Lithuania Recent Developments in Work Organisation in the EU 27 Member States and Norway

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 24 Listopad 2011



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Virtually, there are no consistent and regular surveys conducted in Lithuania to allow for objective evaluation of the developments in work organisation. According to the research available, though, the Lean production model of work organisation is the most prevalent model in Lithuania. The Taylorist and traditional forms of work organisation are overrepresented in the country as well. However, Lithuania is lagging behind other EU countries in adopting innovative forms of work. While there is no sufficient information in Lithuania giving grounds to judge on changes in work organisation during the past years, Lithuanian work organisation patterns seem to be highly related to the economic development – many characteristics of work organisation decrease/increase alongside with the economic downturn/recovery. Social partners in general give little attention to work organisation issues.

Block 1: Existing main sources of information dealing with the issue of work organisation at national level and its relation with working conditions, innovation and productivity

Are there national statistical sources (censuses, special surveys, other surveys, etc) that analyse the issue of work organisation or are used for analysing the issue of work organisation in your country?. If so, identify them and explain the way work organisation types are defined and asked in these surveys.

There are no statistical sources that would specifically focus on the issue of work organization in Lithuania. The information on work organization is partly covered by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) which is conducted by Statistics Lithuania (STD) and collects information on such indicators as working time (full-time and part-time employment), atypical work arrangements, etc. There are also other surveys being published by STD that focus on overtime, work-life balance, adult vocational training and other topics.

Are there any other main sources of information published after mid-2000s that may provide valuable information on the issue (i.e. ad-hoc studies, sectoral studies, administrative reports, articles, published case studies, etc). If so, identify them.

The most systematic study on work organisation forms in Lithuania was conducted by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (EF) in (2000 and 2005). The Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) carried out by the EF, among other issues, investigated the prevalence of different work organization patterns from a cross-country perspective.

Other research/surveys that touch on the topic of work organization patterns in Lithuania carried out from 2005 through 2010 include:

  • The Research on Impact of Managers’ Spontaneous Learning on the Company Results (2009), focused on evaluating the link between the spontaneous learning of managers and company results in small and medium-sized enterprises;

  • The Study on Flexible Work Organisation Forms in the Siauliai County (2008), aimed at investigating public opinion with regard to flexible work arrangements;

  • The Research on Different Powers Used by Managers in Lithuanian Companies from the Viewpoint of Their Subordinates (2008), focused on examining how managers in Lithuanian companies use different types of power (reward, coercive power, etc.) on their employees;

  • The Comparative Analysis of Organizational Learning Features in Lithuanian Service Sector Enterprises (2008), aimed comparing the learning expression in two Lithuanian service enterprises and establishing major learning obstacles;

  • The Study on Teamwork Peculiarities in Different Types of Lithuanian Organizations (2008), focused on comparing the main aspects of teamwork in different types of organizations in Lithuania;

  • The Research on Human Capital Creation, Accumulation and Management in Lithuania: The Case of National and Foreign Capital Enterprises (2006), aimed at assessing the main principles of investment in human capital in Lithuanian companies and in foreign capital companies based in Lithuania;

  • The Analysis of the Problems of Implementing Total Quality Management (TQM) Principles in Lithuanian Chemical Engineering Enterprises (2006), concentrated on investigating the attitudes of chemical engineering specialists towards the main principles of TQM;

  • The Research on Teamwork Dysfunctions at Large-Scale Enterprises: Comparative Research Based on Norm-Referenced Testing (2006), aimed at analysing and comparing the teamwork peculiarities and limitations in different types of enterprises;

  • The Research on Team Work in the Education Organization (2005), focused on analysing the attitude of academics towards team work;

  • The Research on the Peculiarities of Expression of Teamwork and Organizational Climate in a Primary Health Care Institution (2005), aimed at investigating the peculiarities of teamwork and the microclimate in a primary health care institution.

The above-mentioned research/surveys were mainly conducted by academics from different national universities/institutes.

Have there been any innovations introduced/expected in the existing national statistical sources intended to take into account the issue of work organisation in your country?

In the second quarter 2010, the first statistical survey on the reconciliation of work and family was conducted by STD in Lithuania. Findings of the survey enabled assessment of opportunities for people aged 15-64 to balance career and family life, i.e., opportunities to select working schedule, take days off for family reasons, work shorter hours in order to look after children or sick/disabled/elderly relatives or friends who need care, enjoy childcare or other persons’ care services, etc.

