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  • 1.
    Moldvik, Isa
    et al.
    Department of Health, Medicine and Caring Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
    Ståhl, Christian
    Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden; HELIX Competence Centre, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
    Müssener, Ulrika
    Department of Health, Medicine and Caring Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
    Work ethics and societal norms influence sick leave and return to work: Tales of transformation2021In: Disability and Rehabilitation, ISSN 0963-8288, E-ISSN 1464-5165, Vol. 43, no 21, p. 3031-3040Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: This study’s purpose was to explore how people on sick leave manage societal norms and valuesrelated to work, and how these influence their perspectives of themselves throughout the rehabilitationprocess.

    Materials and methods: This was a longitudinal interview study with a narrative approach, comprising 38 interviews with 11 individuals on long-term sick leave. Data collection was conducted in two phasesand analysed iteratively through content analysis.

    Results: The results suggest that work ethics and societal norms influence individuals’ views of themselvesand the sick leave and rehabilitation process. Conforming one’s personal values to the work normcan create internal conflicts and cause feelings of shame for not being able to live up to the establishednorm. The strong work norm may create unrealistic expectations, which in some cases may result in constrainingthe return to work process.

    Conclusion: To transform a sick leave narrative into a positive one, societal norms and their influence onidentity needs to be recognised. Stakeholders involved in the process can contribute to a positive transformationby not only supporting return to work, but also to acknowledge and help people manage theirself-image as having a disability that limits their ability to work.

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  • 2.
    Norvell Gustavsson, Isa
    Linköpings universitet, Linköping, Sverige.
    The roots grow deep: strong yet changeable: social norms and working life2022Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The overarching aim of this thesis was to explore social norms in relation to work and its influence on individuals’ actions and mindsets. This has been done through four empirical studies which investigated the work norm from three different perspectives: 1) the work norm in practice, through the actions of individuals on sick leave during their rehabilitation process and in relation to the system and the actors within the system, as well as managers actions within their organisations; 2) exploring perceptions of the work norm in terms of socialisation to working life and structural changes; 3) a comparative exploration of the work norm between different contexts.

    The specific research questions were:

    1. How do individuals’ various experiences influence their values and perceptions of themselves and their actions in relation to work?

    2. How do individuals’ actions serve to reinforce or challenge the existing normative structures?

    3. Are there differences, and if so, how are they expressed, in the work norm between different societal and cultural contexts?

    This thesis was exploratory in nature and aimed at gaining a rich, in-depth understanding of the participants’ experiences, values and actions by adopting an inductive, qualitative approach. The data collection consisted of a combination of semi-structured individual interviews and group interviews. The material was analysed through qualitative content analysis and thematic analysis.

    Study I focused on experiences of being on long-term sick leave, how the participants manage the societal norms and values, and how these influence their perspective on themselves throughout the rehabilitation process.

    Study II was concerned with first-line managers’ actions and attitudes towards employees with repeated short-term sickness absence. Of particular interest was how social and organisational factors in the workplace influenced and shaped the managers’ actions.

    Studies III and IV focused on young adults’ experiences of work, the role of work in their lives and their work values. The third study was mainly interested in the young adults’ expectations about work and their lived experiences of working. The fourth study’s main interest was how today’s young adults perceive the role of work in their lives and what they value about work. To capture how the social and cultural context may shape work centrality and work values, data from Sweden and the Netherlands were compared.

    The results of this thesis show that the work norm is strong, and that work plays a central role in the lives of the participants in these studies. The structure individuals find themselves in shape their views on work and the thesis displays a nuanced perspective of different expressions of the work norm. Its influence differs depending on one’s life situation, whether you are at the start of your working career, in the centre of it or currently outside of the labour market. The results highlight the importance of achieving balance and accommodating one’s concerns within the natural, practical and social orders of reality. Ignoring one of these orders might result in a lack of wellbeing in another.

    This thesis shows how the structural conditions which influence people’s possibilities to live up to the work norm differs depending on resources and social position. Even though the work norm is strong and people generally express a desire to work, it is not always practically reasonable to demand it, especially if it means too great of a sacrifice in other parts of the individual’s life. The results point to a difficulty in challenging the work norm as an individual, while organising with others around shared opposing values could be a start of bringing about a change.

