Managing Change in an Era of Globalisation
Edited by Bernard Gazier and Frédéric Bruggeman
Chapter 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 professional (=expert) manner’ – which of course they should be,...
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