With INTEGRATE we are building a core research group aimed at developing research-based and user-focused knowledge about coordinated assistance to enable integrated and coherent pathways to work for groups on the margins of the labour market.
Coordination is needed between public services and employers because the workplace is the key to employment. Coordination is also needed between health services and labour and welfare services because somatic, mental and vocational rehabilitation often are parallel, not sequential, processes. Finally, coordinated assistance involves collaboration with the marginalized individuals themselves.
The core group involves researchers from OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University and Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with relevant user groups and international experts from acknowledged institutions in Europe and beyond. INTEGRATE is linked to OsloMet's Centre for Work Inclusion (KAI), established in partnership with the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service. To stay up-to-date on our work see our blog (uni.oslomet.no).
INTEGRATE has both research goals and capacity building goals. In the first phase, capacity building has been prioritised, such as recruiting PhD and postdoc researchers, collaborating with the international expert panel and engaging internationally renowned researchers in adjunct positions. In addition, we have established a longitudinal database, surveyed the research field, and organised a conference on service integration and work inclusion.
Our research is organized in eight work packages that include different theoretical perspectives and methodical considerations. Hence, we answer questions about coordination and collaboration across professions and organizations from several research traditions such as Integrated Care, Public Administration, Organizational networks, and Inter-organizational collaboration. The following examples illustrate some of the perspectives used to describe organizations and collaborations:
Public Value Theory assist in understanding the institutional innovations required to convene an appropriate authorizing structure for handling global wicked problems, like forced migration. Likewise, Service Design is applied as a practical approach to innovation in public service organisations. It provides insight into how service users perceive and experience services, which then can be a source for improvements and innovation.
Differing views on what counts as valuable knowledge can make dialogue and collaboration difficult when it comes to development of research-based knowledge about interventions to increase labour market participation of marginalized groups. In social policy discussion concerning activation for example, the focus is on supply-side approaches, directed towards jobless individuals. Less attention is given to demand-side approaches aimed at engaging employers, or to combined workplace-oriented approaches from the field of disability policy and vocational rehabilitation.
By viewing them as coupled, these approaches could form a more comprehensive base for further development of labour market integration. Such a combined approach, called ‘support side approach,’ more clearly outlines the kind of competence needed at the workplaces in inclusion processes of vulnerable citizens, and puts heavier emphasis on interaction between the workplaces and the support system.
A practical perspective concerns support provided at the workplaces. Success in integration of immigrants for example require distributed competence, meaning that several types of competence participate in a professional community based on trust and respect. Better understanding these collaborative practices could avoid that the various bodies involved largely operate as silos. These different perspectives are some examples of how INTEGRATE consider issues related to collaboration across and within services, professions and organisations from multiple angles.
INTEGRATE's core group is interdisciplinary and transverse and contributes new knowledge to develop education programs, service innovation, and policy.
The Centre for Work Inclusion (KAI) and the research group INTEGRATE have a joint user panel consisting of representatives from several relevant national organisations. The user panel is important for ensuring interdisciplinary cooperation and contact with the practice field in the further development of KAI and INTEGRATE.
The research activities in INTEGRATE are organized in eight different work packages (WP). These apply different academic perspectives, approaches and research methods concerning individuals, workplaces, and services in a common aim of refining and testing theories about factors that affect pathways to work.
Work package eight ensures integration between the other subprojects' research topics and perspectives, lay the foundation for development, and ensure transferability of research results. In all project areas, new research is developed in cooperation with relevant partners from areas such as labour and welfare services, health services and employers.
The work package is led by Associate Professor Åsmund Hermansen of the Faculty of Social Sciences at OsloMet. The aim of the sub-project is to study how different factors (in the form of institutions, configurations of service deliveries and the labour market) contribute to variations in inclusion for marginalised in the labour market.
The work package is led by Senior Researcher Øystein Spjelkavik at the Norwegian Institute of Labour Research (AFI) at OsloMet. The aim of the sub-project is to create new knowledge about the role of the workplace in the inclusion process based on an understanding of the workplace as an arena for qualification and integration.
The work package is led by Research Professor Eric Breit at the Norwegian Institute of Labour Research (AFI) at OsloMet. The aim of the sub-project is to study key organisational mechanisms that contribute to or inhibit integrated services aimed at including marginalised groups in the labour market. The focus is on exploring interdisciplinary and inter-organisational coordination of pathways to work through analytical approaches from organizational theory.
The work package is led by Professor Sølvi Helseth of the Faculty of Health Sciences at OsloMet. The aim of the sub-project is to promote education, labour market participation, community participation and quality of life for young people who grow up with long-term health challenges. It does so by developing and testing methods to support them and their families in addressing these challenges.
The work package is led by Researcher Mette Sønderskov at Østlandsforskning, INN. The aim is to develop applicable models to include marginalised groups in the labour market. It is based on a "service-dominant logic" in which "service" is created in the interaction between service users and service providers.
The work package is led by Professor Ira Malmberg-Heimonen of the Faculty of Social Sciences at OsloMet. The aim of the sub-project is to initiate research projects where quality studies (RCT) of complex interventions will be set up to evaluate the effects of key components of efforts to achieve coordinated assistance for work inclusion.
The work package is led by Professor Trond Petersen of the University of California, Berkely. Petersen is also Professor II at OsloMet. The aim of the work package is to develop and test innovative ways to use administrative data and link data on individual life cycles to data about organisations (e.g. Workplaces or service providers) and location and regions (e.g. Municipalities, labour market regions, administrative regions).
The work package is led by Professor Tone Alm Andreassen and Professor Espen Dahl at OsloMet. The aim of the work package is to lead the development process of the core group and ensure that capacity building targets are achieved. The work package will ensure that the group is well prepared to develop, search and carry out INTEGRATE's research projects and ensure cooperation with international experts. Ivar Lødemel, who has extensive expertise in comparative welfare policies and extensive international research networks, will be a valuable resource in internationalisation.
In addition to Alm Andreassen, Dahl and the project managers, the core group consists of Professor Liv Johanne Solheim at The Inland University College and Professor Ivar Lødemel at OsloMet.
International cooperation is an important and integral part of INTEGRATE. It is organized through a panel of international experts. In addition, Professor Trond Petersen of the University of California, Berkeley, leads work package seven. Furthermore, the project will focus on recruiting international candidates for Professor II positions and further development of already established networks and research collaborations between institutions and researchers.
The international expert panel consists of well-known researchers and represents important research traditions, including in the organization of services and integrated care to marginalized groups.
The INTEGRATE expert panel consists of:
You will find a list of publications on the INTEGRATE blog (uni.oslomet.no).