þriðjudagur, janúar 17, 2006

trúnaðarmaður

I got an email recently asking who we employees would like to nominate as trúnaðarmaður. I was confused by what this meant, as I am with practically every new aspect of living in Iceland. Turns out that employees here often elect or nominate one of them to be a liason with management, serving in the capacity of an ombudsman. (Interestingly, the Icelandic word for ombudsman is umboðsmaður, and this Old Norse word, via Swedish, is the root of the English word.*) This liason communicates concerns or complaints (except about salary!) anonymously from people in the office to the management team. I think it's a great idea, but none of my American jobs ever featured anyone in this capacity. I am curious, readers of all international stripes, if you have someone like this where you work.

8 Comments:

Blogger JB said...

*Dictionary.com says [my comments in brackets]:

Word History: The word ombudsman has one familiar element, man, but it is difficult to think of what ombuds could mean. Ombudsman is from Swedish, a Germanic language in the same family as English, and man in Swedish corresponds to our word man. Ombud means “commissioner, agent,” coming from Old Norse [Icelandic] umbodh [this is an Anglicized spelling, the actual spelling was and is umboð], “charge, commission, administration by a delegacy,” [umboð] being made up of um, “regarding,” and [boð], “command.” In Old Norse an [umboðsmaður] was [is] a “trusty manager, commissary.” In Swedish an ombudsman was a deputy who looked after the interests and legal affairs of a group such as a trade union or business. In 1809 the office of riksdagens justitieombudsman was created to act as an agent of justice, that is, to see after the interests of justice in affairs between the government and its citizens. This office of ombudsman and the word ombudsman have been adopted elsewhere, as in individual states in the United States. The term has also been expanded in sense to include people who perform the same function for business corporations or newspapers.

17.1.06  
Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

I'm fairly certain this is exactly what XXSHEPPR does fellas - we call it "Voice of the Associates". Totaly anonymous and actually kind of works.

17.1.06  
Blogger JB said...

Wow, that is news to me. Must be new since the old M59810 days. Anyway, it's a good thing to have.

So, how is ole SGN800P0?

17.1.06  
Blogger steffán said...

There is no proper ombudsman in french private companies, but you can find there elected bodies (by employees), supposed to be informed of everything that's going on or being planned by the managers and supposed to raise problems. They're usually affiliated to a union, obviously. They meet once a month with the top managers of the company...
And it's become no more than a bureaucracy that some find totally useless, whereas others would find compulsory... I guess this is the french way...
But, to my knowledge, there is no proper mediation between the management and the employees, such as an ombudsman.

18.1.06  
Anonymous John said...

Well, I am so glad I found your Blog. A good chunk of my workday has been spent catching up with your exploits in Iceland. I have visited twice, and just this week started making plans for "Iceland III". Since my first visit, I have felt that someday I would live there. and despite only two visits, reading your blog has made me homesick. Keep writing, and I'll keep readking.

Best wishes from wonderful Kittery, Maine

18.1.06  
Blogger JB said...

John, thanks for reading! I know how you feel, I felt at home here on my first day here as a tourist on my way back from Sweden in 2002. And I came as a tourist 3 more times, on the 4th time I found a job and the rest is history. But I think I knew from that first bright spring day in May that I wanted to live here.

Drop me an email if you are serious about moving here, I am sort of an expert in the process at this point!

18.1.06  
Anonymous Skúli Pálsson said...

Hæ! Gaman að lesa þetta, ég kem aftur.

18.1.06  
Blogger JB said...

Velkominn, Skúli. Alltaf gaman að veita um nýan lesanda!

18.1.06  

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