Trivsel er hårdt arbejde: Et speciale om hvordan kampagnen `fra stress til trivsel´ gør det muligt at styre og umuligt at kritisere

Rasmus Bergmann

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Today, psychological working environment and employee well-being are considered to be important determinants for the quality of the public service in Denmark. Therefore, the Danish government as well as the main interest organisations for public employers have formulated so called ‘ideals of attractive employment in the public sector’ based on keywords such as responsibility, commitment and development. However, as work is organised more and more in accordance with these ideals, work-related stress seems to be a growing problem. This master thesis examines how the campaign ‘From stress to wellbeing’ incentives employers to ensure that employees do not become unhealthy stressed by the good working conditions defined by the ‘ideals of attractive employment’. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s thinking on the relationship between power, knowledge and subjectivation and notably his concepts of dispositifs, diagrams, programs and technologies, this thesis explores the campaign from a perspective of government. First, I examine how the campaign makes it possible to govern by structuring a field of possible thoughts and actions. I find that the campaign encourages employers to establish a regime of well-being in which employees through various methods are invited to talk about their desire for change and improved well-being. It happens, however, in a way that intensifies the ‘ideals of attractive employment’ that apparently goes hand in hand with the growing work-related stress problems. Subsequently, I explore how different rationalities coexist in the campaign’s model for handling the work-related stress problems in a way that makes the campaign appear as a sensible way to govern. This analysis shows that the campaign overdetermines the regime of well-being by various contending dispositions, which makes it difficult to distinguish between e.g. emotional care and economic optimization. Thereby, the campaign seems to involve a rationality of efficiency improvement that makes well-being and efficiency two sides of the same coin. Following these conclusions, I discuss how the campaign makes it possible to govern in a way that makes it difficult to criticize ‘the ideals of attractive employment’ and therefore may contribute to the problem which it seeks to solve. Finally, I argue, based on Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s philosophy, that the logic of the campaign to some extent represents the hegemonic rationality in western societies of our time.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2010
Number of pages81