Block 2: Identify existing patterns of work organisation at national level and recent evolution in time

Describe existing patterns of work organisation at national aggregated level (according to existing used national definitions) and their associated characteristics per pattern, based on the existing information. Provide information on the (quantitative and qualitative) importance of the different forms of these work organisations in the national context. In order to reflect the workplace practices, NCs are also requested to provide information on different work organisation-related-items, based on the national Working Conditions surveys that stress the main changes that have taken place in the last 5-7 years (i.e. higher/lower presence of team work; higher/lower presence of autonomy at work; higher/lower presence of job rotation; higher/lower assistance from colleagues or hierarchy; higher/lower task complexity; higher/lower degree of learning, higher/lower problem solving capacity, etc), stressing existing differences by sectors and enterprise sizes, and identifying the main reasons behind these changes.

Prevalent forms of work organisation

According to the EWCS conducted in 2005 by the EF, the Lean production model of work organisation is the most prevalent model in Lithuania. Around one third (31.1%) of the respondents (as opposed to 25.7% in the EU27) were engaged in the Lean production forms of work organization. However, when comparing the Lithuanian and the EU27 data, it was evident that both the Taylorist and traditional forms of work organisation are overrepresented in Lithuania as well. According to the survey, 23.4% of the surveyed employees in Lithuania were working in traditional or simple structure forms and 22.0% in Taylorist forms, whereas, in the EU27, this proportion respectively constituted 16.4% and 19.5%.

The results of the above-mentioned survey also show that Lithuania is lagging behind other EU countries in adopting innovative forms of work. According to a composite Innovative Work Organisation Index, elaborated by the study, Lithuania falls at the bottom of the scale along with Bulgaria, with regard to the extent of adopting innovative forms of work organization.

Work place

According to the EWCS, conducted in 2005 in Lithuania, slightly more employees were working at the company or organisation premises in comparison with the EU27 (76% in Lithuania and 73% in the EU27) and slightly fewer employees were working at home or in places other than home or organisation premises, e.g. client premises, on the road (26% in Lithuania and 29 % in the EU27). According to the survey, women more often than men were working at the company or organisation premises.

The proportion of workers who were teleworking from home with a PC in 2005 reached the average indicator of the EU27 and was equal to 0.8%. Similarly as in the EU27, in Lithuania men were more often teleworking than women. The indicator was 0.1% for men as opposed to 0.07% for women.

According to the STD, in 2005 as few as 1.6% of the employed population worked ‘usually’ at home and 2.5% of all employed worked ‘sometimes’ at home (LT0701029Q). It should be noted that share of employees ‘usually’ and ‘sometimes’ working at home in Lithuania was rapidly increasing during the period of economic growth (in 2008 as much as 4.7% of the employed population worked ‘usually’ at home and 4.0% of all employed worked ‘sometimes’ at home) and started shrinking again since 2009.

It is quite probable that after coming into force of amendments to the Labour Code of the Republic of Lithuania (LC) in 2010 providing for a new form of employment contract and work organisation – telework, the share of employees working at home will start growing in Lithuania.

Team work and task rotation

According to the EWCS, the extent of team work and task rotation was rapidly increasing in Lithuania during 2000-2005. The proportion of workers whose jobs involve doing all or part of the work in a team in Lithuania increased from 38% in 2000 to 65% in 2005 and surpassed the EU27 average indicator which was 55%.

The proportion of workers whose jobs involve rotating tasks between themselves and colleagues also increased from 24% to 35%. However, according to this indicator, Lithuania was still lagging behind the EU27 average which constituted 44%.

Interviews with small and medium-sized enterprises (see Alonderiene, R., 2009) in Lithuania demonstrate that team work is more often practiced by higher-level staff (executives, senior manager, etc.). According to the survey, around 89% of the respondents indicated to have been involved in team work with the enterprise.

Decision latitude and autonomy at work

The results of the EWCS show that Lithuanian employees had quite high autonomy with regard to 1) their speed or rate of work and 2) methods of work. Around 83% and 68% of employees respectively indicated the ability to choose or change their speed or rate of work and methods of work. The proportion of workers able to choose or change their methods of work increased from 63% to 68% during 2000-2005; the proportion of workers able to choose or change their speed or rate of work increased from 76% to 83% during the same period of time.

In spite of these positive changes, Lithuanian workers had less autonomy to choose or change their order of tasks and to take a break when they wish. Despite its growth from 54% to 57% in 2000-2005, the proportion of workers who were able to choose or change their order of tasks was smaller in Lithuania compared to the EU27 (63%). Furthermore, only approximately one fifth (19%) of the surveyed employees indicated having the opportunity to take a break when they wished, compared to 30% in the EU27.

