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 13: Networking: Employers’ Groups

Gelica Dalon and François Pichault


Gelica Dalon and François Pichault INTRODUCTION Labour is faced with profound organisational changes. Businesses are reviewing how they are organised prompted by intense competition and the need for flexibility. The large vertically integrated company is breaking down into multiple forms and complex partnerships. Many SMEs are resistant to growth and are creating networks to confront markets with a critical mass. Organisations generally centre on their core activity and outsource peripheral activities. These organisational changes are mainly influenced by the supply chain principles (Deffayet, 2001), and this has the effect of blurring the traditional boundaries of organisations (Pichault, 2000) and diluting the link to employment (Supiot, 1999). If supply chains are increasingly governing the work relationship, where does the responsibility for social management lie? Are we not witnessing an increasing separation between economic and social responsibility? If one of the links in the network restructures, does this mean collateral damage for the other links in the chain? In this context, developing mutualised systems such as Employer Groups (EGs), or “job pools” appears to be an interesting prospect in the allocation of resources. On the one hand, companies can share costs linked to recruitment, training and the management of part of their workforce. On the other hand they can reduce the risks related to changes in activity (responding better to sudden rises and falls in demand). Mutualisation systems offer employees ways to increase the security of their employment. However, the fact remains that in most countries in...

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