Thursday, June 18, 2009

Challenges of Work Organization Development in the Knowledge-Based Economy

Challenges of Work Organization Development
in the Knowledge-Based Economy

1. Characteristic Features of the Knowledge-Based Economy
There has been a great deal of discussion in recent years about whether the technologically
most advanced industrial nations are changing to a new type of economic growth.
Specifically, the debate has gained momentum because of the economic growth and rising
employment, which continued unabated in the USA throughout the 1990s without any
significant inflationary pressure.1 The main features of this new phase of economic
development from the perspective of corporate operating environments can be captured as
follows:
· The ability to create, process, store, transfer and protect knowledge has become an
increasingly important source of competitive strength for companies. The growing
knowledge intensity of products and operative processes in all sectors of the economy will
lead to a blurring of the distinction between manufacturing and services, and ultimately to
obliteration of the distinction.
· The ability to learn rapidly and develop constantly and to efficiently use this ability to
generate constant product innovations has become the key success factor for an increasing
number of enterprises. Their main developmental problem is no more rationalization
within or optimization of the production process, but continuous optimization and
development of the entire product concept.
· The new information and communications technologies (ICT), based on microelectronics,
telecommunications and network-oriented computer software, hold a key role as economic
growth engines. ICT is the technology base for the greater knowledge intensity of goods
and services and also one of the factors which promotes companies to acquire improved
capacity to learn, if only used in a way which combines its new possibilities with
innovative forms of work organization and enhancing of skills of the workforce.
2. New Organizational Logic
Changes in the structure and growth dynamics of the economy are bringing about a
transformation of enterprise organization, jobs and employment in advanced industrial
nations. In the post-war decades, it was typical of major companies to strive for advanced
vertical and horizontal integration. Horizontal integration was a means to seek growth by
expanding into new sectors. Vertical integration, which was characteristic of the Fordist
production model, was a means to internalize possible market risks in different phases of the
value chains.
The globalization of competition, which is supported by the liberalization of trade and the
deregulation of markets, and the development of ICT have, however, signified an end to the
trends of horizontal and vertical integration. An increasing number of companies have chosen
in recent years to focus on a narrower segment of products and of the value chain, around
which they build their core competence. Horizontal disintegration is associated with the fact
that when operations become globalized, there is less need for companies to balance their cash
1 OECD: A New Economy? The Changing Role of Innovation and Information Technology in Growth. OECD.
Paris 2000.
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flow over economic cycles by betting on different industries; instead, balance can be sought
through exploiting differences in regional markets. Another important reason for the increased
horizontal disintegration is that amid tougher competition, management finds it hard to
achieve competitive advantages in several sectors or product segments at once.
ICT helps rethink the Fordist production economic logic of vertical integration of the value
chains by creating new possibilities to reshape them into new business areas. A good example
of this kind of radical change during the recent years is the spreading of e-commerce along
with the rapid development of the Internet.
E-commerce means “doing business over the Internet, selling goods and services which are
delivered offline as well as products which can be ‘digitised’ and delivered online, such as
computer software”.2 In the OECD Economic Outlook (June 2000) it is expected that by the
year of 2005 e-commerce transactions between businesses (B2B) and between businesses and
consumers (B2C) will account for about 5 per cent of inter-company transactions and retail
sales respectively. The biggest growth prospects of e-commerce are in B2B, in which
companies expect efficiency gains especially in the form of lower procurement and inventory
costs and better supply chain management. In the B2C domain, the biggest potentials are in
the production of goods and services which can be digitised, thereby allowing substantial
savings in production and delivery costs. Some authors3 see the spread of e-commerce as a
major example of an application of Net technologies (the Internet, extranets, intranets), which
signifies a fundamental shift in the economics of information. The Net technologies break the
traditional trade-off between richness (bandwidth, customization, interactivity) and reach
(connectivity) of information, opening up immense possibilities for deconstruction of the
value chains in virtually all businesses. As companies start to expand the utilization of Net
technologies in their operations beyond mere purchasing and selling of their products, it
makes sense to start to talk of ‘e-business’, instead of ‘e-commerce’. Comprehensive shift to
e-business may be accompanied in some companies not only with ‘webification’ of current
business models or active search for new ones, but also with active search for new business
opportunities and new paradigmatic ways of thinking about business.
Even though ICT technologies in many cases open up new possibilities to streamline
individual value chains, the ruling principle behind the organization of value chains in the
knowledge-based economy becomes horizontal coordination rather than vertical integration.
According to the new organizational logic, core companies of the chains focus on their core
competencies and outsource other activities, striving to retain responsibility only for the most
strategic and economically most productive parts of the chain. They usually ‘go downstream’
in the value chain, closer to the client, with embedded and more comprehensive services and
integrated solutions.
At the same time, the reshaping of value chains with the help of advanced ICT is leading to
new kinds of cell-like organizational structures and networks of companies, with high levels
of interdependence, and to redefinition of bargaining power relations between companies
located in different parts of the chain. The core companies’ dependence on other companies in
the supporting and related industries and associated services is growing to the exent that the
real actors in the global innovation competition are not so much individual companies any
2 OECD Economic Outlook No. 67, June 2000.
3 Evans, P.B. & Wurster, T.S.: Strategy and the New Economics of Information. Harvard Business Review Sep.-
Oct./1997, p.71-82.
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more, but, increasingly, networks of companies or even entire clusters of industries, i.e.
‘networks of networks’. The competitive position and the bargaining power of individual
companies in the new environment is affected by the level of the knowledge they possess,
how specific it is from the point of view of other companies, and its value for other
companies.
3. Transformation of Jobs and Employment
There has been little empirical analysis so far of how these changes will affect jobs and
employment. In an environment in which the main driving force of economic growth is the
production, use and exploitation of knowledge, a special challenge for this kind of analysis is
that it should link expected changes in the labour market to those in the market for the
demand for and production of knowledge. From the point of view companies, this means that
they are increasingly interested in the workforce as a generator of knowledge and not so much
as a source of physical labour which, however, still remains the base of economic production
and social reproduction.
Companies are now less than ever before tied by any physical and local resources and
boundaries in their operations; they can utilize different sources of knowledge with the help of
advanced ICT for the production of their products on a global scale and in an ever more
flexible manner. The shift of emphasis in the utilization of workforce from a source of
physical labour to a generator of knowledge has a built-in mechanism, which threatens to
reinforce social segregation in the labour market. In the production of knowledge, the
difference between the performance capacity of individual employees in terms of added value
will grow almost infinitely, compared to the case in work based on physical tasks, where
differences are smaller and somehow proportionate. There is thus an inherent trend towards a
more uneven distribution of work, earned income, and other terms and conditions of
employment.
In knowledge-based companies, which compete on the ability to generate constant product
innovations, there is a continuous demand for people with versatile professional skills
combined with international skills (such as language skills) and digital literacy, i.e. the ability
to work in an environment which requires the use of ICT. Companies are now increasingly
seeking new employees based on factors describing the work orientation as well. Companies
typically assume that work orientation criteria – such as, quality consciousness, reliability,
precision, care, commitment, trust, creativity, openness to new ideas, entrepreneurial spirit,
enthusiasm, etc. – express an individual’s potential for accumulating tacit knowledge, the
significance of which as a source of competitive strength for companies is growing with
networking and the increasing pace of change of their environment.4
In the new environment, the most strategic functions for the company are knowledge
integration, and planning, coordination and control of the company’s core activities. Such
functions demand high levels of both explicit and tacit and company-specific knowledge. For
this reason, knowledge-based companies strive to keep their most senior knowledge workers
4 Lundvall, B.-Å.: The Learning Economy. In OECD: Knowledge Management in the Learning Society. OECD.
Paris 2000, p.125-141; Nonaka, I. & Teece. D.J. (eds.): Managing Industrial Knowledge: Creation, Transfer and
Utilization. Sage. London – Thousand Oaks – New Delhi 2001.
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committed through attractive arrangements, often involving ownership shares, share of
profits, bonuses, fringe benefits and autonomy at work. The other side of the coin is the
workforce less equipped with knowledge integration skills and the potential for accumulating
tacit knowledge needed in the new environment for companies. Their labour market position
is becoming increasingly insecure and volatile. Fragmentation of the labour market is
associated with declining bargaining power of trade unions and works councils (or other
respective forms of representative employee participation) and in some industrial nations also
with erosion of the system of industrial relations and dismantling of the welfare state.
