De virksomme mekanismer i beskæftigelsesindsatsen: en analyse af beskæftigelsesindsatsen over for ikke-arbejdsmarkedsparate ledige ved brug af virkningsevaluering

Publikation: Ph.d. afhandling/ kandidat/ diplomPh.d. afhandlingForskning


The active labour market policies (ALMP) in Denmark are subject to intense political debate and are under constant development. In an international perspective, Denmark has a long tradition for conducting ALMP and relatively high costs in connection with the policies. Furthermore, there have been numerous reforms of the policies during the last decade to enhance employment rates. Despite of this, programmes directed towards disadvantaged unemployed have been criticised for limited effects. The background of this PhD thesis is thus an interest to find out how active labour market programmes can contribute to improve the employment opportunities for disadvantaged unemployed, who have other problems besides unemployment, e.g. social, psychical and physical problems. The thesis mainly focuses on the two kinds of programmes directed towards the target group, i.e. workplace experience programmes (virksomhedspraktik) and municipal employment projects (kommunale
beskæftigelsesprojekter). The thesis draws upon ‘realistic evaluation’ and it is
examined how the two programmes are expected to work (the so-called programme theories) and how they actually work. The research question is: Which mechanisms make active labour market programmes directed towards disadvantaged unemployed work and under what circumstances? The thesis is a so-called ‘combination model’ and consists of a ’small monography’ and three articles.

In article 1 ”Realist synthesis – An alternative approach to meta-analysis”, Ray
Pawson’s (2005) qualitative approach to meta-analysis realistic synthesis is tested on literature on workplace experience programmes. It is found that realist synthesis is a qualified alternative to quantitative meta-analysis. Three mechanisms are found to make workplace experience programmes work: a good ’match’ between the unemployed and the host company, an experience of being at a ’real workplace’, and the experience of ’progression’.

Article 2 ”What makes workplace experience programmes work? A study of
the mechanisms creating change” tests the programme theory from article 1. The
article is based on questionnaire replies from 859 former participants and on
register data from the Ministry of Employment’s longitudinal database DREAM and from Statistics Denmark. It is concluded that the workplace experience programme has positive employment effects. Participants who are included socially and professionally at the workplaces have the highest subsequent employment degree, which supports the assumption that it is important that the unemployed gets an authentic experience of being at a ’real workplace’.

In article 3 ”The generative mechanisms in municipal employment projects - An
in-depth case study” it is examined how municipal employment projects are
expected to work and what the challenges are. The case study builds on qualitative data from 23 informants and quantitative data from 1,402 participants. The article shows that the programme has limited progression and employment effects and identifies six generative mechanisms: creation of meaningfulness, formation of relationships between the unemployed and the frontline employees, co-constructor, problem solving, self-efficacy and work identity. Furthermore, the article also points to three moderators (contextual factors) that can explain the limited results: the citizens’ needs and their personal live situation, evaluation and follow-up as well as the physical framework of the programme.

Based on the studies of the two programmes, five mechanisms and three moderators are found: (1) meaningfulness, (2) formation of relationships, (3) self-efficacy, (4) work identity and a (5) ’real’ workplace as well as the moderators about the (1) citizens’ needs and personal live situation, (2) evaluation and follow-up and the (3) physical framework of the programme. It is concluded that realistic evaluation, including realist synthesis, can contribute with a more nuanced picture of the effects of active labour market programmes. Most probably, the effects of active Labour market policies are thus likely to be improved if the programmes to a larger extent are planned taking into account the generative mechanisms and moderators (contextual factors) that may activate or de-activate them.
Bevilgende institution
  • Aalborg Universitet
  • Bredgaard, Thomas, Vejleder, Ekstern person
Sponsorer for afhandling
ISBN'er, elektronisk978-87-7210-192-7
StatusUdgivet - 2018
Udgivet eksterntJa


  • kvalitativ metode
  • kvantitativ metode
  • evalueringsdesign
  • arbejdsmarked
  • socialt udsatte