Picture map of Europe with pins indicating European capital cities

Open Access research with a European policy impact...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC).

EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

Explore research outputs by the European Policies Research Centre...

Occupational ill-health and absence management under a lean regime in the UK civil service

Taylor, Philip and Carter, R. and Danford, A. and Howcroft, D. and Richardson, R. and Smith, A. (2010) Occupational ill-health and absence management under a lean regime in the UK civil service. In: Work, Employment and Society Conference 2010, 2010-09-07 - 2010-09-09.

Full text not available in this repository. Request a copy from the Strathclyde author


Occupational health and safety remains under-researched in the sociology of work and employment, notwithstanding the seminal work of Nichols (1997) and recent contributions (e.g. Lloyd and James, 2008). Although the ‘unique working environment’ of the call centre stimulated some notable studies (Deery et al, 2002), clerical work generally has attracted less attention. Consequently, this paper reports on white-collar workers’ perceptions and experiences following the path-breaking introduction of lean working into Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, driven by the Gershon review’s efficiency savings. Research design and analysis adopted an holistic model of white-collar occupational ill-health (Taylor et al. 2003). Drawing on quantitative data (840 self-completed surveys) and qualitative sources (semi-structured interviews with managers and union reps) from 6 representative worksites, the findings demonstrate that the abrupt arrival of lean’s brutal form of Taylorism has generated widespread ill-health and sickness. The implementation of punitive sickness absence policy is seen to compound the severity of this alarming situation. ReferencesDeery, S., Iverson, R. and Walsh, J. (2002) ‘Work relationships in telephone call centres: understanding emotional exhaustion and employee withdrawal’, Journal of Management Studies, 39.4:471-496Lloyd, C. and James, S. (2008) ‘Too much pressure? Retailer power and occupational health and safety in the food processing industry’, Work, Employment and Society, 22.4:713-730Nichols, T. (1997) The Sociology of Industrial Injury, London: MansellTaylor, P., Baldry, C., Bain, P. and Ellis, V. (2003) ‘”A unique working environment”: health, sickness and absence management in UK call centres’, Work, Employment and Society, 17.3:435-458