  • 3.
    Norvell Gustavsson, Isa
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Jonsson, Frida
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
    Exploring the experiences of NEET‑situated young people within the context of the COVID‑19 pandemic using resonance theory2024In: Journal of Applied Youth Studies, ISSN 2204-9193Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study explores the experiences of young people who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET) within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden, using resonance theory as an analytical lens. It contributes knowledge about the importance of school and work (or lack thereof) for these youths during a time of uncertainty and gives insight into their quality of life and well-being from a social and relational perspective. The findings shed light on how the COVID-19 pandemic aggravated an already strained situation for this group while highlighting the importance of relationships, not only with friends and family, but with society as a whole. Adopting a non-materialistic approach to NEET situated young people's quality of life and well-being allowed resonant experiences to become evident in various aspects of their lives, which may be overlooked if the norms of an educationally underpinned work-centrism are in focus. The study calls for a broadened view on what constitutes or characterizes a good life for young people at the margins of the labor market and education system, while emphasizing the need to move beyond narrow concerns about integration into education or employment, towards focusing on their well-being.

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  • 4.
    Norvell Gustavsson, Isa
    et al.
    Linköpings universitet.
    Müssener, Ulrika
    Linköpings universitet.
    Ståhl, Christian
    Linköpings universitet.
    Acting the part: how social and organisational factors shape managers’ actions towards employees with repeated short-term sickness absence2021In: International Journal of Workplace Health Management, ISSN 1753-8351, E-ISSN 1753-836X, Vol. 14, no 6, p. 634-649Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose – The aim of the study was to understand the social and organisational factors in the workplace thatshape managers’ actions and attitudes towards workers with repeated short-term sickness absence.

    Design/methodology/approach – This was a qualitative interview study. Semi-structured interviews wereconducted with 19 managers at 15 different workplaces. The analysis had an abductive approach, usingthematic analysis which focused on the latent content of managers attitudes towards employees with repeatedshort-term sickness absence.

    Findings – Results indicate that the managers’ views of people on short-term sick leave shift and move throughseveral phases, which was analysed as they were acts in a play, where their given roles are prescribing whichactions to take given the available resources for acting these parts. These acts depict an increasingly controllingattitude, where the sick leave is ultimately seen as an individual problem best managed by repressive tactics.

    Originality/value – Role theory offers the possibility to analyse managers’ attitudes and behaviours byconsidering the workplace and the manager-employee relationship as regulated by norms and organisationalfactors.

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  • 5.
    Ståhl, Christian
    et al.
    Linköpings universitet.
    Norvell Gustavsson, Isa
    Department of Health, Medicine and Caring Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
    Jonsdottir, Ingibjörg H.
    Åkerström, Magnus
    Multilevel, risk group-oriented strategies to decrease sickness absence in the public sector: evaluation of interventions in two regions in Sweden2022In: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, ISSN 0340-0131, E-ISSN 1432-1246, Vol. 95, no 6, p. 1415-1427Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose Sickness absence has been identifed as needing to be addressed through multilevel interventions, but knowledge regarding optimal design and implementation of such interventions is scarce. The aim of this study was to evaluate the implementation and efects of a large-scale multilevel intervention in the public sector in Sweden.

    Methods The overall efect of the intervention was assessed using mixed-efect models. Sickness absence data (before, and 6 or 12 months after the intervention) for 90 intervention groups and 378 reference groups was retrieved from administrative personnel systems from the two participating regional councils. The implementation processes were evaluated using qualitative content analysis of qualitative interviews conducted at two timepoints.

    Results The results show that the vast majority of implemented measures were on an individual level and the integration of the intervention difered between the two regions. The reception and perception of the intervention activities seem to have been infuenced by the implementation process, and how well the interventions were communicated and integrated, both regarding the integration of the diferent interventions and their integration into the discrete context and existing routines. No short-term overall efects on sickness absence were found.

    Conclusions The results point to the many challenges in implementing complex interventions, especially where organizational measures are involved—including adequate participation by, and communication between, the involved actors, as well as sufcient resources. The results indicate potential learning efects regarding the awareness of organizational factors in sick leave, after implementing and integrating multilevel strategies.

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