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The Dream Society

Rolf Jensen is the Director of The Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies. It is one of the world’s largest institutes for creating scenarios and making forecasts about the future. Nevertheless, at a meeting, he was unable to answer a simple question from one of his clients: What will follow the information society?

The Dream Society - Read More…

Book in review: Hot conflicts in the Workplace

After the Cold War ended, a series of conflicts and civil wars broke out. Although none of them threatened the world order, they were bloody and claimed many victims. Norwegian working life researchers Bjørg Aase Sørensen and Asbjørn Grimsmo see a similar trend developing on today’s labour market in which hierarchical structures have been replaced by teamwork and substantially streamlined organisations.

Book in review: Hot conflicts in the Workplace - Read More…

Hungry Eyes for Scandinavian Baby Buggies

Hungry Eyes for Scandinavian Baby Buggies

As the first glimpses of spring appear in Copenhagen, rows of baby buggies stand neatly in line in front of fashionable bars. The children doze away at the comforting sounds of laughter from their parents who enjoy themselves inside.

Hungry Eyes for Scandinavian Baby Buggies - Read More…

Models are not blueprints...

Models are not blueprints...

The Nordic countries love their models. The Swedish model of a welfare system with state-guaranteed security from the cradle to the grave is the best known internationally, although Denmark, Finland and Norway have very similar systems.

Models are not blueprints... - Read More…

The Nordic Model - will it survive?

At the start of the 1990s, the question was asked whether the Nordic model could survive. Many employers claimed that collective agreements and central bargaining were not flexible enough to provide industry with favourable enough terms. The level of organisation among employees fell. Wage earners, too, advocated many individual solutions. But the model has proved to be more resilient than many believed.

The Nordic Model - will it survive? - Read More…

The labyrinth of maternity leave benefits

For the past two years in a row, the UN Development Programme has awarded Norway the best place to live in the world based on its quality of life index. With 10-12 months paid maternity leave, free prenatal care and delivery, and extra child care benefits once the baby is born, who could argue. I can see now why so many twentysomethings in Norway with no job, nor perhaps a steady partner, take the plunge into motherhood without so much as a blink. Heck, you can even become crown princess of Norway.

The labyrinth of maternity leave benefits - Read More…

A free labour market demands practical solutions

“We shall spare no efforts to make the Nordic and the Baltic countries the best when it comes to integration within the EU. Not until then may we influence the other member states, and further broaden the common labour market.”

A free labour market demands practical solutions - Read More…

Women on the board - threat of quotas makes the debate pick up pace

Women on the board - threat of quotas makes the debate pick up pace

In both Norway and Sweden, legislation is underway for the purpose of placing more women on the boards of private companies unless trade and industry, on its own initiative, increases the women’s share of these positions. Despite the strong presence of equality rights in the Nordic countries, this has still to reach the boardrooms.

Women on the board - threat of quotas makes the debate pick up pace - Read More…

Homo Nordicus in the eyes of a Diego

Homo Nordicus in the eyes of a Diego

If you rotate Norway like a compass with Oslo in the centre, the North Cape would hit Rome, I am told. Still there is a full ocean, or maybe several, separating the Nordic and Latin cultures.

Homo Nordicus in the eyes of a Diego - Read More…

The best mix: old and young together

The best mix: old and young together

“We should look after our senior staff, but it is not our intention to turn Linjegods into a workplace exclusively for older workers. We must also attract the young, so that we get what we call a success mix of age groups, says Asbjørn Aanesen, who is organisational director at Linjegods. He is responsible for making as many staff as possible stay on in the distribution company – until they reach retirement age.

The best mix: old and young together - Read More…

Norwegians hard to convince they need to work after 62

To avoid a future total collapse in the Norwegian retirement system, more people have to work for longer. That is the main message from the Norwegian Pension Commission. But how realistic is it to expect those between 62 and 66 to continue working? And do employers really want them?

Norwegians hard to convince they need to work after 62 - Read More…

Mobility after the enlargement - too much or too little?

Mobility after the enlargement - too much or too little?

Ten months after the at least partial opening of the borders for workers from the new EU member states, it is still too early to see whether it has been a positive or negative move for the Nordic countries. Some feel predictions of social dumping have come true. Others are surprised so few have made use of their increased mobility.

Mobility after the enlargement - too much or too little? - Read More…

Norway pushes ahead with boardroom equality

Norway pushes ahead with boardroom equality

1 July 2005 was the deadline for the Norwegian business world to voluntarily make sure there is at least 40 per cent of each gender in company boardrooms. Only 17 per cent of companies have managed that. For the others, the demand will no longer be voluntary. It will be the law.

Norway pushes ahead with boardroom equality - Read More…

Chaos within safe borders

Chaos within safe borders

You feel it as soon as you step inside Norwegian Snøhetta’s offices; something exciting is happening here. In what used to be a big harbour authority storage hall, overlooking the ravishing Oslo fjord through a huge glass window, 50 people are sat drawing the future.

Chaos within safe borders - Read More…

Labour shortage chokes mobility

Finland has decided to abolish the transition rules for labour from new EU member states from 1 May this year. Norway, Denmark and Iceland have still not decided, while Sweden opened her borders as early as 2004.

Labour shortage chokes mobility - Read More…

Integrity - a new term in Norwegian labour law

Integrity - a new term in Norwegian labour law

The Nordic countries set up labour inspection authorities to protect workers against accidents, dangerous chemicals and excessive spells of work. But how do labour inspection work when the work place is in transformation? During times of change so many things happen simultaneously that the employees’ integrity is threatened.

Integrity - a new term in Norwegian labour law - Read More…

No easy way to lower sick leave

No easy way to lower sick leave

In Norway the co-operation between the government, the unions and the employers is usually very close. But September saw an unprecedented quarrel among the three parties about who should pick up the bill for the rising cost of sick leave.

No easy way to lower sick leave - Read More…

Chasing nurses and sailors - Norway's ethical dilemma of importing workers

Chasing nurses and sailors - Norway's ethical dilemma of importing workers

The lack of skilled workers is a big problem in Norway, where unemployment has fallen to less than two percent. Healthcare and shipping might seem like very different sectors, yet both are trying to attract foreign workers.

Chasing nurses and sailors - Norway's ethical dilemma of importing workers - Read More…

The Nordic region: defying economic theory

The Nordic countries defy many of the traditional economic theories. Despite having large public sectors, strong unions, small wage differences, generous welfare states and high taxes, their economies have fared better than those of most countries. Norwegian professor Kalle Moene leads a centre at the University of Oslo which will study the phenomenon. He believes the threat to the Nordic Welfare Model comes not so much from the forces of globalisation, but rather from domestic pressures.

The Nordic region: defying economic theory - Read More…

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