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Acta Odontol Scand. 1999 Feb;57(1):46-54.

Perceived control systems, work conditions, and efficiency among Swedish dentists: interaction between two sides of human resource management.

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  • 1Center for Oral Health Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.


Two aspects of Human Resource Management (HRM), a main trend in modern personnel management, are considered in this study: A 'hard' version stressing performance monitoring and competition, and a 'soft' version stressing communication with employees. The aim of the investigation was to examine whether these two aspects of modern management are reflected in dentists' perceptions of differences in work conditions compared with other professionals. A questionnaire was answered by 312 publicly employed dentists and 3,600 other professionals in Sweden. The response rate was 66-77%. Effects from HRM on work, conditions and perceived efficiency were confirmed. The interaction effects, reflecting the duality of HRM, resulted in poorer work conditions, e.g. worse balance between effort and reward and worse opportunities for developing competence and collaboration in the workplace. This pertains especially in the case of dentists, where the positive effects of 'soft' HRM did not compensate for the negative effects of 'hard' HRM. Dentists in Sweden's Public Dental Health Service appear as a vulnerable group among Swedish professionals.

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