Theme Areas

Review of Four Conference Theme Areas

Below we outline POSSIBLE topics for discussion in each of the Theme Areas.

 However, the actual Sessions agendas will emerge dynamically, as Expert make their presentations and as Stakeholders discuss in Max-Mix table groups.

 

DAY 1/2 – FOUR TOPIC THEMES

Finding the “Missing Content Links:” Innovation and Employment – in a Healthy way

THEME 1:  “Youth, Work and Smart Employment Dynamics”

a. A young workforce that is “well-educated” (in much of EU), in the current economic crisis faces not only the problem of unemployment but of “stupid work:” both problems under-utilize social capital.  How shall we generate demand for more “Smart Jobs” which both utilize the population’s high education and create stable careers with future potential: i.e.: how to create “Smart Job” employment dynamics?

b. What are the limits of conventional economics-based employment policies, which often nominally advocate “education and innovation,” but which are failing to function as presently applied in the EU and globally?

c. What are the new “Smart Job” creation processes and innovative work dynamics in the Conductivity Economy model, how do they emphasize Customer/Producer linkages, and with what implications?

d. Refocusing the economy’s goals away from material value and toward value-in-skills fits with a transition away from “climate change-threatening” natural resource and energy overuse, and refocuses society toward investment in social capital (Theme 4/ Area 5).

e. This topic is closely related to skill-based vs. material-based “value calculus” topics (Theme 3)

 

 Finding the “Missing Content Linkages:” Health - and Productivity

THEME 2: “Aging Workforce, Work Stress Social Costs, and Healthy Work Re-design”

a. An aging workforce (prevalent in the EU) needs healthy and flexible job structures: what are these needs explicitly for innovative work re-organization, and alternative employment structures?

b. What are the “causal” linkages between work organization/economic structure and the huge social costs of work stress/disability and social adversity in the EU social welfare states?  These are strong linkages, so why are they overlooked?

c. The magnitudes of these effects need to be clearly causally articulated, and related to alternative social policy. We will review of high-level illness causation implications for “prevention” and the system theoretic extension of D/C model’s Job Strain: Stress-Disequilibrium Theory.

c. How much of the “soft”/stress effect on health and social wellbeing is due to Person, and how much to Environment? 

d. Review of contrasting policies: (a) policy based on social Environment/ work stress causation and illness prevention (Work Quality Policy), and (b) Person-based issues of stress causation and personal “health promotion” policy.

 

“How-To-Do-It:” Toward Application at the Micro-Level:

THEME 3: A Micro-focus: Managing Companies in an Economy of Innovation and Health

Making a “Feasible New Economy of Innovation and Health” function in “real world” organizational practice could require new organizational structures, new analytic frameworks, new management tools, and new functional processes. Indeed many “new management” philosophies have emerged in the last decades.  From our new perspective: some of these are consistent, some inconsistent, and many are irregular “mixes”: we need a set of clear new guidelines. 

a. What are the bases for “Long-term versus short-term calculus” of organizational effectiveness?

b. In addition to “long/short-term issues,” we emphasize organizational goals that focus on worker capability creation, innovative work output, and social capital formation. These represent a new type of organization value analysis, when compared to market-price, “bottom-line” material-value assessment traditions.

 (These two topics (a and b) are closely related to the issues of skill-based versus material-based “value calculus” – Theme 1).

c. What are the macro-scale and micro-scale economic solutions for producer-customer relations (with new micro-solutions offered via the Conductivity Model’s extension of Active Work)?

d. What is “healthy work organization” management policy (related to Theme 2)?

e. What forms of new communication are required inside companies to achieve these goals?

f. Review of new, organization-level solutions. We can discuss the goal of creating and then growing “Platforms of Stability – to support both worker‘s health and innovation capacity, and flexible new multi-level control strategies (both from the new Assoc. Demand/Control Model). We can include here the recent renaissance of Silo-breaking organizational research (Gitell’s relational coordination, etc).

 

“How-To-Do-It:” Toward Application at the Macro-Level:

THEME 4: A Macro-focus: Political Economy of Innovation and Health, New Institutions, and Value Transitions

            There are many macro-level political challenges that threaten our own sense of personal control (a person's control within his/her social structures at work, politics, etc.) - now brought on mainly by our global economy (and also by our increasing international communication and integration). These challenges could be significantly moderated in a truly feasible Economy of Innovation and Health.

a. What are an individual’s physiological and mental health necessities for maintenance of health and sufficient “own control” in our increasingly global economic context?

b. What are the issues for a “Political Economy of “Control,” specifically control at work/ related to work possibilities?  How does it happen that our traditional economic and political institutions overlook these issues?  What new institutional frameworks are consistent with, or could advocate, such changes?

c. What new work/economy structures, or social movements could return us to a sense of “local control” – in an Economy of Innovation and Health?

d. What is the purpose of work in our New Economy? “Production-by-robots,” for example, forces this question. We are potentially facing complex “value-transition” issues for Western political-economic systems: transition from increasingly encompassing market-based materialism to a social capability and social capital development-supportive value framework.

 

 

Complementary Areas BEYOND our Conference Platform: Area 5 Climate Change, and Area 6 Economic Inequality:

 As we discuss below (Section V): these two topics are mainly outside of our initial Workshop discussions at the beginning, and instead are expected to be integrated at a later stage of synthesis. That said, we do have the following major links above within the Workshop:

1. Climate change/environmental threats clearly support the need to go beyond a material-value-only economy.  Our synthesis could do this, in fact perhaps better than almost any other “feasible” synthesis (in Theme 1).

 2. Rapidly increasing economic inequality undermines the social welfare platform in Western society, its stability, and its moral validity. On the “problem side” this huge, current topic is now thoroughly assessed using conventional economic analyses and thus can perhaps remain outside our main Groups’ initial syntheses. However, on the “solutions side,” obviously no future economic synthesis would be possible without an “integrated solution” here.

 Indeed we claim to address the major new apparent contradiction in the market economy relating to education and employment. We have major links to our discussion in terms of youth employment (Group1), and social costs of illness and in disability (Theme 2).

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