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.

Conclusion: A Capitalisation Approach

Frédéric Bruggeman and Bernard Gazier

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


Frédéric Bruggeman and Bernard Gazier INTRODUCTION Are we destined to endure the brutality of creative destruction as an unavoidable part of change or can we handle it? What would a coherent system for managing restructuring processes, that really focuses on the protection of the interests of the various actors involved, look like? To answer this question, one needs to heed innovations1 and understand them not as “good (or bad) practices” that can be identified by case studies, but rather as a “subject for discussion”. Necessarily local and contingent, they have to be validated, studied and submitted to different actors’ points of view. Lessons can then be drawn on the nature of a given innovation, the problem it aimed to solve, what is specific to it and what can be learnt and used by others. We would like to illustrate the potential of such an approach, which we characterise as capitalisation. This is possible at international level because, as we saw, in the different countries,2 regulations differ but the principles, stages and consequences of restructuring processes are similar. Furthermore, if most of the innovations studied arise from the chance convergence of actors’ initiatives and available resources, the responses and actors’ behaviour in these circumstances display numerous similarities. In other words, countries often use the same basic tools to respond to the same types of problems with different legal and institutional resources and constraints. We will first take stock of the main conclusion...

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