Friends or Foes? (completed)

Understanding the role of firms and workplaces for worker health  

About the project

The project analyses the importance of firm and workplace dimensions for the level of sickness absences in Norway and Denmark, and for specific worker groups. It comprises several subprojects.

The work carried out at ISS falls mainly within Subprojects 1 and 5.

  • Subproject 1 studies how different ownership and management structures as well as changes in these structures affect sickness absence patterns. Different ownership and management structures (e.g., foreign-owned, family-owned, stock company, size, female-managed) are known to affect labour management and pay, and may also be important for absences.
  • Subproject 2 studies how firm and workplace norms and culture affect worker sickness absences. It is based on qualitative interview data and register data. The latter data allow us to study how norms may have changed the last decade, and how our conclusions are sensitive to the length of absence and kind of absence.
  • Subproject 3 analyses the relationship between work environment, compensation and sickness absences in Norway and Denmark. Are badly-paid workers more likely to experience injuries and illnesses than others, or is it the other way around? We also study the importance of different workplace payment schemes for the sickness absence probability.
  • Subproject 4 studies competition, tenders and the impact on sickness absence. On register data we study how the level and changes in the level of competition affect sickness absences. To get information on the impact of tenders we conduct questionnaires and qualitative interviews with employees and management in the bus transport sector.
  • Subproject 5 analyses how gender differences in sickness absence are affected by the work environment characteristics of subprojects 1-4.
  • Subproject 6 analyses how sickness absence patterns for ethnic groups are explained by the work environment characteristics of sub-projects 1-4) and the importance of plant closures. This may shed light on issues such as discrimination and segmentation.

Friends or Foes? Illustration:


The work at ISS is led by professor Arne Mastekaasa, and Anne May Melsom is attached as a research fellow on the project. The project is done in cooperation with Institute of Social Research


Institute for Social Research

Published Oct. 19, 2010 11:40 AM - Last modified Apr. 25, 2016 12:37 PM


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