Performance pressure and organizational change – frames for innovative behavior and wellbeing in the Danish health and education sector

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Performance pressure and organizational change – frames for innovative behavior and wellbeing in the Danish health and education sector.
Peter Nielsen, Department of Political Science, University of Aalborg,


During the last ten years, employees in both the Danish health and the education sector have experienced political reforms, which have increased performance pressure and organizational change. Both sectors are characterized by professional organizations in which knowledge is important. This article sets focus on the dynamics of professional work relations approached as knowledge organization and investigate how the employees experience the organizational change and whether they are involved directly or indirectly in the change processes. It further investigates the influence of autonomy, discretion and learning in the work practices. Finally the effect of change, involvement, autonomy and problem solving on innovative behavior and on well-being among the employees are examined. Empirical data is from the Danish Meadow survey This survey links information from private and public workplaces at the employer and employee level. Data was collected in spring 2012 and resulted in a research sample of 617 private and public workplaces and 3362 employees. 543 are employed in 94 public education workplaces and 700 in 128 public health workplaces. The results of the analysis show that change with significant impact on work assignments is common in both sectors. The employees are to varying degrees involved directly or indirectly in the change processes, even in the early phases. The autonomy of the employees is often embedded in team organizations and discretion is still common in the work processes. Similar tendencies are found for complex problem solving and learning. Test of innovative behavior drivers show strong positive effects from level of individual involvement in change processes and degree of complex problem solving in work. Test of the drivers of wellbeing show positive effects from individual involvement and level of discretion and negative effects from change and complex problem solving.

Keywords: Change, involvement, discretion, learning, innovative behavior, wellbeing

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