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Managing employment change: the new realities of work

Beynon, Huw, Grimshaw, Damian, Rubery, Jill and Ward, Kevin 2002. Managing employment change: the new realities of work. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Abstract

Deregulation and decentralization have placed organizations in the driving seat of employment change. Drawing on seven case studies of large organizations, this book examines how organizations as the architects of the employment system are restructuring their employment practices. Rich data on the experience of work collected from all seven organizations provide clear evidence of a general transformation of the wage-effort relationship based on cost cutting and increased work intensity. This increased work intensity is shown to be a consequence - intended and unintended - of changes to a variety of employment policies and practices, including changes to staffing policies (for example the trend towards 'lean staffing', and the use of new contracts), changes to the skills-mix and training provision associated with policies of 'delayering' and multi-skilling, and changes in working time arrangements towards more flexible and extended working hours. Such trends in employment practices have been interpreted as a return to the market as the institutionalized employment system, characteristic of bureaucratic organizations and strong trade unions, visibly crumbles. The analysis presented here rejects the notion of simple market determination and instead develops an integrated and interdisciplinary framework for understanding the processes shaping employment change. Managers are seeking solutions to increasing market or performance pressures through changes to employment policies. However, these responses to budget cuts and market pressures are shown to be mediated by the institutional, political, and social environment inside and outside the organization. Moreover managers are found in practice not to be able to control their environment or implement their desired policies with the expected outcomes. Despite the increased scope for managerial initiative and the greater opportunities for shifting the risk and responsibility of adapting to new conditions on to labour, the attempts of managers to develop a strategic approach to employment change are proving to be largely unsuccessful. The book ends by calling for a renewal and rebuilding of labour market institutions to kick-start the process of reversing this fragmentation of the employment system. * Based upon rich empirical data from seven employment sectors: banking; local government; healthcare; journalism and printing; pharmaceuticals; food retail; and telecommunications * Discusses the growth of employment policies based upon reduction in labour costs and intensification of work * Argues for a more coordinated policy approach based upon the renewal of labour market institutions * Looks at the realities of work in the New Economy * Engages with the work of leading North American academics such as Cappelli and Kochan

Item Type: Book
Book Type: Authored Book
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199248704
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:48
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/3027

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