Work intensity and pace of work

According to the EWCS, work intensity indicators in Lithuania corresponded to the EU27 average in 2005. However, the tendency of rapid increase in work intensity was evident in Lithuania over the period of 2000-2005.

One may assume that these considerable changes in Lithuania were determined by economic growth during the mentioned period. Therefore, the trends of rapid work intensity and pace growth supposedly lasted in Lithuania until 2008 with a strong probability of considerable slowdown during the past years.

Factors determining pace of work

The analysis of the EWCS data revealed two main factors determining the pace of work amongst employees in Lithuania. These are: 1) direct demands from people (i.e., work done by colleagues), and 2) the direct control of the boss. In Lithuania the proportion of workers whose pace of work was dependent on these two factors constituted 55% and 45%, respectively, in 2005. Moreover, the dependence on the mentioned factors had a tendency to grow over the period of 2000-2005. Women were found to be more dependent on direct demands from people and the direct control of their boss than man. Also, it should be noticed that the above-mentioned indicators in Lithuania were significantly higher than the EU27 average which constituted 42% and 36%, respectively.

Training at work

According to the EWCS, the access to the training paid for or provided by the employer slightly decreased in Lithuania over the period of 2000-2005. However, this decrease was not as marked as in other EU countries. The proportion of workers who have undergone training paid by their employers declined from 24% to 23% in Lithuania, whereas within the EU27 the average decreased from 29% to 26% during the same period.

According to the LFS, lifelong learning (LLL) rate – a ratio of the population aged 25-64 who during four weeks participated in formal or informal education and training to the total population of the same age group – in Lithuania during the period of 2005-2008 decreased from 6.0% to 4.9% and further decreased during economic recession – down to 4.5% in 2009 and 4.4% in the 2Q 2010.

Managers’ power over their subordinates

The survey carried out in Lithuania in 2008 (see Staniuliene, S., 2008) revealed that, although in Lithuanian companies the managers’ use of coercive power is fairly non-abusive, the subordinates in Lithuanian companies are not satisfied with the way their supervisors use their reward power. According to the surveyed employees, supervisors should give more attention to the gathering of information as to what rewards are desired by their subordinates. A reward system should also reflect initiative and extra efforts taken by employees. The research showed that formal (legitimate) authority and informal powers of managers are used rather even-handedly. The formal authority is emphasized when companies are faced with problems or difficulties that cannot be resolved by good will.

Identify (if possible), the recent evolution in time of work organisation patterns in your country (last 5-7 years). Pay special attention to the effects derived from the current economic crisis.

Unfortunately, there is no information as to how the current economic crisis has influenced the work organisation patterns in Lithuania. Some indirect indicators suggest that in light of the crisis, work intensity and speed of work slightly decreased in Lithuania, while the investment in training and work-life balance remained at a low level over the last years. According to the above mentioned survey on work-life balance, carried out by STD in the 2Q 2010 (see Block 1), approximately 9 out of 10 (87.6%) employees aged 15–64 were working under strictly determined working hours set by the employer, without having an opportunity to influence their working time or to choose a more convenient work schedule.

According to the State Labour Inspectorate, the number of accidents at work in 2009 decreased by 30-40% comparing to 2008. This tendency could be determined by the significant increase in unemployment rate in Lithuania (especially in the sectors where accidents at work are much more frequent as compared to other sectors, e.g. the construction sector). However, one could assume that in spite of these positive changes, the actual state of organisational health and safety has not improved during recent years. One of the major reasons is that in light of the economic crisis, workers had to deal with the fear and stress of losing their jobs. Furthermore, some of the employees were forced to move to the shadow economy after having lost their jobs, which would also result in the deterioration of working conditions.

Identify existing differences in work organisation patterns accordingly to sector and company size considerations, as well as (if possible) recent changes in these patterns

In the absence of systematic research, it is difficult to highlight the main differences in work organisation patterns in accordance with sector and company size in Lithuania. However, based on available research, a few features of work organisation in Lithuanian enterprises might be singled out:

  1. The study on teamwork at different types of companies in Lithuania revealed that educational organisations and insurance companies were in the leading positions with regard to the efficiency of teamwork. Legislative, health care, administration and governance organisations fell in the middle position, whereas large-scale manufacturing enterprises fell in the last place in the rating of efficiency of teamwork. According to the survey, teamwork in the large-scale manufacturing companies is in a state of neglect and is of little efficiency (see Merkys, G., et al., 2006).

