Restructuring Work and Employment in Europe
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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.
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Chapter 11: Supporting Job Transitions: Employers, Worker Representatives and Agencies

Matthias Knuth

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11. Supporting job transitions: employers, worker representatives and agencies Matthias Knuth 1. INTRODUCTION The problems of this chapter begin with language because we have to deal with a concept and practice that does not exist in English-speaking countries. Of course, outplacement is part of the story, and it originated in the 1960s as a service for managers in the US (Brammer / Humberger 1984). But this chapter is not about outplacement techniques and methods as such. It is rather about the components of national employment systems (legal and negotiated rules, industrial relations, constellations of actors, institutional framework, traditions and values) that give ordinary workers affected by redundancy a chance to receive a bundle of services – among which there could be something called ‘outplacement’. We are focussing here not on means but on ends, and the desired result of such services would be that an employee made redundant because of restructuring would make a successful transition to another meaningful and rewarding job. This is what is called here a ‘job transition’. In German, this would be expressed as ‘berufliche Übergänge’ (Kieselbach et al. 2006), which matches quite closely the French expression ‘transitions professionnelles’. However, ‘professional transitions’ in English does not sound quite the same because the word ‘professional’ in English has a stronger slant towards the expert and the highly educated rather than relating to working life in general. It might also be misread as ‘supporting transitions for money’ (professional vs. amateur) or ‘transitions effected in a...

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