Workplace Inclusion Competence and Employer Engagement




Health, Working Environment & Wellbeing, Learning & Competencies, Employment, Wages, Unemployment & Rehabilitation, Labor Market Institutions & Social Partners, Organization & Management


Existing active labor market policy (ALMP) measures have been unsuccessful in establishing long- term employment for vulnerable groups.This paper contributes to further development of the role of the employer engagement perspective in ALMP. We introduce the term workplace inclusion competence and explore its association to two distinct work-organizational categories: participa tion- and control-oriented management. We operationalize workplace inclusion competence as inclusion opportunity and inclusion capability. We argue that such competence is dynamic and processual, and find that organizational management-orientation, as well as work pace, employees’ developmental opportunities, financial situation and OSH, have an impact on workplace inclusion competence. Survey data among a sample of managers is analyzed regarding workplaces’ capabilities and opportunities in work inclusion processes. We present two sets of indexes to measure organizational management-orientation and inclusion skills competence. As such, we contribute to the research field by providing new and more specific concepts with adherent question indexes, and by connecting them to a work-organizational perspective.

Author Biographies

Heidi Enehaug, Oslo Metropolitan University

Senior Researcher, Work Research Institute. E-mail:

Øystein Spjelkavik, Oslo Metropolitan University

Senior Researcher, Work Research Institute.

Eivind Falkum, Oslo Metropolitan University

Research Professor, Work Research Institute.

Kjetil Frøyland, Oslo Metropolitan University

Research Professor, Work Research Institute.


Andersen, N. A., Caswell, D., & Larsen, F. (2017). A New approach to Helping the hard-to-place Unemployed:The promise of developing new knowledge in an interactive and collaborative process, European Journal of Social Security, 19(4), 335-352. doi:10.1177/1388262717745193

Araten-Bergman, T. (2016). Managers’ hiring intentions and the actual hiring of qualified workers with disabilities, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27(14), 1510-1530. doi:10.1080/09585192.2015.1128466

Berg, A. M. (1998). Den vanskelige medvirkningen. Arbeidstakermedvirkning i staten 1970-1996 [The difficult participation. Employee participation in the State 1970-1996] (Vol. 5), Oslo: Arbeidsforskningsinstituttet

Berge, T., & Falkum, E. (2013). Se mulighetene. Arbeidsliv og psykisk helse [Look for the possibilities. Work and mental health], Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk.

Bjørnshagen, V., & Ugreninov, E. (2021). Labour market inclusion of young people with mental health problems in Norway, Alter, 15(1), 46-60. doi:

Bonfils, I. S., Hansen, H., Dalum, H. S., & Eplov, L. F. (2017). Implementation of the individual placement and support approach – facilitators and barriers, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 19(4), 318-333. doi:10.1080/15017419.2016.1222306

Bonvin, J.-M., & Galster, D. (2010). Making them Employable or Capable? Social Integration Policies at a Crossroads. In H.-U. Otto & H. Ziegler (Eds.), Education, Welfare and the Capabilities Approach. A European Perspective. (pp. 71-83), Opladen & Farmington Hills: Barbara Budrich Publishers.

Bredgaard, T. (2017). Employers and Active Labour Market Policies: Typologies and Evidence, Social Policy and Society, 1-13. doi:10.1017/S147474641700015X

Bredgaard, T., & Halkjær, J. L. (2016). Employers and the Implementation of Active Labor Market Policies, Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies; Vol 6, No 1 (2016)DOI - 10.19154/njwls.v6i1.4909.

Bredgaard, T., Larsen, F., Høgedahl, L., Ravn, R., Larsen, M. F., Hansen, C., & Pedersen, M. L. (2015). International komparativ analyse : Ydelsessystemer, reformer og indsatser overfor ikke-arbejdsmarkedsparate borgere i fem lande [International comparative analysis: supportsystems, reforms and effors towards non-employable citizens of five countries], København: Aalborg Universitet

Drange, I., Falkum, E., & Wathne, C. T. (2020). Styring, ledelse og tillit. Medbestemmelsesbarometeret 2020 [Governance, leadership and trust. The Co-determination Barometer 2020], Oslo: Arbeidsforskningsinstituttet/OsloMet

Dølvik, J. E., Fløtten, T., Hernes, G., & Hippe, J. M. (Eds.). (2007). Hamskifte. Den norske modellen i endring [The Norwegian Model in transition], Oslo: Gyldendal akademisk.

Edwards, K., Bojesen, A., Paarup Nielsen, A., & (eds.). (2010). Lean og arbejdsmiljø - et dynamisk spændingsfelt [Lean and work environment - a dynamic field of tension], København: LR BUSINESS Egmont.

Enehaug, H. (2017). Ten Successful Years: A Longitudinal Case Study of Autonomy, Control and Learning, Nordic Journal of working life studies, 7(S2), 67-89. doi:10.18291/njwls.v7iS2.96693

Enehaug, H. (2018). Å lære av det gamle, for å forberede seg på det nye. En studie av medvirkningens betydning for organisatorisk utvikling og læring [To learn from the old, to prepare for the new. A study of the significance of participation for organizational development and learning]. (Ph.D), Roskilde University, Roskilde.

Enehaug, H., Falkum, E., & Hvid, H. S. (2019). Democracy at work. In Working in the Nordic Countries – a critical perspective on the world’s best working life (pp. 49-66), London: Routhledge.

Enehaug, H., & Nordrik, B. (2018). Konflikter, konflikthåndtering og integritet [Conflicts, conflict management and integrity].,Oslo: Arbeidsforskningsinstiuttet/OsloMet

Falkum, E. (2020). Makt og opposisjon i arbeidslivet: Maktforskyvninger fra 1900 til 2020 [Power and opposition in working life: Power shifts from 1900 to 2020], Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akademisk.

Falkum, E., & Drange, I. (2018). Medbestemmelsesbarometeret 2017. Delrapport 2: Bedriftsdemokrati og eierskap [The co-determination barometer 2017. Report 2: Business democracy and ownership], Oslo: Arbeidsforskningsinstituttet/OsloMet

Falkum, E., Ingelsrud, M. H., & Nordrik, B. (2016). Medbestemmelsesbarometeret 2016 [The Co-determination barometer 2016] (FOU-resultat 2016:08), Oslo: Arbeidsforskningsinstituttet/OsloMet

Falkum, E., Nordrik, B., Drange, I., & Wathne, C. T. (2017). Medbestemmelsesbarometeret 2017: Arbeidslivsrelasjoner i endring [The co-determination barometer 2017: Working life relations in change], Oslo: Arbeidsforskningsinstituttet/OsloMet

Falkum, E., Nordrik, B., & Enehaug, H. (2018). Ledelse på norsk. Medvirkning og medbestemmelse - to former for styring og ledelse. Norsk Ledelsesbarometer 10 år [Management in Norwegian. Participation and co-determination - two forms of management], Oslo: Arbeidsforskningsinstituttet/OsloMet

Falkum, E., Schafft, A., & Spjelkavik, Ø. (2014). Arbeidsgivernes rolle i inkluderingen [The role of employers in inclusion]. In K. Frøyland & Ø. Spjelkavik (Eds.), Inkluderingskompetanse. Ordinært arbeid som mål og middel (pp. 142-155), Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk.

Falkum, E., & Solberg, A. G. (2015). Arbeidsgiveres inkluderingsevne [Employers inclusion skills] AFI-rapport 5/2015, Oslo: Arbeidsforskningsinstiuttet ved HIOA

Frøyland, K. (2018). Et inkluderende arbeidsliv: Til glede eller besvær? [An inclusive working life: pleasure or trouble?]. In H. Heen & R. Salomon (Eds.), Varme konflikter i arbeidslivet. Organisatoriske perspektiver og håndteringsmetoder, Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk.

Frøyland, K., Schafft, A., & Spjelkavik, Ø. (2019a). Tackling increasing marginalization: Can support-side approaches contribute to work inclusion? In Work and Wellbeing in the Nordic Countries: Critical Perspectives on the World's Best Working Life, London: Routledge.

Frøyland, K., Schafft, A., & Spjelkavik, Ø. (2019b). Tackling Increasing Marginalization: Can Support-Side Approaches Contribute to Work Inclusion? In H. Hvid & E. Falkum (Eds.), Work and Wellbeing in the Nordic Countries, London: Routhledge.

Frøyland, K., & Spjelkavik, Ø. (2014). Inkluderingskompetanse. Ordinært arbeid som mål og middel [Inclusion Skills Competence. Ordinary work as goal and means], Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk Forlag AS.

Gardell, B., & Svensson, L. (1981). Medbestämmande och självstyre - en lokal facklig strategi för demokratisering av arbetsplatsen [Participation and self-government - a local strategy for workplace democratization], Stockholm: Prisma.

Gustafsson, J., Peralta, J., & Danermark, B. (2013). The employer's perspective: employment of people with disabilities in wage subsidized employments, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research.

Gustafsson, J., Peralta, J. P., & Danermark, B. (2013). The employer's perspective on Supported employment for people with disabilities: Successful approaches of Supported employment organizations, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 38(2), 99-111. DOI: 10.3233/JVR-130624

Gustavsen, B. (2007). Interventions and the Challenge of Learning from Experience (Vol. Lyon). Høgskolen i Vestfold, Fakultet for økonomi og samfunnsvitenskap: ANACT.

Gustavsen, B. (2011). The Nordic model of work organization, Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 2(4), 463-480. DOI: 10.1007/s13132-011-0064-5

Hardoy, I., Røed, K., Simson, K. v., & Zhang, T. (2017). Effekter av arbeidsmarkedspolitikk rettet mot ungdom i Nord-Europa – en meta-analyse [Effects of labor market policies aimed at young people in Northern Europe - a meta-analysis], Søkelys på arbeidslivet, 34(03), 167-181. DOI: 10.18261/issn.1504-7989-2017-03-02

Hasle, P., Bojesen, A., Jensen, L. P., & Bramming, P. (2012). Lean and the working environment: a review of the literature, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 32(7), 829-849. doi:

Hasle, P., & Sørensen, O. H. (2013). Employees as Individually and Collectively Acting Subjects- Key Contributions from Nordic Working Life Research, Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 3(3), 9-28.

Hauss, G. (2014). Generating productive citizens or supporting the weak? Ambivalences and contradictions in working with young welfare recipients, European Journal of Social Work, 17(5), 656-671. doi:10.1080/13691457.2014.954239

Holt, H., & Hvid, H. (2014). Management and employee control in current industrial work, Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 4(4), 57-78. DOI:

Hvid, H. (2014). Socioteknik som samfundsforandring [Socio-technology as a societal change]. Tidsskrift for Arbejdsliv. DOI:

Hvid, H., & Falkum, E. (Eds.). (2019). Work and well being in the Nordic countries. Critical perspectives on the world’s best working lives, New York/London: Routledge.

Ingold, J., & Stuart, M. (2015). The Demand-Side of Active Labour Market Policies: A Regional Study of Employer Engagement in the Work Programme, Journal of Social Policy, 44(3), 443-462. doi:10.1017/S0047279414000890

Jakobsen, V., Larsen, M., & Jensen, S. (2015). Virksomheders sociale engagement: Årbog 2015 [Corporate social responsibility: yearbook 2015], København: SFI – Det Nationale forskningscenter for velfærd

Jensen, R. S., & Nergaard, K. (2017). Varehandelen som inkluderingsarena. Rekruttering, opplæring og arbeidstrening [The retail trade as an inclusion arena. Recruitment, training and work training], Oslo: Fafo-rapport 2017:25

Johnsen, H. C. G. (2005). Aksjonsfaget: Fra økonomisk demokrati til kommunikativ vending – et idéhistorisk perspektiv [The Action disipline: From economic democracy to communicative turn - an idea-historical perspective]. In E. Døving & Å. Johnsen (Eds.), Organisasjonsteori på norsk, Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Karasek, R. (1979). Job Demands, job decision latitude, and mental strain: Implications for job redesign, Administrative Science Quarterly, 24(2), 285-308.

Karasek, R. (2004). A Tool for Creating Healthier Workplaces: The Conducivity Process, Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 24(5), 471-479.

Karasek, R., & Theorell, T. (1990). Healthy work: stress, productivity, and the reconstruction of working life, New York: Basic Books.

Kasvio, A., Gonäs, I. J., & Skorstad, E. (2012). In search of the Nordic Working Life Model; Introduction to the Thematic Issue, Nordic Journal of working life studies, 2(4), 1-19. DOI:

Kinoshita, Y., Furukawa, T. A., Kinoshita, K., Honyashiki, M., Omori, I. M., Marshall, M., . . . Kingdon, D. (2013). Supported employment for adults with severe mental illness, The Cochrane Database Of Systematic Reviews(9), CD008297. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008297.pub2

Kirsh, B. (2000). Organizational culture, climate and person-environment fit: Relationships with employment outcomes for mental health consumers, Work, 14(2), 109-122.

Kirsh, B., Stergiou-Kita, M., Gewurtz, R., Dawson, D., Krupa, T., Lysaght, R., & Shaw, L. (2009). From margins to mainstream: what do we know about work integration for persons with brain injury, mental illness and intellectual disability? Work, 32(4), 391-405. doi:10.3233/WOR-2009-0851

Kuvaas, B. (2008). Prestasjonsbasert belønning og motivasjon [Performance-based reward and motivation]. In A. Dysvik & B. Kuvaas (Eds.), Lønnsomhet gjennom menneskelige ressurser. Evidensbasert HRM. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Lauveng, A. (2008). Arbeidsmaur med gipset hjerte [Working ants with plastered hearts], Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

Murfitt, K., Crosbie, J., Zammit, J., & Williams, G. (2018). Employer engagement in active labour market programmes: The role of boundary spanners, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 48(3), 417-431. doi:10.3233/JVR-180949

Nicolaisen, H. (2017). Inkludering av unge på AAP–et arbeidsgiverperspektiv [Inclusion of young people in AAP - an employer perspective], Arbeid og Velferd, 2, 35-48.

NOU (2012:6). Arbeidsrettede tiltak [Work-oriented measures]. Oslo

Nyamubarwa, W., & Chipunza, C. (2019). Debunking the one-size-fits-all approach to human resource management: A review of human resource practices in small and medium-sized enterprise firms, SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 17. doi:10.4102/sajhrm.v17i0.1108

Nylehn, B. (2008). Organisasjonsfaget i Norge. Analyser av et segmentert fagfelt [The organization disipline in Norway. Analysis of a segmented field], Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Nøkleby, H., Blaasvær, N., & Berg, R. (2017). Supported Employment for arbeidssøkere med bistandsbehov: en systematisk oversikt [Supported Employment for jobseekers in need of assistance: a systematic review], Oslo: Folkehelseinstituttet

Oldham, G. R., & Hackman, J. R. (2010). Commentary: Not what it was and not what it will be: The future of job design research, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31, 463-479. doi:10.1002/job.678

Parker, S., Van den Broeck, A., & Holman, D. (2017). Work Design Influences: A Synthesis of Multilevel Factors that Affect the Design of Jobs (Vol. 11). DOI: 10.5465/annals.2014.0054

Psychogios, A., Szamosi Leslie, T., Prouska, R., & Brewster, C. (2016). A three-fold framework for understanding HRM practices in South-Eastern European SMEs, Employee Relations, 38(3), 310-331. doi:10.1108/ER-07-2014-0078

Reme, S. E., Monstad, K., Fyhn, T., Sveinsdottir, V., Løvvik, C., Lie, S. A., & Øverland, S. (2019). A randomized controlled multicenter trial of individual placement and support for patients with moderate-to-severe mental illness, Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health(1), 33-41. doi:10.5271/sjweh.3753

Rolfsen, M. (2014). Lean blir norsk: Lean i den norske samarbeidsmodellen [Lean becomes Norwegian: Lean in the Norwegian collaboration model], Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Røvik, K. A. (1998). Moderne organisasjoner: trender i organisasjonstenkningen ved tusenårsskiftet [Modern organizations: trends in organizational thinking at the turn of the millennium], Bergen-Sandviken: Fagbokforlaget.

Røvik, K. A. (2007). Trender og translasjoner. Ideer som former det 21. århundrets organisasjoner [Trends and translations. Ideas that shape 21st century organizations], Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

Schafft, A. (2013). Om å komme seg i arbeid [About getting in work]. In R. Norvoll (Ed.), Samfunn og psykisk helse. Samfunnsvitenskapelige perspektiver (pp. 188-212), Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk.

Schafft, A. (2014). Employer guides: Improving job retention for people with mental health issues. Experiences from a Norwegian pilot project, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 41. DOI: 10.3233/JVR-140695

Spjelkavik, Ø. (2012). Supported employment in Norway and in the other Nordic countries, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 37(3), 163-172. DOI:10.3233/JVR-2012-0611

Spjelkavik, Ø. (2019). Kan sosialarbeidere bidra i arbeidsinkludering?[Can social workers contribute to work inclusion]. In H. Glemmestad & L. Kleppe (Eds.), Arbeidsinkludering i sosialt arbeid, Oslo: Fagbokforlaget.

Spjelkavik, Ø., Enehaug, H., Klethagen, P., & Schafft, A. (2020). Hybridmodellen- samskaping for økt inkluderingskompetanse i NAV og i virksomhetene [The hybrid model - co-creation for increased inclusion competence in NAV and in the companies], Oslo: Arbeidsforskningsinstituttet/OsloMet

Stacy, M. A., Stefanovics, E., & Rosenheck, R. (2017). Reasons for job loss among homeless veterans in supported employment, American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 20(1), 16-33. doi:

Svalund, J., & Hansen, I. L. S. (2013). Inkludering av personer med nedsatt funksjonsevne i arbeidslivet [Inclusion of people with disabilities in working life], Oslo: Fafo.

Sørensen, B. A. (2003). Det grådige arbeidslivet [The greedy working life]. In A. Roness & S. B. Matthiesen (Eds.), Utbrent-krevende jobber-gode liv, Oslo: Fagbokforlaget

Thorsrud, E., & Emery, F. E. (1970). Mot en ny bedriftsorganisasjon. Eksperimenter i industrielt demokrati. Fra Samarbeidsprosjektet LO/NAF [Towards a new business organization. Experiments in industrial democracy. From the Cooperation project LO / NAF], Oslo: Johan Grundt Tanum Forlag.

van Berkel, R., Caswell, D., Kupka, P., & Larsen, F. (2017). Frontline Delivery of Welfare-to-Work Policies in Europe : Activating the Unemployed, London: Routhledge

van Berkel, R., Ingold, J., McGurk, P., Boselie, P., & Bredgaard, T. (2017). Editorial introduction: An introduction to employer engagement in the field of HRM. Blending social policy and HRM research in promoting vulnerable groups' labour market participation, Human Resource Management Journal, 27(4), 503-513. doi:10.1111/1748-8583.12169

Villotti, P., Corbière, M., Fossey, E., Fraccaroli, F., Lecomte, T., & Harvey, C. (2017). Work Accommodations and Natural Supports for Employees with Severe Mental Illness in Social Businesses: An International Comparison, Community Mental Health Journal, 53(7), 864-870. doi:10.1007/s10597-016-0068-5

Vornholt, K., Villotti, P., Muschalla, B., Bauer, J., Colella, A., Zijlstra, F., . . . Corbière, M. (2018). Disability and employment – overview and highlights, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 27(1), 40-55. doi:10.1080/1359432X.2017.1387536

West, M., Targett, P., Wehman, P., Cifu, G., & Davis, J. (2015). Separation from supported employment: a retrospective chart review study, Disability and Rehabilitation, 37(12), 1055-1059. doi:10.3109/09638288.2014.955133

Womack, J. P., & Jones, D. T. (1994). From Lean Production to the Lean Enterprise, Harvard Business Review(0), 93-103




How to Cite

Enehaug, H., Spjelkavik, Øystein, Falkum, E., & Frøyland, K. (2022). Workplace Inclusion Competence and Employer Engagement. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 12(1).