  2. Most Lithuanian employees still hold traditional work-values and approaches to work and to the structures of work organization in a chemistry sector. The survey, based on the responses of chemistry specialists, revealed that group influence on the individual in teamwork was markedly underestimated in the surveyed companies. Attempts to implement TQM often failed because top management didn’t provide adequate leadership nor was it committed to share the knowledge of TQM with their employees (see Christauskas, J. and Bizys, N., 2006) .

Identify work organisation patterns associated with high performance working environments/enterprises.

No research/surveys have been conducted in this area in Lithuania.

Identify the main drivers for change or barriers to change underpinning these recent developments in work organisation in the country, paying special attention to the effects derived from the current economic crisis.

Existing research is insufficient to identify the main drivers for change or barriers to change underpinning recent developments in work organisation in the country.

Partners are requested to identify one/the most dynamic national economic sector in terms of work organisation changes and for whom information is available. For this selected economic sector, NCs are requested to provide information on existing predominant work organisation patterns in this sector, as well as recent trends and changes in the last 5-7 years and reasons behind these changes. Also, and in the case the selected economic sector is a non-tertiary one, NCs are requested to provide some general information on recent trends and changes in work organisation patterns in the last 5-7 years and reasons behind these changes in any tertiary sector selected by each NC (i.e. consultancy services, HORECA, consultancy services, call centres, etc).

The existing research and studies are insufficient to identify one, or one of the most dynamic national economic sectors in Lithuania in terms of work organisation changes. As previously mentioned, the studies that have been conducted in Lithuania were of a one-time nature and without any continuity, which makes it impossible to compare the data in terms of the time sequence and economic sectors.

Block 3: Associated effects of identified different forms of work organisation and work organisation-related items on working conditions

Identify associated effects of different existing patterns of work organisation and work organisation-related items on working conditions (i.e. training, skills and employability; health, safety and well-being; working time and work-life balance). Particular elements to be analysed may include stress, job satisfaction, work life balance, workloads and learning

In the absence of systematic research on work organisation models in Lithuania, it is not possible to identify the effects associated with the existing patterns of work organisation in Lithuanian companies. The following conclusions are drawn on information available rather than on associated effects of different work organisation patterns in Lithuania.

Employee training

The results from different surveys suggest that the extent of employee training in Lithuanian companies depends rather on the size and the nature of the company than on work organisation patterns:

  • A survey of newly-formed micro and small enterprises in Lithuania in 2005 revealed that employee training was provided much more often in larger enterprises and in those with greater turnover. For example, employee training was organised in 72% of companies with a financial turnover exceeding €145,000, whereas such training was held in only 38.7% of establishments with a lower financial turnover (LT0702059I).

The employees of the foreign capital companies took part in the professional training much more often than the employees of the joint foreign capital or the Lithuanian capital companies (62% compared to 51% and 35%, respectively; see Grundey, D.and Varnas, 2006).

  • Foreign capital companies used the means of training in the work place (e.g. formal training, courses, work rotation, etc.) in the process of human capital formation much more often, as compared with Lithuanian capital companies (86% as opposed to 32%, see Grundey, D.and Varnas, 2006).

Work-life balance

According to the aforementioned survey conducted by the STD in the 2Q 2010, most of the employees have little flexibility in choosing their work schedule. The results based on the responses of employees aged 15–64 revealed that around 87.6% of the employees were working under strictly determined working hours set by the employer, without having an opportunity to influence their working time or to choose a more convenient work schedule. As few as 1.4% of the employees indicated that they were working under a flexible work schedule.

The findings of the survey, conducted in the Siauliai County in 2009 (see Zickiene, S. and Kovieriene, A., 2008), showed that work under a flexible work schedule was considered one of the most attractive work-organisation forms. According to the survey, around 70% of the respondents would be willing to work under a flexible work schedule if they had such a possibility.

Team work

The research on teamwork peculiarities in different types of Lithuanian organizations (see Weinhard, J. and Salkauskienė, L., 2008) showed that the teams of public sector organisations in contrast to the teams of the private sector companies demonstrate a higher intensity and willingness to work in the team. Moreover, they better perceive their team role and status in the organization as compared to the employees of private sector companies.

Research conducted in Lithuania shows that teamwork has some favourable effects: it increases learning in the team and develops better personal relationships amongst employees (see Gumuliauskiene, A. and Taputis, E., 2005). Furthermore, a positive correlation between teamwork and the organisational microclimate was observed when analysing different work organisation features in a primary health care institution (Siauliai University, 2005).

