideal types.
The first is “The virtuous spiral”, which is based on employee participation in innovation activities and improvements in job quality in line with the sustainable work agenda.
The second is "The vicious spiral", which is based on top-down innovation, Tayloristic work processes, little consequent investment in employee capabilities and innovation participation. This results in low and often declining job quality, which is characteristic of unsustainable work.
The chapter shows how sustainable (and unsustainable) work is produced through various processes, based on the interconnected choices regarding innovation and job quality that are already being made by companies and organisations.
The Swedish labour market model from a European perspective
Labour market models vary greatly between EU/EEA countries. The Nordic/Swedish model, which is based on self-regulation through collective agreements, stands in contrast to the French state-regulated model where minimum wages are set by the state.
According to the Swedish model, a large proportion of employees are union members and there is a high union presence in workplaces. The Swedish model means that employers' organisations and trade unions jointly negotiate wages and employment conditions. Swedish self-regulation is the most far-reaching among the Nordic countries, as government intervention is less common than in Denmark, Finland and Norway.
Anders Kjellberg's chapter "The shifting role of European unions in the social dialog: Sweden in a comparative context" reflects on the Swedish labour market model from a European perspective by looking at variations in trade union density, the coverage rate of collective agreements and the role of labour market partners and power relations in working life in a general context.
For EU member states, European legislation, labour law and other political measures play an important role. The current policy development from the European Commission regarding minimum wages illustrates the tensions between, on the one hand, the Nordic model with collective agreements and a stronger role of the social partners, and on the other hand, the EU regulation which gives a stronger position to European institutions such as the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Swedish trade union density is still among the highest in the world, but has declined significantly over the past twenty years. As a heavily export-dependent country dominated by large transnational corporations, Sweden is very exposed to globalization. This has shifted the balance of power in favour of transnational corporations, thereby limiting the efforts of unions to achieve developing jobs and improved working environments.