English version

News from CAVI 

October 2016: The project has now formally come to an end, and a final report has been published (although in Danish). However the report includes an English summary of the key findings.

Several articles in English have now been published in leading peer-reviewed journals including four articles in Safety Science as well as articles in Small Enterprise Research and Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies.

To see all the articles and presentations in English – Follow this link


Center for research in working environment efforts and means (CAVI)

CAVI is a research center with several institutions participating. The main focus is to establish and explore the nexus between mechanisms and means in relation to working environment efforts in Denmark. The current research projects are supported financially by The Danish Working Environment Research Fund and have a timeframe of five years ending in 2016. CAVI is a collaborative effort by a number of key actors from the Danish working environment research milieu. The participating institutions are:

On this page you can read a short description of the overall research theme, and of the center’s three current research projects. Furthermore you can download presentations and publications from CAVI here.


Research director: Peter Hasle – Professor, MsC, PhD (National Research Center for the Working Environment)

Overall purpose of CAVI

The purpose of the research center is to create knowledge and thus a foundation for a more effective effort in regard to the Danish working environment – on both societal and company levels. This will be achieved through development of research based knowledge about how societal means are translated into mechanisms inside the companies. Furthermore the purpose of the project is to assess how the latter can lead to a better working environment.


Current research based knowledge

The research in the working environment has produced a comprehensive knowledge regarding the nexus between exposure and health. Furthermore there is a certain amount of knowledge about effects of regulation and interventions. However there is only a limited knowledge how this research can be translated into a successful societal effort.

The limited knowledge in this area is caused by a number of scientific complications. There are no succinct definitions of means and mechanisms in the scientific literature, which makes it rather inconclusive what types of means and mechanisms that are in play in societal efforts. Furthermore it is difficult to link the efforts and the effects. The societal means are transformed to particular and diverse efforts. Some companies do not react to them, while others transform the means into something else. Something which they perceive as meaningful, but wasn’t the orginal intention from the societal actors.

Furthermore the working environment in the companies is influenced by a wider range of factors- some of which are apparently unrelated to the aforementioned societal efforts, but which leads to concealment or underestimation of the particular mean’s effect. Thusly it is a major methodological challenge to research the societal efforts in this field.

CAVI applies a theoretical and an analytical separation between societal efforts to improve the working environment, and the interventions that translates these efforts into particular changes on the company level. Our assumption is that insights in these translations are necessary to understand the effects on the working environment of efforts. The focus of the research is thus the mechanisms which make the means work on the company level.


A typology of societal means

Societal efforts can be typologized by their program theory. This leads to a subdivision in three categories.

  1. Demands, control and sanctions (the whip)
  2. Economic or PR incentives (the carrot)
  3. Information, knowledge sharing or reasoning (the sermon)

The intrinsic program theory of the mean has an impact on the effect, but particular context of the company will translate the mean to suit the company’s needs.

The societal means are designed to create synergies and the companies also react to external influences (ex. government guidelines, collective agreements, educational opportunities etc.) and this will lead to certain configuration of the local working environmental organizations. Thus it is rarely possible to identify effects of a particular means. Effects on working environment, health, absence has to be related to a linkage of means, which, as mentioned above, is interpretated by the social structures and the contexts of the companies.


Methodological approaches

This examination of the mechanisms importance for working environment efforts on the companies will be accomplished on the base of a realistic evaluation theory inspired by Ray Pawson. This theoretical approach emphasizes an analytical conception of the mechanisms as the necessary foundation for the analysis of the empirical data from different sources, and contributes to an understanding of how the particular means has an effect.

It is our goal to overcome the hitherto limits in the research into efforts and means in relation to the working environment, by combing qualitative and quantitative data in a ‘mixed method-design’. The quantitative examinations will provide data on how the companies adopt the means and also data on working environment, health and absence. This will then provide valuable information for the qualitative and contextual analysis. Here we focus on the particular mechanisms that translate means into effects on the company level. Lastly this will provide us with knowledge on how to adjust the means to specific types of companies and to establish desirable combinations of means in general.

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