Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
An empirical study of bureaucratic and post-bureaucratic characteristics in 90 workplaces
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
Göteborgs universitet.
2008 (English)In: Economic and Industrial Democracy, ISSN 0143-831X, E-ISSN 1461-7099, Vol. 29, no 4, 541-564 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of the study was to explore bureaucratic and post- bureaucraticcharacteristics of organizational structure. A further aim was to investigate whether differences were related to types of industries. Eight organizational characteristics were measured, based on interviews with local managers at 90 workplaces in a broad sample of industries in mid-Sweden. The study showed that post-bureaucratic as well as bureaucratic characte ristics coexisted in most workplaces. The results are not in accordance with the rhetoric that considers bureaucracy obsolete in contemporary organizations. Significant differences were revealed between industries in seven of the eight characteristics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Sage Publications, 2008. Vol. 29, no 4, 541-564 p.
Keyword [en]
division of labour, flexibility, management, organization, working arrangements
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-19142DOI: 10.1177/0143831X08096228ISI: 000260339300006OAI: diva2:201465
Available from: 2009-03-04 Created: 2009-03-04 Last updated: 2016-08-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The importance of organizational characteristics for psychosocial working conditions and health
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The importance of organizational characteristics for psychosocial working conditions and health
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The importance of organizations for understanding differences in the working conditions and health of employees is often emphasized but rarely explored empirically. The general aim of this thesis is to describe organizational characteristics of workplaces, and to assess their impact on the psychosocial working conditions and health of employees. In modern working life, it is assumed that employees' working conditions and health are affected by a general transformation of workplaces from bureaucracy to post-bureaucracy.

 The organizational data used are based on structured interviews with managers at workplaces in different types of operations in mid-Sweden, whereas the individual data consist of a questionnaire to all employees working in the participating workplaces, resulting in a dataset of 90 workplaces and 4306 individuals. Descriptive analysis was carried out for comparison of organizational characteristics in different types of operations, while multilevel analysis was applied to investigate the magnitude of the organizational impact on psychosocial working conditions, and to analyze associations between organizational characteristics, psychosocial working conditions and health.

The results showed that the workplaces were mainly displayed by a combination of bureaucratic and post-bureaucratic characteristics, and these were unequally distributed between types of operations. A systematic variation in the psychosocial working conditions and health of employees was found between workplaces, and the variation in psychosocial working conditions was attributed to several organizational levels. The variation between workplaces was explained by both organizational characteristics of the workplaces and individual characteristics of the employees. Formalization, centralization, job enrichment, individual responsibility, soft control systems, and performance control were associated with psychosocial working conditions when controlled for occupational class, gender and age of employees, and a high degree of customer adaptation was associated with increased sickness absence of employees.  

It is concluded that bureaucracy and post-bureaucracy should not be regarded as dichotomies. Organizational characteristics of workplaces have an impact on the psychosocial working conditions and health of employees beyond occupational class. This has implications for both the theory and the practice of occupational health research. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Print & Media, 2009. 59 p.
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; 54
Organization, workplace, bureaucracy, post-bureaucracy, psychosocial working conditions, JDC model, multilevel analysis, health, sickness absence
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-18285 (URN)789-91-7264-735-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-03-27, Hörsal F, Humanisthuset, Umeå universitet, 901 87, Umeå , 10:15 (Swedish)
The Healthy Workplace Study
Available from: 2009-03-11 Created: 2009-02-02 Last updated: 2009-03-27Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Bolin, Malin
By organisation
Department of Sociology
In the same journal
Economic and Industrial Democracy

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 199 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link