The OHS consultant as a 'political reflective navigator' in technological change processes

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    Abstract

    The occupational health service (OHS) in Denmark is rarely involved as adviser when technological changes take place in client enterprises. To support OHS efforts in this area, the work practice of OHS consultants has been studied in four cases of technological change. Traditionally, the role of OHS consultants is placed on the line between an expert and a process consultant. Based on evidence from the cases and on the concepts of actor-network theory on technological development, we suggest a supplementary third role, that of the 'political reflective navigator', where the OHS consultant is an 'actor' who pursues a work environment agenda in a complex network in which other actors pursue other agendas such as productivity, economics, quality, etc. The consultant is political in the sense of pursuing a work environment agenda; the consultant is reflective in the sense of being able to switch between different roles and mobilize different types of knowledge depending on the context; the consultant is a navigator in the sense of knowing how to navigate in the complex organization surrounding the technological change process. The competencies of a political reflective navigator are outlined with the aim of revising the training necessary for OHS consultants.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
    Volume33 (4)
    Pages (from-to)315-326
    ISSN0169-8141
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

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