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Research Handbook on the Future of Work and Employment Relations

Research Handbook on the Future of Work and Employment Relations

Elgar original reference

Edited by Keith Townsend and Adrian Wilkinson

The broad field of employment relations is diverse and complex and is under constant development and reinvention. This Research Handbook discusses fundamental theories and approaches to work and employment relations, and their connection to broader political and societal changes occurring throughout the world. It provides comprehensive coverage of work and employment relations theory and practice.

Chapter 8: Employment Relations and Managerial Work: An International Perspective

John Hassard, Leo McCann and Jonathan Morris

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


* John Hassard, Leo McCann and Jonathan Morris INTRODUCTION The sub-prime financial crisis that erupted in 2007 has once again stimulated widespread concern about the structure, behaviour and ethics of large corporations (especially American corporations). Most discussion has focused at the summit of the organization, on corporate governance, new financial instruments and executive reward systems (Bogle, 2008; Kaplan, 2008; Walsh, 2008). Several analysts have argued that the American ‘model’ of business has lost much of its appeal following the sub-prime disaster (Capelli, 2009; Whitley, 2009). While not wishing to dismiss these concerns, this chapter suggests that there are also some other major problems taking place on a daily basis in organizational life, further down the corporate hierarchy, that are equally as important as the debates about ‘top-end’ corporate governance. In light of recent events in the corporate landscape, which have involved increasingly tough international competition alongside financial crises, scandals and corporate failures, the issue of just how well-run large companies are is of major concern. Amidst this discussion, there is concern in the academic (Green, 2006) as well as the more popular (Bunting, 2004; Fraser, 2001) literature about a distinct decline in the quality of working life for millions of employees in advanced OECD nations. This has long been an issue for blue-collar work but in recent decades it has also become increasingly relevant to white-collar, middle class occupations such as professionals and managers (Cameron et al., 1991; Hochschild, 2003). New organizational forms have involved flatter hierarchies, which squeeze out middle...

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