Restructuring Work and Employment in Europe

Restructuring Work and Employment in Europe

Managing Change in an Era of Globalisation

Edited by Bernard Gazier and Frédéric Bruggeman

This detailed, comprehensive study on downsizing in Europe is underpinned by cross-national, interdisciplinary empirical research on restructuring management in five European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. It contains systematic national comparative overviews, and transversal analyses of more than 30 in-depth case studies, taking into account a broad range of perspectives across professional human resources managers, unions’ representatives, local and national civil servants, social workers and physicians. The authors examine strategic choices and practices in national and local contexts, showing that the practice of restructuring is not as heterogeneous as many previous studies have indicated or predicted. Systematic policy proposals for better economic and social management of restructuring are also prescribed.

Chapter 9: Innovative Restructuring – Learning from Company Experience

Ola Bergström and Andreas Diedrich

Subjects: business and management, strategic management, economics and finance, labour economics

Extract

Ola Bergström and Andreas Diedrich INTRODUCTION 1. The purpose of the Monitoring Innovative Restructuring in Europe (MIRE) project was to capitalize on innovative practices restructuring in five European countries. In this chapter we focus on the employers’ role in innovation in restructuring and critically examine the possibilities of learning from innovative examples of restructuring in Europe. Drawing upon 21 case studies of restructuring in Belgium, Sweden, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, we have analysed when, where and how innovative restructuring takes place. Despite the obvious problems related to generalizing on a small number of case studies,1 we find that innovation takes place in all parts of the restructuring processes, but the pattern of innovation varies dependent on national and institutional context. There is a slight over-representation of innovative activity in the service and knowledge intensive industries, particularly in larger companies. We suggest that large employers may function as test beds for innovation and role models for smaller firms to imitate and copy. Also, and maybe most importantly, innovation takes place in contexts where restructuring has become a continuous process and where actors evaluate and learn from previous experience. This suggests that efforts should be made to promote such learning processes as well as stimulate exchange of experiences between and among actors who engage in restructuring activities. The chapter is structured as follows. In the next section we analyse at which stage of the restructuring process – before, during or after – dismissals are made. We continue by analysing...

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