The good work - A Swedish trade union vision in the shadow of lean production

  • Johansson J
  • Abrahamsson L
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Abstract

"The Good Work" (Det goda arbetet) was established as a highly praised and established concept in the Swedish working life debate in the middle of the 1980s. In this paper, we are going to discuss the concept in relation to the massive introduction of lean production in Swedish industry. The aim of this paper is to restore the theory of the good work into the industrial society of today. We will search for a model for 'good work' in balance between the demands from production and good conditions for a learning environment. The theoretical base for this paper will be found in both organisational research and research on production technology systems. We identify three strong trends in Swedish industrial companies giving both pitfalls and possibilities for the good work; the learning focus as a way to increase productivity and improve working conditions; Lean Production in most cases imply narrow short-cyclic work tasks; and the global market that reduces national discretion. As a result, we formulate a new set of criteria for "the good work". © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Lean production
  • Work environment
  • Work organisation

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Authors

  • Jan Johansson

  • Lena Abrahamsson

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