Working paper No. 296: Does One Size Fit All? Investigating Different Empowerment Orientations in the Heterogeneous Workforce of the Swedish Retail Sector

PublikationWorking paper
Arbetsmarknad, Empowerment, Ledarskap, Linda Weidenstedt, Management, Osynligt kontrakt, Sociologi, Stockholms universitet
Ladda ner


Empowerment research and practice is guided by the idea that empowered employees perform better due to a greater sense of self-efficacy and capability. Underlying this idea, there often seem to be two tacit, unexamined assumptions: first, that employees generally would prefer an empowered workplace to a less empowered one; and second, that all employees can be empowered by means of the same measures and changes as defined by empowerment research. The main research question asked in this study is whether those aspects typically associated with structural and psychological empowerment efforts at the workplace are indeed perceived as desirable and positive by all types of employees. Employees’ attitudes toward the success of empowerment efforts, and the relevance of such attitudes, are investigated by analyzing survey data from 268 employees in the Swedish retail sector. Results indicate that age and work intensity (part-time vs. full-time) as well as cohabitation have significant impacts on how empowerment efforts are viewed by employees in the sample.

Weidenstedt, L. (2017). Does One Size Fit All? Investigating Different Empowerment Orientations in the Heterogeneous Workforce of the Swedish Retail Sector. Ratio Working Paper No. 296. Stockholm: Ratio.

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Working from home during lockdown: the association between rest breaks and well-being
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
L., Leick, B., Weidenstedt, L. & Sütterlin, S. (2022).


Publicerat i

Ergonomics, 1-11.


One of the challenges with working from home (WFH) is the question of its effect on health and well-being. The impact of home working on health has so far not been studied extensively. We address this gap by investigating the association between internal recovery, operationalised as rest break frequency (low, medium, and high) during the working day, on self-reported musculoskeletal pain, and post-work recovery symptoms in WFH knowledge workers (n = 382). The analysis showed that failing to take frequent breaks was associated with a dose-response increased risk of reporting headaches. For post-work recovery symptoms, failing to take rest breaks throughout the day was associated with an increased risk of reporting psychological fatigue, physical fatigue, and sleep problems, and a decreased risk of psychologically detaching from work and experiencing adequate rest. Our findings emphasise the importance of remote workers taking recovery breaks from work demands in the maintenance of health and well-being.

Managers on balancing employment protection and what’s good for the company: Intended and unintended consequences of a semi-coercive institution
Artikel (in press)Publikation
Stern, C., & Weidenstedt, L.


Publicerat i

Economic and Industrial Democracy.


Sweden’s institutionalized employment protection legislation, ‘LAS’, is interesting theoretically because parts of it are semi-coercive. The semi-coerciveness makes it possible for firms and unions under collective agreements to negotiate departures from the law. Thus, the law is more flexible than the legal text suggests. The present study explores intended and unintended consequences of LAS as experienced by managers of smaller manufacturing companies. The results suggest that managers support the idea of employment protection in principle but face a difficult balancing act in dealing with LAS. From their point of view, the legislation’s institutional legitimacy is low, producing local cultures of hypocrisy and pretense. The article gives insights into how institutions aimed at specific, intended behavior sometimes end up producing unintended consequences fostering the opposite.

The article in total can be read here.

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