The changing world of work is not a new phenomenon - it has always been continuous and at times drastic change. What is new is the speed of change, which has increased significantly over the last 30 years. The fact that people and organisations need to adapt to new circumstances, is normal and fundamentally not to be questioned. Reasons, in addition to the developments in the market and the competition, are also changing customer expectations, or in the public sector, often politically induced impulses. Against the background of increasing globalisation and technological possibilities these adaptation needs are however occurring more rapidly in sequence, so that organisations respond more frequently and rapidly than several years ago with manifold and sometimes extensive restructuring measures. Within these changes inheres the opportunity of a better organisation of processes and work situations that can support the prosperity of the company. On the other hand, the risk of malfunction and negative impact on workers is connected with such upheavals. Employees in restructured organisations experience multiple and simultaneous changes in their work situation in terms of processes and products, personnel, organisation, tasks and work requirements. Apart from the opportunities for prosperity of the organisation and better-organised processes, these changes can be associated with increased stress and work intensification and in the long-term lead to health problems among employees.
The paper is structured as follows : After an outline of the problem in Section 1, some quantitative information follows in Section 2 on the phenomenon of "restructuring" in relation to Germany. This is followed by the description of the research status and needs regarding potential negative effects of restructuring processes on employees and their health as well as the open research questions following from these reflections. Section 5 follows with general design guidelines for the monitoring of restructuring processes and a review of the current and programmatically planned activities of the BAuA on demonstrating the interfaces with other major trends in the changing world of work, such as demographic trends, the growing importance of psychological stress, and the question of how, despite, or in these developments, the employability of employees may be preserved and improved.
B. Köper, G. Richter:
Restructuring of Organisations and Potential Implications for their Staff.
2014. pages 11, PDF file