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ImageA new study has revealed that rationalization measures often have a major negative impact on both the physical and psychosocial work environment.

And therefore, managers must consider work environment when rationalizing production to obtain sustainable systems.

"However, the review also presents scientific evidence on how to reduce this problem," said one of the researchers, at the University of Gothenburg.

Jorgen Winkel of Univesity of Gothenburg said, "Considerable resources all over the world have been invested in dealing with work-related disorders. But research from the past twenty years has been unable to prove that these investments have led to any general long-term improvement of the physical and psychosocial work environment."

Winkel together with Professor Rolf Westgaard at the University of Trondheim scrutinized about 10,000 scientific papers.

Their conclusion is that a dialogue-based leadership that includes the employees is essential when rationalization measures are introduced.

"Proper consideration of these issues allow a development towards sustainable production systems," said Winkel.

In the study, rationalizations measures are described as being positive and absolutely essential in order to maintain competitive edge on the global market, and thus resources for good working conditions.

At the same time, the results do not suggest that we should stop implementing traditional ergonomic measures aimed at individual employees.

The research has been published in the journal Applied Ergonomics.
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