How are new forms of management received in Scandinavia? What are the consequences for work and unions? What are specific Scandinavian contributions to a decent and productive working life? Do the experiences show that another world of work is possible? In the Nordic experience there is no trade-off between equality and economic development. Today however, these models of productive welfare and solidaristic individualism are challenged due to global pressures, financialisation and politics of deregulation.
With this background twenty-five leading researchers contribute to a unique overview. Nordic Lights analyses management trends like New Public Management (NPM) and Lean Production, as well as Volvos work and management meeting Ford and Toyota, work environment, union renewal, worker resistance, gender perspectives, the flexible firm, boundaryless work, interactive media, and the new economy.
Increasing numbers of jobs are of a precarious nature. Inequalities are growing fast, not least in the Scandinavian countries: The Northern lights are perhaps not that bright any longer? But, in spite of their international dependence, the Nordic countries have been different for a long time, and can be so also in the future.
"The Nordic countries have long been beacons for people around the world eager to see workplaces transformed into spaces where working people could express their humanity and aspirations. Readers will find empirical accounts and equally rich theoretical perspectives on the team-work alternatives to the Taylorist and Fordist models and on the broader context in politics, the economy and the labour market that made such alternatives possible." From the Foreword by Paul S. Adler, Professor of Management and Organization, University of Southern California
"This remarkable book explains the Scandinavian model of economic justice. It shows how information technologies can be put at the service of people, improving both efficiency and well-being. Scholars, business executives, and trade unions alike should read this thorough account of solidarity economics in practice." Manuel Castells, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Planning, University of California, Berkeley
"This superb book shines a penetrating light on contemporary Nordic developments in the fields of innovation in work, organisation and management. Åke Sandberg has produced an insightful and cohesive book, most suitable for researchers, practitioners and general readers." Russell Lansbury, Emeritus Professor in Work and Employment Relations, University of Sydney
"In recent years, economic crisis, globalization and imported managerial techniques, have threatened to destroy the Nordic models of labor relations and research. The good news of Nordic Lights is that most key elements of the models remain intact, even as the region's labor movement faces daunting challenges." Ruth Milkman, Professor of Sociology, City University of New York
"The Scandinavian model of work and economy long stood for attempts to reconcile its inherent contradictory interests. Within the field of 'Varieties of capitalism' it constitutes a central variation. Nordic Lights analyses this capitalist alternative in a multifaceted and exciting way." Michael Schumann, Professor, Senior President, SOFI, Soziologisches Forschungsinstitut Göttingen
"Anyone interested in knowing more about how work in capitalist society can be organised and managed differently from the hegemonic Anglo-American model must read this book. It offers a comprehensive survey of the solidaristic Swedish and other Nordic models, their considerable strengths, but also their vulnerabilities."
Chris Smith, Professor of Organisation Studies and Comparative Management, Royal Holloway University of London
Åke Sandberg is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, formerly at the National Institute for Working Life and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).