Digital Public Defence: Anniken Grønstad

M.Sc Anniken Elisabeth Fossland Grønstad at Institute of Health and Society will be defending the thesis “Organizational change: in sickness (absence) and in health? An empirical investigation of the relationship between unit-level change and the risk of sickness absence in a large Norwegian hospital” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

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Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Part time lecturer Janne Skakon, Københavns Universitet
  • Second opponent: Researcher Ståle Østhus, FAFO
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Erik Lønnmark Werner, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Associate Professor Hilde Stendal Robinson, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Forsker Vilde Hoff Bernstrøm, Oslomet


Norwegian hospitals operate in an ever-changing environment and organizational change is often considered a key management strategy. Change, however, often leads to adverse employee health and higher sickness absence, commonly explained by taxing determinants in the work environment.

This thesis contains four articles, each of which was written with the overarching aim of arriving at a better understanding of the road from organizational change to sickness absence. Combined, the articles identify and address three evidence gaps in the literature by investigating the specific relationships between six types of unit-level change (upsizing, downsizing, merger, spin-off, outsourcing and insourcing) and sickness absence, as well as mediators and moderators of the relationship between organizational change and sickness absence. To do so, we used rich and reliable sources of longitudinal data. Combining register-based data on organizational change and sickness absence with survey data on employee experiences from separate sources enabled a profound investigation of the organizational change - sickness absence relationship by allowing a high degree of precision in the analyses.

Our results show that organizational change is associated with sickness absence, but the direction depends on the type and stage of change. A better understanding of potential work factors could be relevant to understand why change ultimately affects sickness absence. Our results revealed that unit-level downsizing lowered the levels of control and organizational commitment in the work -units, which manifested as increased sickness absence. In addition, our results uncovered stronger declines in sickness absence for employees on temporary contracts and for employees working in high-commitment units compared to permanent employees and employees in low-commitment units, respectively.

The results of this thesis are relevant for policy-makers, researchers and managers concerned with the origins, consequences, and prevention of sickness absence in Norway.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.



Published Aug. 31, 2020 1:55 PM - Last modified Mar. 3, 2022 9:40 AM