Managerial Work in a Risky Environment– Experiences from the Swedish Pulp and Paper Industry

Proceedings of The 4th International Conference on New Trends in Management, Business and Economics

Year: 2023



Managerial Work in a Risky Environment– Experiences from the Swedish Pulp and Paper Industry

Henrik Barth, Pia Ulvenblad and Per-Ola Ulvenblad




The pulp manufacturing process is complex and involves several different phases such as raw material preparation, pulping, pulp washing and screening, bleaching, stock preparation, papermaking and chemical recovery. All the phases in the manufacturing process are facing issues regarding potential risks such as fire, explosions, equipment breakdown etc. Many guidelines, tools and methods have been developed and utilized with the purpose of making the work safe for employees. However, we have limited knowledge of how managerial work on risk management is conducted. The purpose of this study is to investigate managerial work in the Swedish pulp and paper industry. Observations are conducted to investigate the work and assessment of managers, especially addressing safety work to prevent or minimize potential risks. The empirical data include structured observations of the daily work activities performed by 11 managers (on going). The observations are based on a framework originally designed by Henry Mintzberg (1973) chronology, contact and mail records, but also include new and modified register specifically addressing communication, risk and safety. Preliminary results indicate a well-developed digital reporting system of accidents and potential risks, including communication between involved actors. Challenges address knowledge transfer from experienced workers to younger workers, in combination with the technological transition towards more automated manufacturing processes. Health issues are more focused now, such as diet, exercise, and sleep, after the pandemic situation, especially for shift workers. Furthermore, remotely work and hybrid workplace is challenging more traditional risk management framework that focus on onsite aspects.

keywords: Hybrid workplace, Observation, Remote work, Risk management, Safety work