The Future of Work and Employment
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The Future of Work and Employment

Edited by Adrian Wilkinson and Michael Barry

This cutting-edge book charts the latest ideas and concepts in employment relations research. Mapping out the intellectual boundaries of the field, The Future of Work and Employment outlines the key research and policy outcomes for work and employment in the age of digitisation and artificial intelligence.
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Chapter 12: Governing Global Production Networks in the new economy

Huw Thomas


Global Production Networks (GPNs) have become a defining feature of globalisation and have significant implications for the promotion, preservation and protection of decent work. To date, much of the discussion around the future of work has focussed on the rise of these (vertical) networks and its negative impact on the effectiveness of traditional forms of governance at the national (horizontal) level. The argument in this chapter is that GPN theory offers an effective theoretical tool to understanding the impact of different forms of labour governance on the objectives of the employment relationship as well as recognising how workers can exercise agency to improve their relative position in the network. By focussing on three key areas – contestation, multi-scalarity and voice – in these global networks, a future research agenda is identified that can inform practice and policy.

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