FSD2955 Practices of Working Life 2012: Employers

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  • University of Tampere. Work Research Center (WRC)


businesses, employees, employers, employment contracts, flexible working time, high-growth companies, innovation, occupational life, organizations, private sector, process development, product development, public sector, quality control, well-being at work, workers participation

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The survey focused on organisational practices and organisational change in Finland. Data were collected from private and public sector employers through telephone interviews. The contents of the survey were influenced by the MEADOW (Measuring the Dynamics of Organisations and Work) tool created to collect data on change at work and in organisations at the European level, both from employers and employees. Another influence were the national MEADOW surveys in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. This dataset forms the Finnish employer-level MEADOW survey. However, some parts of the Finnish survey differ from corresponding surveys in the other Nordic countries as the Finnish data contain more information on, for instance, organisational change and ways to implement changes, as well as on the role of employees in those changes and employee well-being. Both employer-level (FSD2955) and employee-level (FSD2954) surveys have been archived and the data can be combined using the organisation number variable.

First, the interviewees were asked about their job in the organisation, and how long they had been doing it. Main characteristics of the organisation were investigated with questions on the number of employees in Finland and elsewhere, years of operation, type of organisation, main products or services, and main customer groups. The share of employees with temporary, part-time or employment agency contracts were surveyed. Further questions studied changes in staff numbers in the past two years and the reason behind employment growth or decline. Organisational structure was investigated by asking about the number of organisational levels, organisation into divisions or departments, team work practices, team autonomy, and involvement of non-managerial employees in improvement and development work.

Questions on flexibility at work charted whether non-managerial employees could telecommute or choose when to start or end their daily work. Quality monitoring practices, customer satisfaction monitoring, and the use of ICTs such as online services and the social media were studied. One topic focused on collaboration with other organisations and the outsourcing of activities or production, and changes in these practices. The respondents were also asked whether the organisation had encountered difficulties in hiring or retaining staff, what percentage of employees had an annual performance appraisal or had undertaken training, whether meetings were held between line managers/supervisors and the staff they are responsible for, and whether the organisation had written down goals for employee well-being and had nominated a person or group responsible for well-being issues.

One theme pertained to whether national or international areas accounted for the largest share of the private company's turnover, and whether the organisation had made major changes in their operations because of certain factors such as enviromental regulations, labour costs, increased competition, changes in demand, budgetary constraints etc. Innovative performance was investigated by asking about the productivity of the organisation compared with the competitors, new or significantly improved products or services introduced in the past two years, and new or significantly improved processes or marketing methods introduced. Some questions covered organisational changes in the past two years, type of change and whether a consultant had been hired and for what. The respondents were asked whether the organisation had a strategic plan in written form and what were the goals aimed at.

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