The Eurofound report Working
conditions in the European Union: Work organisation which is based on secondary analysis of the European
Working Conditions Survey data has identified four main types of work
organisation: the ‘discretionary learning’, ‘lean production’, ‘Taylorist’,
and ‘traditional’ or ‘simple structure’ forms of work organisation.
Discretionary-learning forms of work organisation: workers (38%) experience high levels of autonomy at work, learning and problem solving, task complexity, self-assessment of quality of work and, to a lesser extent, autonomous teamwork.
Lean production forms of organisation: workers (26%) experience higher level of teamwork and job rotation, self-assessment of quality of work and quality norms, and the various factors constraining work pace.
Taylorist forms of work organisation: workers (20%) report having low autonomy at work - particularly in methods of work - few learning dynamics, little complexity, significant constraints on the pace of work, repetitiveness and monotony of tasks, and quality norms.
Traditional or simple-structure forms of work organisation: workers (16%) experience similar constraints as in the Taylorist forms of work organisation, and methods are largely informal and non-codified.
Key research findings:
- The adoption of discretionary-learning forms of work organisation, compared with lean production and Taylorist forms, can result in better working conditions in the sense of lower work intensity, less exposure to physical risks, fewer non-standard working hours, better work–life balance and lower levels of work-related health problems.
- Discretionary-learning forms of work organisation are also associated with higher perceived intrinsic rewards from work, better psychological working conditions related to HRM policies and social integration at work, along with higher overall levels of employee satisfaction with working conditions.