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The first issue of 2014introduces – among other topics – thematic articles on Globalization and International Labour Solidarity. You can see all the articles in the left column on this page.

Coming up: thematic issue, August 2014:

Understanding working environment policies, programs and instruments

Regulation through labour inspection of the working environment commenced in the 19th Century, and since regulation – in a broad sense – has expanded into a wide field of activities which to a great extent involves the state but increasingly also a number of other stakeholders such as the labour market parties, international organisations and non-governmental institutions. Working environment regulation ranges from traditional command-control regulation by the state through new forms of soft regulation to collective agreements and international standards. The literature on working environment policies and their consequences is quite extensive, and the call for evidence based policies is getting ever stronger.

Yet the understanding of how, why and under which circumstances such policies and related activities work is surprisingly limited. Epidemiological intervention research mainly focus on clearly defined specific actions and have difficulties in making designs which explain how national programmes work, and political science studies have been more occupied with employer compliance to regulation than with the causes for employers to comply which could open for the understanding of why and how programmes work. In addition to this, contemporary work environment issues, in particular psychosocial work environment problems, are marked by a high degree of complexity and no well understood singular causes or solutions. And the processes instigated to improve the working environment are difficult to disentangle from the social, political and cultural context of the work and the workplace.  The new work environment issues therefore call for new ways of theorizing the policies and processes through which they are being dealt with.

We have therefore called for papers which explore this gap in the research literature. It can be theoretical papers discussing methodologies to study these relations. Examples can be the use of mechanisms and context in realistic evaluation theory or new possibilities for performative or social constructivist approaches to the understanding of working environment policies. Analyses of the role of working environment policies in relation to broader societal developments such as New Public Management, globalisation or the financial crisis are also welcome. Empirical studies of working environment policies are also relevant. Examples could be studies of particular elements in working environment policies such as the role of labour inspectors, certified occupational safety and health management systems, economic incentives, joint employer-union activities or the role of other non-governmental stakeholders.

Editors:  The journal’s editors assisted by ass. professor Klaus T. Nielsen, Roskilde University, & ass. professor Pernille Hohnen, Aalborg University

(Deadline for submissions was February 15th 2014)