The First Element: Work Organisation - Case Studies

Here is a selection of recent case studies demonstrating the First Element: Work Organisation  

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Behind the front door: An approach for multi-problem families in the city of Enschede

  • Author: The University of Twente
  • Publication Date:16-Jul-2012
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Type: Case Studies
  • Category: Structure and Systems,Workplace Innovation - General,Work Organisation


This reference comes from the TNO-INSCOPE Knowledge Bank Workplace Innovation. See:

2012 – Velve Lindehof is a neighborhood in Enschede with a high degree of socio-economic problems. It was selected as a "krachtwijk" (Neighborhood to be improved) with lots of multi-problem families. The multi-problem families are faced with many (government) bodies which all visited these families in their home settings – all working independently from one another. Sometimes, some 17 different agencies were working with these families. There was no integrated approach to multi-problem families. 

The University of Twente summarizes the problem in their interim evaluation of the experiment in Velve-Lindehof as follows: "In recent decades, the range of assistance and services has grown steadily and has been accompanied by specialization to target groups, methods and phases within work processes. A patchwork of chains, sectors, institutions, programs, projects and projects has been created with different funding streams and multiple ministries responsible. A typical family could be ‘cared for’ by five to ten case managers, all of which regularly visited the family at their home. "(Oude Vrielink, Klok, Denters, 2011:3) 

Approach In 2008

 a pilot project started with a different approach to multi-problem families. For more coordinated and integrated to act, more consultative structures have been created and so-called district coaches have been appointed. During the monthly neighborhood discussions all organizations come together in the so-called "neighborhood care team" to discuss developments in the families and to take coordinated action. Common actors in the district care team are the social workers, youth care, youth task force, a police officer, a property consultant, youth health care and a case manager and social support. This approach started as the the result of an earlier approach of the city to move from target groups to community based consultation. The district coaches coordinate relief efforts in consultation with problem families and from the perspective of these families. This is in contrast to the past relief process that started from the perspective of the different service organizations. This old approach could result in a fragmented approach. The district coaches are the "first line" relief and take care of contact to other organizations. This makes the assistance for the families easier and many coaches develop a bond with the families. The purpose of the district coaches is to "give families back their own lives and to help them move on the social ladder " (Oude Vrielink, Klok, Denters, 2011:3). "The innovative approach of Enschede is that they really organize the implementation and organization of social support in a different way. It builds on previous positive experiences with home visits and intensive care team collaboration in a neighborhood, but it is clearly a step forward. The district coaches come to residents "at their home" and determine which help is needed and then put the support in motion. This district coaches go beyond the usual deployment of visits: identification and initiation. The district coaches are also responsible for setting and coordinating the follow-up actions; this is unique for the Netherlands. " (Oude Vrielink, Klok, Denters, 2011:3)

 Social innovation First, it is an innovation that support is built from the perspective of the citizen. Also, this case is characterized by an integrated service to multi-problem families. Previously support from various organizations was mainly organized from separate needs of the citizen. The organizations involved are therefore obliged to better coordinate their work. The professionals in the workplace are very excited about the approach. Increased efficiency was not an objective of the pilot and this has not been researched, but the effectiveness of the policy has increased.


The pilot has been finished. The University of Twente has evaluated the pilot (see pdf). See the report. The approach has won several awards (including from the EU) and many other municipalities are interested or are already working on a similar approach. Currently, the approach has been promoted in publications and presentations to other municipalities, but also scientists and abroad are interested.



Employee Engagement without a “Strategy”

  • Author: Peter Totterdill and Rosemary Exton
  • Publication Date:
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Type: Case Studies
  • Category: Learning - Reflection - Innovation,Social Partners,Structure and Systems,Work Organisation,Workplace Partnership

Two very different organisations, a UK construction company and a Belgian automotive supplier have succeeded in achieving high levels of employee engagement without a formal "Engagement Strategy". Each has achieved significant change through experimentation and learning, backed by sustained senior management effort without any kind of “best practice” guidelines. Both companies will take part in the forthcoming Workplace Innovation conference on leadership for an engaged workforce2, providing an effective demonstration of the power of engagement in securing a sustainable future in a period of economic uncertainty.


Employee Resilience in Times of Change: Participation and Well-being during Mergers and Restructuring - Hempel

  • Author: CBI, UK WON
  • Publication Date:
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Type: Case Studies
  • Category: Structure and Systems,Work Organisation

The introduction of self-managing groups in Hempel Denmark resulted in greater flexibility and less waste. Further cost savings were made by greater responsibility being given to the individual employees, making the role of some middle managers superfluous.


The Employee Engagement Network: Visit to Specsavers Contact Centre, Nottingham

  • Author: UK WON
  • Publication Date:
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Type: Case Studies
  • Category: Learning - Reflection - Innovation,Work Organisation,Workplace Partnership

Employee engagement challenges faced by Specsavers Contact Centre included a high change environment, a lower engagement level from long tenured members of staff, repetitive work and a target driven culture. Investment in engagement focusing on employee development, improving the working environment, creating a supportive culture and recognition of effort has achieved a financial return in terms of enhanced business performance.


Vulcano: A Culture of Improvement Supports Continuous Change

  • Author: Maria José Sousa
  • Publication Date:03-Mar-2014
  • Country: Portugal
  • Type: Case Studies
  • Category: Work Organisation

When Vulcano, a leading Portugal-based water heater manufacturer, wanted to implement changes in the workplace, it turned to the Bosch Production System (BPS) which strives to combine enhanced innovation and production capabilities. Its aim is “to increase customer satisfaction and value contribution through overall improvement of quality, delivery and costs” and one of its attractions lies its claim to be deliverable in diverse national contexts. Vulcano’s objectives were to integrate management of the value chain; reduce waste; make all the processes simpler, clear and more flexible; and involve all employees, in order to surpass customer’s expectations and improve the company’s profitability.

Using the BPS model of developing and delivering the right part, at the right time, in the right amount and with the required quality, Vulcano aimed to:
  • know what employees regularly needed in their daily work, what they only needed sporadically and what they didn’t need at all;
  • ensure that regularly needed objects should be as close as possible to the work area, and the ones that are not needed should be removed as quickly as possible. 
The changes they introduced were based on three factors: 
  • Production and work arrangements (restructuring production and efficiency processes, business re-engineering, flexible work arrangements, greater integration among functional lines, and decentralization).
  •  Human resources (management practices, flexible job design, employee involvement, and improving employees’ skills). 
  • Products/services (quality-related practices, total quality management and improving coordination with customers/suppliers).