Health in Restructuring. Innovative Approaches and Policy Recommendations
Enterprise restructuring can no longer be understood as a temporal crisis. Current developments show that for many organizations and even regions or sectors restructuring became a recurrent and continuous process. But often restructuring processes fail to produce the intended effects of secured or increased organizational profitability. On the contrary restructuring puts the physical and psycho-social health of all organizational members at risk. Besides the uncovering of pre-existing health problems, also the chronification of these illnesses had to be documented both for laid-off workers and survivors of the restructuring. But not only increased rates of sick leave and presenteeism of sick employees deteriorate the organizational performance. Some of the irritations that restructuring can cause also directly impede inner-organizational interactions. Therefore, restructuring should be understood as an individual as well as an organizational stressor. To limit the risks of enterprise restructuring effectively, several groups of actors at the individual, enterprise and societal level have to collaborate towards the implementation of healthier change procedures and to create a social convoy in occupational transitions for workers affected by dismissal. The European Expert Group on Health in Restructuring (HIRES) was coordinated by Prof. Dr. Thomas Kieselbach from the University of Bremen and supported by DG Employment of the European Commission. It presents with this report a concise overview of the effects of enterprise restructuring and the social frameworks and change procedures that should be considered for “healthier restructuring”. The results of this project are based on the interdisciplinary expertises from 15 European project partners and 12 external experts. With its policy recommendations and the case studies of innovative approaches on a company and regional level the report addresses policy makers, governmental structures like labour inspectorates or federal institutes, unions, managers, occupational health and safety personnel, shareholders and workers alike. The HIRES recommendations are even more important if we consider the current crisis with its unprecedented effects on employment and the health of employees.
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