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Workplace Well-being: How to Build Psychologically Healthy Workplaces by Arla Brown, E. Kelloway, Joseph Hurrell

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12 Unions and Changes in Working Life: New Challenges, New Opportunities

Katharina Näswall1 and Magnus Sverke2

1 University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

2 Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

One of the most cited changes in working life around the turn of the millennium was the increased globalization of work. This is still ongoing and has been facilitated by technology enabling collaboration across national boundaries and time zones, both physical and virtual. Globalization has often been mentioned as an important contributing factor to increased competition between organizations, to an increased rate of change, as well as forcing organizations to adapt quicker and be more flexible. Such needs for flexibility and adaptation affect unions as well as individuals in the organizations. Another aspect that globalization has introduced is that when organizations establish offices in different countries, issues due to cultural differences arise, and these extend to employee rights and the extent to which trade unions are welcomed into the organization. In many European countries, a union presence is taken for granted, whereas in other parts of the world, unions are considered a nuisance by organizations, and employees join at the risk of losing their jobs (Johansson & Partanen, 2002). Such differences in tolerance of union representation present a challenge for unions as protectors of employee interests. However, in order to prevent organizations from different ...

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