A main objective of this activity is to create a consensus on a general survey structure by setting priorities in the measurement of organisational change. There are a wide range of possible indicators of change in use, but many studies focus on changes internal to the organisation associated with the introduction of new or modified work practices or with the changes in the distribution of tasks and responsibilities across individuals, teams and services. The Guidelines will need to distinguish between these types or levels of change that are internal to the organisation, and broader changes, including changes of ownership and legislation, setting up of new product lines or geographical divisions and establish clear priorities in this respect.
Another central task will be to suggest information about the observation unit that is at the right level in relation to the economic and social impact of organisational change. In large organisations there is often a split between the strategic level and the production level in both the private and public sectors. Increasing distances between these segments in companies are problematic in terms of working conditions and occupational health management and need to be addressed, as well as the increasing blurring of organisational boundaries.
Setting priorities is closely linked to providing clear definitions of organisational change suitable for employer and employee-level survey instruments. Most surveys of organisational change focus on production related practices and methods and a major problem is that explicit or implicit definitions are often poorly suited to capturing organisational change in other relevant areas such as purchasing and sales where changes in organisation are closely linked to the nature of relations with suppliers or clients. A key issue to decide, then, is whether any single definition is adequate to the task or whether the Guidelines should propose definitions specific to functional area.
The consensus building process which is central to this activity will take into account the policy relevance of priorities in terms of the goals of the renewed Lisbon Strategy and will seek to integrate the views and interests of a wide range of stakeholders including the scientific, policy and industrial communities.
A draft of the chapter on Priorities and Definitions will be discussed with members from the consortium and presented at the time of the second Meadow General Assembly meeting to be held in March 2008.