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Martin Schmauder, Hanka Hoffmann
The starting situation for activities related to health and safety at work in companies is characterised by a great deal of latitude for interpretation as regards the statutory outline conditions, with which companies respond individually to changes in the world of work and thus are able to open up potential in different ways. The flexibilisation of the world of work brings with it for example fresh demands on the skills and resources of employees. The intensification of work and expansion of responsibility leads to increased psychological stresses on employees. And not least, KRUEGER (2008) also highlights the significance of demographic change, particularly for SMEs: in the next two decades, we may anticipate an ageing (working) population across Europe. It is true that each worker ages differently, but the generally increasing mental and sensory deficits, above all the decrease in the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances, have to be compensated if even complex work tasks are to be performed through to pensionable age. Maintaining the health of employers is thus gaining increasing importance. This is achieved not only by avoiding or reducing absences, but by improving the state of health through improved conditions in the organisation, the work itself, and the development of personal qualities (Fig. 15.1).
C.M. Schlick (ed.), Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics, DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-01293-8_15, © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009
work conditions..1: Possible connections between organisation.: Social competence Identification with work Personal effectiveness … Work behaviour State of health Physical well-being Mental well-being Self-confidence Irritability Anxiety . increasingly the question that is also . The following illustration provides an overview of the problem areas and objectives that are most frequently addressed within the framework of company health promotion (Fig.: Corporate culture Transparency of decisions Degree of division of labour … Working conditions. in: BERTELSMANN STIFTUNG (2000. 15..2). incl. in many companies workplace health and safety measures and health promotion measures are being implemented in order to safeguard human resources in a lasting way.: Time pressure Leeway for action and creativity Work interruptions … Person-related conditions. which includes health protection and health promotion. as well as to service quality. These measures also contribute to a positive internal and external corporate image. Badura. p. Source: based on B. in accordance with the law on health and safety at work. incl. 25) In the meantime. Fig. state of health and work behaviour. 15. In addition to the question “How can illness be prevented?”.2: Measures in contemporary health and safety at work and health promotion (AOK-BUNDESVERBAND 2007) The spectrum of measures shows the breadth of contemporary health and safety at work.. incl.. Main themes Physical stresses Company atmosphere Reducing sickness levels Communication Workplace design Health & Safety topics Autonomy Management style Organisation development Stress management 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 N=212 com panies Fig. Readiness to perform Quality of work Readiness for innovation Attendance record Fluctuation Willingness to cooperate . 15.198 Schmauder & Hoffmann Organisational conditions.
Effect chains are consequently complex constructions of causes and effects. This contribution cannot always be measured in monetary terms. However. On the other hand however.Effect Chains 199 asked is: “What needs to be done in order to preserve and improve the health of the workforce?” If one wishes to record and represent the productivity of workplace health and safety. 1999). and towards the long-term existence of the company by securing competitive product sales and by securing the necessary resources for adding value. It is also undisputed that for example back problems are reduced by ergonomic measures. and that the contribution towards achieving diverse corporate goals is clear. BRAUN et al. In this respect. the intention is to see the effects of workplace health and safety and health promotion services on the business results. the effects of measures in preventive workplace health and safety cannot always be determined precisely beforehand. and the benefits of health and safety at work and health protection can thus be made clear. but one cannot say with certainty to what extent this is so. even in retrospect it is not possible to establish a clear relation between measures and effects. The central question for companies – whether health and safety at work is worthwhile for them – can still only be answered unsatisfactorily (FROBÖSE et al. too. what is meant . the indirect effects can now be described plausibly. If a protective grille is fitted at a feed point. as described for example by GOMEZ and PROBST (1995). With the perspective of “results-oriented health and safety at work”. 2008. We have “results-oriented” performance in health and safety at work and health promotion when these are shown to have contributed towards lowering overall costs or towards increasing the revenue of a company. LANGHOFF 2002. It is not a matter of identifying causal relations. the method of effect chains attempts to close a gap in a practical way: health and safety at work and health promotion make a contribution towards improving profitability. So for example in the case of mechanical factors. injuries are avoided here. it is not enough to limit oneself to looking at just the pursuit of safety and health objectives and local optimisation of work systems. It is precisely here where the method of effect chains comes into play. or whether other effects played a role. There is thus no proven causality between a measure and an effect. In this sense. rather. with the aid of the effect chains method. nor is it clear whether the ergonomic measures were the cause of this. causality is clear. The need for concrete argumentation aids to illustrate the business economic benefits of preventive workplace health and safety is growing. the diverse and interlinked effects of the workplace health and safety and health promotion measures are illustrated. 2 The Principle of Effect Chains On the one hand. The only thing that is undisputed is that the ergonomic measures have made a contribution towards reducing back problems. The intention is that the overall benefit to the company can be illustrated.