The spread of e-commerce is likely to have both direct and indirect impacts on labour markets
and the composition of employment. Internet penetration is substantially higher among large
than small companies and there is the danger that many small companies lack the skills and
financial resources needed to make comprehensive use of the Net technologies. The skills
deficit of small companies is probably bigger in the B2C domain than in B2B, where, for
example, the demands for specialized marketing skills are not as high and where there is more
room for specialized niche businesses. On the other hand, the rapid development of Net
technologies is speeding up establishment of offensive, growth-oriented firms with lean and
cost-efficient organizational structures for whom the Internet is the only marketplace and who
build their whole business concept accordingly. Companies with a holistic e-business concept
need people with high knowledge integration skills and with special skills, such as software
development and programming, graphics design, content provision, and ICT-mediated
customer service, sales and marketing. The increased possibilities for digitisation of products
and for streamlining of logistics chains will probably lead to a decreased demand for
‘traditional’ sales staff in businesses like retail trade, insurance and travel agencies as well as
in packaging, distribution and storage. For instance, a Finnish expert study5 assesses that in
the provision of simple, routine-like services it is possible to achieve even tenfold
improvement in productivity by transferring the delivery online. In standardized services, but
with a limited number of options available to the client, the potential for improvement was
assessed to be two- or threefold, whereas in highly customized services the study considered
the opportunity to provide them online to be rather poor, with not much room for the
improvement of productivity. This example strikingly shows how the impacts of ICT and ecommerce
vary greatly from individual case to case, making it difficult to draw firm
conclusions on their effects on macro level.
Changes in the structure and growth dynamics of the economy are not unproblematic from the
point of view of the workforce with high-level knowledge integration skills, either. As the key
generators of added value for the company, they are exposed to continuous pressure for
innovation, learning, professional development and showing of their commitment and valuecreating
capacity to the company. With globalized competition and advanced ICT, work of
the highly skilled knowledge workers is becoming more virtual and mobile. New forms of
ICT-mediated working (called as ‘teleworking’, ‘e-working’, ‘virtual working’, ‘mobile
working’, etc.) unchain work from the traditional boundaries of time and space. This opens up
knowledge workers better opportunities for autonomy, self-regulation and work-life balance,
on the one hand, but leaves them more vulnerable to ever increasing performance and
innovation pressure in the form of excessive work load and working hours, on the other hand.
In practice, highly skilled knowledge workers often find it difficult to control the boundaries
5 Järvelä, P., Lankinen, M., Seppänen, I. & Tinnilä, M.: Scenarios for Electronic Service Provision (in Finnish).
Finnish Ministry of Labour. ESF Publications 87/01. Helsinki 2001.
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between work and personal lives, despite the fact that they usually enjoy more autonomy at
work and have better chances of flexible working arrangements than the other groups of
employees. Accordingly, there is empirical evidence that the incidence of stress increased
during the past decade in many OECD countries.6
4. High Road or Low Road of Innovation, or No Innovation at
All?
The increased pressure on company management by globalized competition and the demands
of impatient stock markets for showing constantly improving shareholder value makes it
attractive for management to follow a strategy, which puts the major emphasis on seeking
competitive advantage by means of cutting costs. Focusing on cost competition directs
management’s attention to raising of operational effectiveness through continuous process
improvement, often accompanied with a streamlined work organization with no slack
resources, numerical flexibility in the use of labour, no organized skills development, and
utilization of ICT mainly as a tool for further automation and centralized control.
Though nearly 50 per cent of employees in the EU Member States already use computers in
their work, only half of them had got special training to that.7 There are many reasons for the
weak incentive of firms to make investments in vocational training of their employees at large
in an environment of cutthroat competition. Companies aiming at systematic rationalization of
their processes often limit training only to a carefully selected core group of employees
working in the most strategic knowledge integration functions and occupations. Holistic
company-wide policies to enhance the working capacity, skills and creativity of employees
and, thus, their employment opportunities, would often be too risky from a company’s point
of view. Moreover, many companies, especially SMEs, lack the knowledge and capacity in
the area of design of work and technology. This lack of knowledge contributes to an
orientation to company development, which can be called as the ‘low road of innovation’.8
The low road development path may lead to sound productive and financial performance in
the short term, but there is the danger that it undermines the formation of social capital within
the company and the mobilization of human resources in support of company goals, which are
major preconditions for longer-term knowledge-generation and innovation capacity of the
company.
