Public Managers’ role in creating Workplace Social Capital and its effect on employees’ well-being and sickness absence – a longitudinal cohort study


Type Research Project

Funding Bodies
  • The Danish Working Environment Authority

Duration Jan. 1, 2019 - Dec. 31, 2021

  • Institute for Public Management and Governance IN (Details)

Tags

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  • Workplace Social Capital
  • well-being
  • sickness absence
  • longitudinal cohort study
  • Public Managers
 

Abstract (German)

The public sector has over the last decades faced a number of challenges associated with demographic changes and increasing spending on welfare. Among other thing, this has resulted in continuous organizational changes which affect employees’ cooperative relationships and social capital. Such changes can have negative consequences for both the psychological work environment and sickness absence. The existing research indicates that social capital is a resource in the workplace and for many Danish municipalities the answer to the aforementioned challenges has been to strengthen social capital. But this puts greater demands on public leaders to work constructively with the organization’s social capital so that they support a health work environment and low sickness absence. However, today there is a lack of empirical studies of what good leadership of and with social capital entails. The purpose of this project is therefore to investigate:
How public leaders can work with (bonding, bridging and linking) social capital to create a good psychological working environment and reduce sickness absence in the public sector?
The project focuses on:
a) How leadership style, leadership quality and leaders’ own psychological work environment are related to workplace social capital, and whether this affects the employees’ psychological work environment and sickness absence? (main project)
b) Whether social capital is a resource for all employees in an organization? (subproject 1)
c) How organizational changes affect the workplace’s social capital and work environment? And how leaders can handle these changes to secure a good psychological work environment? (subproject 2)

Principal investigators are: Signe Pihl-Thingvad and Sune Welling Hansen (University of Southern Denmark, SDU)


Abstract (English)

The public sector has over the last decades faced a number of challenges associated with demographic changes and increasing spending on welfare. Among other thing, this has resulted in continuous organizational changes which affect employees’ cooperative relationships and social capital. Such changes can have negative consequences for both the psychological work environment and sickness absence. The existing research indicates that social capital is a resource in the workplace and for many Danish municipalities the answer to the aforementioned challenges has been to strengthen social capital. But this puts greater demands on public leaders to work constructively with the organization’s social capital so that they support a health work environment and low sickness absence. However, today there is a lack of empirical studies of what good leadership of and with social capital entails. The purpose of this project is therefore to investigate:
How public leaders can work with (bonding, bridging and linking) social capital to create a good psychological working environment and reduce sickness absence in the public sector?
The project focuses on:
a) How leadership style, leadership quality and leaders’ own psychological work environment are related to workplace social capital, and whether this affects the employees’ psychological work environment and sickness absence? (main project)
b) Whether social capital is a resource for all employees in an organization? (subproject 1)
c) How organizational changes affect the workplace’s social capital and work environment? And how leaders can handle these changes to secure a good psychological work environment? (subproject 2)

Principal investigators are: Signe Pihl-Thingvad and Sune Welling Hansen (University of Southern Denmark, SDU)

Partners

  • University of Southern Denmar´k - Denmark

Publications

Journal article

2020 Pihl-Thingvad, Signe, Hansen, Sune, Winter, Vera, Hansen, Michelle, Willems, Jurgen. 2020. Public managers’ role in creating workplace social capital (WSC) and its effect on employees’ well-being and health: a protocol of a longitudinal cohort study (PUMA-WSC). BMJ Open. 10 (e0390), 1-8. open access (Details)