effects themselves become causes. Effect chains are accordingly intended to describe the contribution made by workplace health and safety and health promotion to the business result. aspects can be identified to which particular attention must be paid. Through the representation of the effect structure. possible consequences can be estimated in the planning phase.3). These effects in turn have other effects. which ultimately – in a positive case – are noticeable as effects that increase revenue or reduce costs (Fig. 15. . the “effect chains” method can be used to illustrate the effects of measures. one cause can have many effects. too. Measure/ Cause Effect/Cause Effect Effect/Cause Effect/ Cause Effect / Cause Effect/ Cause Effect/ Cause Effect/ Cause Effect/ Cause Effect/ Cause Effect/ Cause Effect Reduction of costs Increased revenue Fig. It is also possible to identify potential unwanted effects through prospective application of the method. It is therefore suitable for the following applications: • Prospective application to work out goals and indicators prior to implementing a measure: Here. 15. just as one effect can have many causes. In such complex webs. which take account of mutual influences and (interfering and encouraging) external influences. Both have a positive influence on company profits (PIEPER & VORATH 2005).200 Schmauder & Hoffmann is webs of causes and effects. We describe these characteristics of the cause/effects web as multifinal and multicausal. have various effects. and this can be differentiated via several sub-levels into partial indicators on both the revenue and costs sides.3: Connections between causes and effects 3 Possible Uses of and Limits to the “Effect Chains” Method As we have already explained. Objectives can be established (“That is what we want to achieve in concrete terms!”). Workplace health and safety measures.
it is precisely here that the strength of the method lies: It can be shown which benefits could be observed in the case of a concrete measure. the method of “effect chains” is more a form of brainstorming. When working out the effect chains. 4 Participative Effect Chain Processing Having explained the principle of effect chains. it is possible at the start of the project to exchange views within the group about the objectives. A contribution towards illustrating the benefits of the measure can be made here. a network of effects can be developed by means of the effect chains method. Since in general it is hardly possible to evaluate the success of workplace health and safety measures in monetary terms. By contrast. and also more emotion is shown. solutions are worked out together. There is a risk that speculative effects. rather. i. they are shown qualitatively. The facilitator’s task lies in leading the group to a result by using appropriate methods. or receive instructions. and to set priorities. and as an argumentation aid it can also form the basis for discussions about the effects of measures. may be listed. given an overview. it is not possible to demonstrate the achievement of concrete goals in an evaluation process. Furthermore. one finds typical discussion types which can be distinguished according to their objectives: In information discussions. during the course of which he directs the process methodically but remains neutral as regards content. and measures are also coordinated. • The method provides stimuli for a structured exchange of opinions. More interactions take place here. and how they are related. It is precisely in this quite open form of discussion that the role of the facilitator is of decisive importance. It is possible to show which positive (and also negative) effects a measure had. no effects that are measurable directly in monetary terms are calculated here. to optimise company procedures thereby. In problem and decision discussions.e. . care must be taken to ensure that the effects that are actually observed are recorded. However. to plan the measures. ones that are desired but did not actually occur. in the course of a brief look at the principles of facilitation we shall explain how effect chains in health and safety at work can be identified. and to reduce the corporate risks in this connection. It is advantageous to work out effect chains in a facilitated team workshop.Effect Chains 201 In general. the participants are to be instructed about something. In practice. • Retrospective application to represent the observed effects: After workplace health and safety and health promotion measures have been implemented. • Well-illustrated effect mechanisms enable the company to select the most suitable measures for achieving objectives. The facilitator leads a discussion and should simultaneously be a specialist in the methods of communication. The limits of the method lie in the fact that effect chains can also go nowhere or end up in dead ends. in which ideas are found and above all experience can be gathered.
They also refer to the ethical aspect of such a procedure – including all legitimate interests in so-called claim group teams right at the start of a holistic problem-solving process (GOMEZ & PROBST 1995). 30). to set the process of finding the effect chains in motion. What we mean by this is the initial question with which the participants are confronted. The various perspectives of the participants give rise to various expectations and aims. The starting point for the effect chains workshop is a workplace health and safety or health promotion measure that has actually been implemented or planned. Gomez and Probst therefore suggest. with pin-board technique In the most favourable case. For this reason. In order for a complete network of effects to be depicted. appeal. In its discussion. all contributions need to be visualised. It is therefore advantageous if the facilitator assumes an independent position in relation to the participants – in the case of analysis of the effect chain. simply through mutual stimulation and reflection in the group. the participants in an effect chains workshops are very heterogeneous. putting together an interdisciplinary group of people with expertise. DAMMER and SZYMKOWIAK (2008) go so far as to say that “the whole is more than and different from the sum of its parts” (p. All have an entitlement and are part of the system to be dealt with. a group brings to light more than the sum of its individual members. which can have an enormous influence on the result of a discussion (WATZLAWICK et al. in order to depict the cause/effects web from different perspectives and thus as completely as possible. Although this is important for producing a complete representation of all effects. Three steps follow on from the initial question: 1. in the spirit of a holistic procedure. he must also take account of the relationships between participants. and ultimately from the greater breadth and unity of the work on the topic. Requesting anonymous cards. from that which the group conveys non-verbally or scenically in terms of content. the written form of brain- . it is precisely because of this that difficulties can arise at the start of a brainstorming session.202 Schmauder & Hoffmann Besides the actual content of the individual contributions. and can stimulate the other participants to discussions or other contributions. he acts as an external party in the company. The question serves to prompt the participants to express everything that they would like to express – in other words. reference and self-disclosure) (SCHULZ VON THUN 1981) and also must not underestimate group dynamic processes. This “more than and different from” results from the group dynamic. 1974). in order jointly to describe connections and/or to derive suitable possibilities for action. It is important to include representatives of all the protagonists involved in the measure in the group discussion. This should be considered carefully as a preliminary step – a good question is decisive for a good result. He should know about the 4 aspects of a message (factual information. The formulation of the problem is important for the success of an effect chains workshop. Each contribution is important here. including as regards the position of individual people within the hierarchy (see above).
Cards can be supplemented during the discussion. The cards are collected in by the facilitator and pinned to the display board. by means of guiding questions additional observed or suspected effects are determined and placed in relation to one another. the contributions made by a shy colleague are collected in the same way as those of an eloquent superior. Cards whose contents are similar are grouped together (thematic clusters) with the aid of the participants.4). For example. or requesting cards – is more appropriate in this phase. generic terms are sought for thematic groups. something which cannot necessarily be achieved when such a procedure is carried out verbally. those factors are shown which – according to our understanding. with the aid of the generic terms the web of effects is worked out. The use of this procedure is intended to achieve comparability of different group discussions. 2. this means that they have to act on precisely those predictors. Furthermore. The advantage here is that a great deal of information can be assembled within a short space of time. For this. In the sense of the theory of planned behaviour (AJZEN & FISHBEIN 1980). Particular importance is accorded to the questions about the effects on the participant. but on the other hand ensures a manageable quantity of cards. Writers of cards can remain anonymous. For workplace health and safety measures. the person has to believe that other people who are important to him likewise assess the performance of this behaviour positively. which can be used for further work. visualisation in the form of a mind map can be helpful (main branches with offshoots and secondary offshoots). which on the one hand restricts creativity. It must be specified beforehand whether the number of cards is to be limited. “subjective norms” (corresponding to the social pressure that people close to the person exert in relation to the performance or non-performance of the particular behaviour). the intention and its predictors “attitude to a particular behaviour” (the sum of expectation and evaluation). All the participants write down in parallel their experiences and opinions concerning the problem defined at the outset on cards (one aspect per card). Based on the system of co-ordinates. Guiding questions In the second step. and “perceived behaviour control” (a person’s conviction about how easy or difficult a behaviour is for him to carry out). in order ultimately to achieve a change in people’s behaviour. 15. too. Depending on how far-reaching the . behaviour can change only if as a preliminary step. action that takes account of workplace health and safety must be assessed positively by the person himself and must be assessed as easy to implement. we use a system of co-ordinates (Fig. and starting from the generic terms found in the first step. Here.Effect Chains 203 storming – so-called brainwriting. In the system of co-ordinates. based on DAMMER and SZYMKOWIAK (2008) – ensure functional representativeness of the results of the survey. According to Ajzen. In the discussion. and possible inhibitions on the level of relationships or losses through production blocks (DIEHL & STROEBE 1991) are excluded.
. work procedures. 15. The facilitator names the measure under consideration. social) o ecology .. With representatives from hospitals and clinics that took part in the competition “BGW health prize 2005”.? skills behavior performance Participants and those affected : Who triggered it? Whom did the effect affect? Measure / Event Time horizon: When did the effects occur? How long did the effects last? Economy : desired effects– increased turnover/reduction of costs unwanted effects– increased costs/decline in turnover What significance do the individual effects have? Fig. work tools. What effects did the measure have. effect chains to represent the benefit of workplace health and safety and health promotion measures in hospitals and clinics were worked out.? internally externally on the private sphere To what extent did the measure have an effect on colleagues in respect of. and asks for example: • What was different afterwards? • What happened then? • What effect did that have o externally (society. other departments. customers)? o internally (colleagues. working environment (physical. workplaces/premises.204 Schmauder & Hoffmann effects of workplace health and safety measures are. administration)? o on the private sphere/family? • • • • Do outsiders notice any of this? Have there been any effects on other areas? Have there been any effects on the company as a whole? What has changed in: o work tasks. they will also result in longterm changes in behaviour.4: System of co-ordinates for producing functional representativeness The following example guiding questions originate from a workshop carried out by the trade association for health provision and welfare (BGW)...
Effect Chains 205 o safety o behaviour? The respective answers are visualised in turn. in that the workshop participants apply adhesive spots (e. Weighting by means of points For the purpose of structuring. 3. 3. 15. makes sense. When identifying additional effects. finally the main effects of a workplace health and safety measure are identified. a maximum of 2 on one effect) to the effect which in their opinion is the strongest. which creates transparency. the same questions can be used. and .5). which at the end will ideally lead to the field “Reduction of costs” and/or “Increased revenue”.g. The following illustration shows an example of this (Fig. This last work step. so that a network of effects is produced. 15. since it is only in this way that a measure can be evaluated in terms of its content. Fig.5: Example of visualisation when working out effect chains When an effect has been identified. but one can also ask for example: • What can be deduced from that? • What else resulted (additional effects)? The individual effects are placed in relation to one another and linked with arrows. then additional effects are requested.
The discussion takes place within the framework of a 90-minute facilitated workshop. amongst many others. and larger ones are no longer suitable for getting the group members to talk to one another and discuss a common topic. . and in the framework of the PAGSmonitor project. Allowing for complete representation of the protagonists. 15. The cofacilitators switch between the roles of guiding the discussion and taking minutes at least once in the course of the discussion. 5 Application of the Method – Experience so Far In our experience. ideally male and female.6). Smaller groups do not provide sufficient “anonymous protective space”. 6 Examples of Effect Chains Two examples of effect chains are shown below. Cofacilitation is necessary in order to be able to fulfill all the requirements with regard to visualising the discussion during the workshop. whilst simultaneously guiding the discussion in a satisfactory manner. These effect chains were worked out. effect chains workshops are successful where the event that is to be discussed lies no more than 2 years in the past.206 Schmauder & Hoffmann the results that have been achieved can be compared with the actual goals of workplace health and safety at the company. group size should be between 8 and 12 people. in the BGW workshop mentioned above. and to provide adequate documentation of the contextual facts of the discussion in the facilitator logs. The event is facilitated by two facilitators. The first effect chain shows the diverse effects in connection with back training (Fig.
. motivation through the group Bonus stamp from companytraining record Financial bonus at year end Getting to know colleagues from different departments Information. 15.7). 15. providing knowledge Asking other colleagues Demonstration of some exercises Health awareness has increased Image boost for the company Loosening and firming of musculature Pleasant balance in relation to seated workplace CORRECT performance of exercises / movements BUT: no new participants More movement / sport in private life too Ideas to use at home Faster communication Fewer days off work for back problems Reduction of costs Increased revenue Fig.6: “Back training” effect chain The second effect chain documents the interlinked effects that can be established as the result of carrying out a health day (Fig.Effect Chains 207 Bonus stamp received from health insurance scheme Back training Fun.
and creates transparency in discussions about the effects of measures within the company. This is associated with goaloriented company management.7: “Health day” effect chain 7 Conclusion With the “effect chains” method. medium term or long term (lines of different thicknesses or colour of arrows)? • According to their intensity: is the influence weak (1). a method is presented for representing the benefits of corresponding measures that is new in health and safety at work and health promotion.208 Schmauder & Hoffmann Health day Image Information about possibilities Contribution for employees (reward) Rise in demand Business sectors are created Public attention Transfer to behaviour at the work place Change in behavior Movement Qualification of health promotion Revaluation of the theme of health and safety at work Dialogue between the individual work groups Fixed component of training plan Understanding for one another / communication Increased work satisfaction Staff development Creation of new jobs Health benefits in the holistic sense Reduction of costs Increased revenue Fig. What is new is that the previous approach of assessing the workplace health and safety and health promotion measures in purely monetary terms is replaced by a qualitative illustration of the effects. It can be used in small groups. or strong (3)? • According to their effect: reinforcing (+) or damping or stabilising (–). moderate (2). should be described in greater detail in three respects: • According to their time horizon: do they act over the short term. 15. Thus for example the relations between the individual effects. Using the method. based on GOMEZ and PROBST (1995). The method is also suitable for the planning and optimisation of workplace health and safety and health promotion measures. It is possible to indicate the strength of influence by means of arrows of different thicknesses. The method is currently being used and developed in the project PAGSmonitor: Economic health and safety at work through benchmarking. . it can be shown that health and safety at work and health promotion make an active contribution to the achievement of corporate goals.
) Betriebliche Gesundheitsförderung. 2nd edition. Rheingold Verlag. Bonn. Vorath BJ (1999) Beobachtung und Bewertung von Lösungsvorschlägen zur Organisation des betrieblichen Arbeitsschutzes in Mittel. Ilmenau. Verlag ISLE. Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung. In: Schriftenreihe der Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin. Huber. Fishbein M (1980) Understanding attitudes and predicting social behavior. Beispiele aus der Arbeitswelt. in Ilmenau 10. Möglichkeiten der betriebswirtschaftlichen Bewertung. Forschungsbericht 955. Gütersloh. Rowohlt. Jackson D (1974) Menschliche Kommunikation. Krueger H (2008) Arbeitsplatzgestaltung für KMU. Pieper R. Volkholz V. Lang KH. Schmauder M. In: Schriftenreihe der Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin. Dortmund. Allgemeine Psychologie der Kommunikation.) Tagungsband der Herbstkonferenz der Gesellschaft für Arbeitswissenschaft e.09. 8 References Ajzen I. Forschungsanwendung 46. Studie. AOK-Bundesverband (2007) Wirtschaftlicher Nutzen von Betrieblicher Gesundheitsförderung aus Sicht von Unternehmen. Wellmann H. Paradoxien. Englewood Cliffs. Stroebe W (1991) Productivity loss in idea-generating groups: Tracking down the blocking effect. Bertelsmann Stiftung (2000) Erfolgreich durch Gesundheitsmanagement. Schulz von Thun F (1981) Miteinander reden 1 – Störungen und Klärungen. Stuttgart. Köln. Langhoff T (2002) Ergebnisorientierter Arbeitsschutz – Bilanzierung und Perspektiven eines innovativen Ansatzes zur betrieblichen Arbeitsschutzökonomie. Verlag Paul Haupt. Gomez P. M. Störungen. Watzlawick P.2008. Beavin J. Froböse I. Bund-Verlag. 61 (3): 392–403. Formen. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Prentice-Hall. Diehl M.Effect Chains 209 The research project PAGSmonitor: Economic health and safety at work through benchmarking runs until September 2009 and is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Szymkowiak F (2008) Gruppendiskussion in der Marktforschung. Dammer I. . Reinbek. Weber A (2008.V. Langhoff T. Frankfurt a. Probst G (1995) Die Praxis des ganzheitlichen Problemlösens.und Großbetrieben. Vorath BJ (2005) Handbuch Arbeitsschutz. Braun M. Wirtschaftsverlag NW. Bern. Bern. Dortmund. Wien.11. In: Scharff P (Ed. Stuttgart. Gentner-Verlag. Wirtschaftsverlag NW.
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