There are also companies, which follow an alternative path of development, i.e. the ‘high road
of innovation’. High-road companies seek competitive advantage primarily from quality,
customization and balanced process and product innovation, supporting this by structural
redundancy of resources, functional flexibility in the use of labour, broad participation of
employees, and genuinely team-based forms of work organization which foster learning and
skills development of employees. These companies look to advances of ICT with a view to
releasing the productive and innovative potential of the employees rather than for control and
6 Gabriel, P. & Liimatainen, M.-R.: Mental Health in the Workplace: Introduction. ILO. Geneva 2000.
7 Commission of the European Communities: Benchmarking Report Following-Up the ‘Strategies for Jobs in the
Information Society’. CEC (2001) 222. Brussels 2001.
8 European Work & Technology Consortium: Work Organisation, Competitiveness, Employment: the European
Approach. European Commission. DG for Employment and Social Affairs. CE-V/8-98-001-EN-C. 1998.
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automation purposes. They view knowledge generation as a process calling for active
involvement on the part of the entire staff.
There is ample empirical evidence in support of the argument that companies, which have
adopted new work, organizational and human resource management practices as ‘bundles’,
have been able to achieve significant benefits in both productive and financial performance.9
The problems with accurate definition and measurement of these practices make it difficult to
provide statistically representative data on their diffusion in Europe. Many studies
demonstrate, however, that companies following a determined innovation strategy, whether
the high road or low road, are still relatively thin on the ground:
· The data of the EPOC Survey (Employee direct Participation in Organizational Change) by
the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions on 10
EU countries stated that 33 per cent of the responding organizations (N=5,768) used group
delegation. However, only less than 4 per cent of all workplaces were characterized as
proper ‘team-based organizations’ with a high coverage and intensity of group
delegation.10
· The EPOC Survey also showed that the number of workplaces reporting no activity for
‘downsizing/back to core business’ was 69 per cent, for outsourcing and subcontracting 78
per cent, for working time flexibility 63 per cent, and for contract flexibility (part-time
work or temporary contracts) 66 per cent. 30 per cent also reported no innovation in their
products or technology.11
· The Nordflex Project studied the spread of modern, flexible work organizations in
Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden (N=c. 6,000). The study grouped workplaces as
‘front-runners’ if they had a high degree of decentralized responsibility and a system of
organized human capital development, and used teams, job rotation and a compensation
system based on results or quality. In Denmark, Finland and Sweden, only 13 per cent of
the private-sector workplaces fulfilled all the five criteria, and in Norway the share
remained as low as 5 per cent.12
9 E.g. Antila, J. & Ylöstalo, P.: Functional Flexibility and Workplace Success in Finland. Finnish Ministry of
Labour. Labour Policy Studies 206. Helsinki 1999; Appelbaum, E., Bailey, T., Berg, P. & Kalleberg, A.L.:
Manufacturing Advantage: Why High Performance Work Systems Pay Off. Cornell University Press. Ithaca, NY
2000; Cully, M., Woodland, S., O’Reilly, A. & Dix, G.: Britain at Work: As Depicted by the 1998 Workplace
Employee Relations Survey. Routledge. London – New York 1999; Goudswaard, A. & Dhondt, S.: The
Changing World of Work in the Netherlands. TNO. Hoofddorp 1999; Huselid, M.A.: The Impact of Human
Resource Management Practices on Turnover, Productivity, and Corporate Performance. Academy of
Management Journal 38 (1995):3, p.635-672; Ichniowski, C., Shaw, K. & Prennushi, G.: The Effects of Human
Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines. American Economic Review
87 (1997):3, p.291-313; Lay, G., Shapira, P. & Wegel, J. (eds.): Innovation in Production (Technology,
Innovation, and Policy) No 8, 1999; MacDuffie, J.P.: Human Resource Bundles and Manufacturing
Performance: Organizational Logic and Flexible Production Systems in the World Auto Industry. Industrial and
Labor Relations Review 48 (1995):2, p.197-221; NUTEK: Flexibility Matters – Flexible Enterprises in the
Nordic Countries. NUTEK B 1999:7. Stockholm 1999; Whittington, R., Pettigrew, A., Peck, S., Fenton, E. &
Conyon, M.: Change and Complementarities in the New Competitive Landscape: A European Panel Study,
1992-1996. Organization Science 10 (1999):5, p.583-600.
