Er højt sygefravær lig med dårlig ledelse?

Lene Karsbæk Eggertsen

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


In the public discourse there has long been a focus on the high levels of sickness absence in the municipality of Copenhagen. ”The municipality of Copenhagen is wasting billions on bad management – there are no excuses for the high sickness absence” In the organization Team Bade, where I am a leader, we have an average level of sickness absence of 15 days per employee. We have 150 employees, and therefore in one year that is equivalent to approx. 3000 sick days. Our management target for 2015 is to reduce the average to 7 sick days per employee. Every day we work on the subject of sick leave. It is articulated at every single leader meeting and at meetings with the employees. We have within the last 2 years dismissed 6 employees because of too much sickness absence, but still there is an absence of 15 sick days per employee. Does this mean that we are bad leaders? Is it due to flawed expectations we as top management have in relation to how our middle managers view sickness absence and the practical reality? Is it due to the lack of expertise or lack of understanding? What can we do to change this? My take on how we can reduce sickness absence and support and produce a better management practice in Team Bade, is to work with the management approach as the theory Public Leadership Pipeline (OLP) dictates. Key messages from the theory are; 1. It requires 8 special skills in order to succeed as a public leader. 2. Good public management must be defined in terms of the head-level, you are looking at. 3. Create a shared management basis and a value-chain management. OLP is a general theory about how to optimally describe public organisations and the management of them, so that we can achieve the best result. The theory works on a meta level, but cannot stand alone when it must be translated into practice. It means that what you specifically need to do, is not always defined. Therefore I operate on a more concrete level with strategic selfmanagement and with protreptic conversations. These tools can on an operational level support us in that focus on frameworks, terms and results and make sure, that there is a correlation between personal understandings and prioritization of the concrete tasks and delivery on Team Bades core tasks – service, safety and hygiene. The protreptic can with its dialogue form support us in sharpening awareness of what we are doing and what we have the opportunity to develop. Therefore I work on the basis of strategic self-management and protreptic on a concrete level at leader meetings, 10-minute-meetings, stand-up-meetings and protreptic conversations. I think that a change of our managers' practices and attitudes requires an approach that articulates the core task, values and value creation, whichs gives us the opportunity to deal critically and creatively with our own professionalism, with our core mission and practices and the political agenda. In this way there is a dynamic between OLP on a meta level and strategic self-management and protreptic in practical daily life, where they in my view mutually develop each other to be able to act as a positive catalyst for change management, work to reduce sickness absence and improve our management practices.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages53