Thesis defence in the University of Oulu

Doctoral Candidate

Master of Science (Technology), Doctor of Philosophy Päivi Kekkonen

Faculty and research unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Technology, Industrial Engineering and Management

Field of study

Industrial Engineering and Management

Date and time of the thesis defence

12.2.2021 12:00

Place of the thesis defence

Linnanmaa, auditorium IT115. Remote connection:

Topic of the dissertation

Several actors, one workplace—Development of collaboration of several actors inside and between the organisations


Professor Eila Järvenpää, Aalto University

Second opponent

Docent Salla Lind-Kohvakka, If Insurance


Professor Seppo Väyrynen, University of Oulu

Several actors, one workplace—Development of collaboration of several actors inside and between the organisations

A shared workplace is defined in Finnish legislation as a workplace where one employer exercises the main authority and more than one employer or self-employed worker operates simultaneously or successively in a way that their work may affect other employees’ safety or health. This type of workplaces have been identified as occurring widely in industries, such as construction, manufacturing and mining, but the research related to them is limited. This thesis examines shared workplaces and also consideres the application of this concept to situations that do not fulfil the legislative definition of a shared workplace.

The research presented in this thesis is situated in the field of organisational ergonomics. Ergonomics aims to fit different kinds of systems, technologies and environments to a human. In organisational ergonomics this is pursued by examining structures, processes and policies in different kinds of organisations. The aim of this research is to provide a view on the increasingly complex networks of today’s work life through a perspective provided by organisational ergonomics.

In this research the collaboration of several actors is described in different kinds of organisations, extending from shared workplaces to target organisations in the healthcare and municipal sectors that do not fulfil the legislative definition of a shared workplace. The challenges, good practices and opportunities for development taking place in these situations are examined and presented together with new solutions found through participatory development. Both physical and psychosocial load factors in the work of individual employees as well as communication and collaboration practices on both work community and organisational levels are addressed.

The utilized methods range from document analysis to action research and participatory development processes that engaged several actors in the target organisations. Material also includes occupational safety and health inspection reports by the Regional State Administrative Agency, the information of which has the potential to aid in focusing supervision on themes that have been identified as common challenges in shared workplaces.

As a result of this research, a model is presented for enhancing well-being and productivity through participatory development in a system consisting of multiple actors. It calls for the identification of all the relevant actors and engaging them in the development process. Information on the current situation in the workplace is gathered from multiple sources and analysed to reveal challenges and good practices. The model utilises a framework known as a work system, which consideres the employee, his or her work task, work environment, the tools he or she uses, and the surrounding organisation. This framework can aid in forming a comprehensive, holistic view of the situation in the workplace. To achieve lasting change, the definition of responsibilities and resources and the engagement of management have a key role in the implementation of new practices.



Last updated: 3.2.2021