10 Benders, J., Huijgen, F., Pekruhl, U. & O’Kelly, K.P.: Useful but Unused – Group Work in Europe. European
Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. Dublin 1999.
11 EPOC Research Group: Employment through Flexibility – Squaring the Circle? European Foundation for the
Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. Dublin 1999.
12 NUTEK, op. cit.
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· The Workplace Employee Relations Survey of 1998 studied the spread of new forms of
work organization at British workplaces. The data (N=2,191) showed that even though
teamworking in one form or another was quite widespread, only 3 per cent of all
workplaces operated teams that corresponded to a model of ‘fully autonomous
teamworking’ where teams also decide how work is to be done and appoint their own team
leaders.13
· The INNFORM Project was based on a survey on large and medium-sized firms in the
United Kingdom, Germany and other Western European countries (N=459). Though many
companies in Europe changed their organizational structures, processes or boundaries
during the course of the panel study from 1992 to 1996, only very few of them adopted
changes in all three dimensions. According to the authors, “it seems that holistic or
systemic transformation is still very rare, involving fewer than one in twenty European
firms”.14
E-commerce and e-business are business innovations as such. There are many reasons to
believe, however, that deployment of the Net technologies in companies’ business processes
has been associated so far more often with the low-road than the high-road alternative.
Because the Internet reduces the importance of physical location, it lowers the barriers to
entry for new competitors, intensifying thus the rivalry in the market and at the same also
making it more difficult for companies to differentiate themselves. The outcome is a greater
pressure for companies to engage in mere price competition. The trend to competing solely on
price is reinforced also by the fact that the Internet applications companies deploy are very
similar, often drawing on generic packages offered by third-party developers. The Internet as
such is, however, an extremely flexible technology. Internet architecture and standards make
it possible to build also truly integrated and customized systems, which would allow
companies to follow quality- and customer-oriented strategies in line with the high-road
concept of innovation.15
There is no clear pattern in the adoption of ‘bundles’ of flexible and innovative work,
organizational and human resource management practices across countries, industries or
workplaces in Europe. The reported incidence of these practices is somewhat higher in
Northern Europe than in the Southern parts of Europe. It also seems that SMEs, which
constitute the great majority of all enterprises in Europe, are lagging behind large enterprises
in adopting these practices.
The main policy issue facing European policy makers does not seem to be the choice between
the high road or low road of innovation, but between innovation of any kind or no innovation
at all. Given the growing knowledge intensity of the economy, globalization of competition
and the new possibilities opened up by advanced ICT, there is the danger that a growing
number of European workplaces are not sufficiently prepared to the challenges of the
knowledge-based economy and, consequently, will be stuck into traditional markets with no
reasonable growth prospects and doomed as laggards in the global innovation competition.
13 Cully et al., op. cit.
14 Whittington et al., op. cit.
15 Porter, M.E.: Strategy and the Internet. Harvard Business Review Mar./2001, p.63-78.
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5. Policy Challenges
Work organization development is an area in which single European-wide approaches, let
alone practical solutions or institutional arrangements, are difficult to find, owing to national
differences in social values, industrial structures, framework conditions, industrial relations,
etc. This is one of the main conclusions of a recent survey on government support
programmes for new forms of work organizations in EU Member States.16
Advance of the knowledge-based economy is, however, leading to a situation in which
companies and company networks as well as regions and nations are facing an increasingly
globalized competition on innovation and productivity development. A major policy
challenge for Europe is to turn the diversity, but at the same time the rich variety, of national
approaches, programmes and experiments in the area of work organization development into
a fresh innovation- and productivity-supporting framework through comprehensive dialogue
between governments, the social partners, R&D institutions, workplaces and all other possible
stakeholders. This dialogue between stakeholders would serve achieving of the strategic goal
set up for Europe at the Lisbon European Council in March 2000, namely that Europe should
“become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable
of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”.
Europe-wide interactive approach to work organization development must be supported by
establishing and strengthening sufficient social infrastructure for the creation and
dissemination of knowledge on work organization. Today, there are still many shortcomings
in the infrastructure, which render the dialogue difficult.