Identify (possible) changes in working conditions associated to each work organisation pattern in the last 5-7 years, as well as the main reasons underpinning these changes

Existing research is insufficient to identify (potential) changes in working conditions associated to each work organisation pattern in the last 5-7 years, as well as the main reasons underpinning these changes.

Partners are requested to provide information focused on the existing relationship between predominant work organisation patterns and existing working conditions in the economic sector selected in previous section

Not applicable.

Block 4: Social partners’ position with regard to the issue of work organisation patterns

Attitude/opinion of the social partners in your country on the importance of encouraging changes of work organisation in the economic tissue

There is no information on the attitudes of social partners with regard to the issue of work-organisation patterns. The issue of work organisation is not on the agenda of the national-level social partners in Lithuania, and so far no studies/surveys have been conducted in Lithuania to identify the social partners’ position.

Main elements identified by social partners and associated with forms of work organisation, which have an impact on the improvement of working conditions and performance

It may be assumed that the main elements that could be helpful when dealing with the problems at the company level (including the problems associated with the forms of work organisation) are social dialogue and collective bargaining. These two factors are being constantly emphasized by the trade unions. Unfortunately, according to the statistics available, the collective bargaining in Lithuania covers as few as 15% of total employees. Thus, the majority of employees have no opportunity to effectively influence work-organisation forms in Lithuania.

Please distinguish (if possible) different views between trade unions and employers organisations

Not applicable.

In some countries, agreements have been signed between social partners or initiatives/programmes have been developed by employers and/or trade unions in order to support changes in work organisation for different reasons (e.g. facing the economic crisis, improvement of productivity/performance and/or working conditions). Please, describe one/two relevant agreements or initiatives with the aim of supporting changes in work organisation

There have been neither agreements signed between social partners nor any initiatives/programmes developed by employers and/or trade unions to support changes in work organisation in Lithuania (or at least such agreements/initiatives/programmes are not publicly known). The press has mentioned only some agreements among the social partners on enterprise level addressing shorter working hours/weeks, alleviation of consequences of the economic crisis and maintenance of workers in employment (LT0907029Q).

Commentary by the NC

In general, it is difficult to evaluate the recent developments in work organisation, since in Lithuania there is virtually no reliable and thorough information about work organisation patterns prevailing in the country. The data of EWCS cover only the period from 2000 to 2005, which reflects quite outdated work organisation developments and does not give grounds for any serious decisions on the processes currently prevailing in the country. As for episodic surveys carried out in 2005-2009, most of them are of a one-off nature, cover just one or another aspect of work organisation problems and are therefore not suitable for reflecting the situation in the country.

All in all, we can say that, while traditional patterns of work organisation are still prevailing in Lithuania, employees have little chance to make use of the advantages of flexible working hours and do not have enough opportunities to balance their work and family responsibilities. On the other hand, it seems employers pay little attention to on-site training and improvement of their employees.

References

Alonderiene, R. The Impact of managers’ spontaneous learning on the company results. Doctoral dissertation. ISM, 2009

Staniuliene, S. Different powers used by managers in Lithuanian companies from the viewpoint of their subordinates. Management of Organizations: Systematic Research No. 48/2008. VDU, 2008.

Merkys, G.; Zydziunaite, V.; Saparnis, G.; Urbonaitė-Slyziuvienė, D.; Dromantas, M. Teamwork Dysfunctions at Large-Scale Enterprises: Comparative Research Based on Norm-Referenced Testing. Engineering Economics No 1(46). KTU, 2006.

Christauskas, J.and Bizys, N. Problems of implementing TQM principles in Lithuanian chemical engineering enterprises. Management No. 2(11), 2006.

Grundey, D.; Varnas, D. Human capital creation, accumulation and management in Lithuania – the case of national and foreign capital enterprises. Transformations in Business & Economics. Vilnius University, 2006

Zickiene, S.; Kovieriene, A. Flexible work organization forms: Theoretical and practical aspects. Economics and Management: Current Issues and Perspectives. SU, 2008.

Weinhard, J.; Salkauskienė, L. Teamwork peculiarities in different types of Lithuanian organizations. Management of Organizations: Systematic Research No 48/2008. VDU, 2008.

Gumuliauskiene, A.; Taputis, E. Team work in an education organization: The aspect of pedagogues’ attitude. Acta Paedagogica Vilnensia, 2005.

Siauliai University, Peculiarities of expression of teamwork and organizational climate in a primary health care institution. Master's Thesis. Siauliai University, 2005.

Rasa Zabarauskaite, Inga Blaziene, Institute of Labour and Social Research

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