5.1. Work Organization Development in Public Policy
The status given to work organization development issues in public policy decision-making is
a major determinant of governments’ room for manouvre to influence change in workplaces.
· There is an urgent need to adopt a holistic and systemic view on innovation in public
policy, which focuses on technological and organizational (and other social) innovations
alike and on supporting the integration between the ‘new’ and ‘old’ economy, instead of
seeing ‘modernization’ of the economy primarily as the development of new cutting-edge
technologies. In this policy framework, work organization development should constitute
an integrated and well-established aspect of the new broadly-defined innovation policy.
· The social partners play a key role in creating an atmosphere of trust in which a shared
understanding of the importance of work organization development is possible to generate
in workplaces and in the society at large. Governments can foster dialogue between the
social partners and help solve the problems that may threathen to dry it up. Cross-national
collective bargaining and other new elements in the agenda of European industrial relations
may be utilized as means of broadening the scope for this dialogue in Europe.
16 Business Decisions Limited: Government Support Programmes for New Forms of Work Organisation: A
Report for DG Employment & Social Affairs. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
Luxembourg 2000.
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· Counteracting the inherent trend towards a growing social segregation in the knowledgebased
economy is a major challenge for governments in creating socially and ethically
sound conditions for publicly supported work organization development programmes. This
calls for, in particular, building of flexible systems of further training and other forms of
support for skills development, measures to promote the maintenance of working capacity
of the workforce, and creation of sufficient social networks for those in the danger of
exclusion from the labour market as well as systems of monitoring problems of the quality
of working life and employee well-being at work.
· Governments should target sufficient resources to raising public awareness on the benefits
of new forms of work organization on both companies and employees alike in the changing
context of competition where the role of knowledge generation and innovation is growing
in importance. Means to raise awareness may range from mere dissemination of
information through newsletters, databases and campaigns or encouraging workplaces,
R&D institutes and the social partners to launch activities of their own to funding and
coordinating work organization development programmes proper.
5.2. Programme Design and Implementation
At the outset the focus of work organization development programmes was typically on
problems arising from Taylorist working arrangements being taken to extremes, such as the
ergonomic and psychological problems of repetitive and monotonous work and the lack of
autonomy and influence at work. Even though these and many of the other ‘old’ problems of
Taylorism are still a relevant object of development in many European workplaces, in the
environment of the knowledge-based economy the starting points for work organization
development programmes have become more complex.
· The real actors in the knowledge-based economy are increasingly networks of companies
and not so much individual companies any more. The focus of programmatic development
on work organization should shift, accordingly, from the level of individual workstations
or working units to cover company- and network-level issues as well, calling for new
conceptual frameworks and developmental models.
· Due to this change of context and focus, it becomes increasingly difficult to find readymade
expert solutions, standards or ‘best practices’ to the new problems and development
needs facing companies and their employees in the knowledge-based economy. Acquiring
the sufficient expertise to successfully deal with these ever more complex issues in
programme design and implementation calls for combination of different kinds of
expertise, achieved only through broad dialogue between all relevant actors, whether
researchers or practioners.
· At best, work organization development programmes can become important forums for
exchanging information and experiences on ‘good practices’ between different kind of
workplaces and other actors. Achieving the ‘critical mass’ of workplaces and other actors
such as R&D institutes with sufficient diversity is a major factor fostering opportunities for
interactive learning within the programme frameworks. Special attention in programme
design and implementation with respect to interactive learning should be paid to involving
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also industries, regions and workplaces, which are lagging behind in terms of ICT and
work organization development infrastructure.
· Operating in an increasingly networked and dynamic environment will grow the risk that
programmatic development is not focusing on ‘correct’ and the most actual problems in
working life, or that it may be providing ‘obsolete’ solutions to them, possibly with even
negative externalities. Work organization development programmes, therefore, need
greater sensitivity in monitoring the effects of programmatic activities and the flexibility to
make any necessary redefinitions of their content and forms. Areas in the environment of
the knowledge-based economy which require particular sensitivity from monitoring will be
ensuring the participation of employees, preventing processes of social segregation, or
even exclusion, recognizing new emerging problems in working life, and pre-empting
ecological risks in connection with change.

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