Deregulation and decentralization have placed organizations in the driving seat of employment change. Drawing on seven case studies of large organizations, this book examines how organizations as the architects of the employment system are restructuring their employment practices. Rich data on the experience of work collected from all seven organizations provide clear evidence of a general transformation of the wage-effort relationship based on cost cutting and
increased work intensity. This increased work intensity is shown to be a consequence - intended and unintended - of changes to a variety of employment policies and practices, including changes to staffing policies (for example the trend towards 'lean staffing', and the use of new contracts), changes to
the skills-mix and training provision associated with policies of 'delayering' and multi-skilling, and changes in working time arrangements towards more flexible and extended working hours.
Such trends in employment practices have been interpreted as a return to the market as the institutionalized employment system, characteristic of bureaucratic organizations and strong trade unions, visibly crumbles. The analysis presented here rejects the notion of simple market determination and instead develops an integrated and interdisciplinary framework for understanding the processes shaping employment change. Managers are seeking solutions to increasing market or performance pressures
through changes to employment policies. However, these responses to budget cuts and market pressures are shown to be mediated by the institutional, political, and social environment inside and outside the organization. Moreover managers are found in practice not to be able to control their environment
or implement their desired policies with the expected outcomes. Despite the increased scope for managerial initiative and the greater opportunities for shifting the risk and responsibility of adapting to new conditions on to labour, the attempts of managers to develop a strategic approach to employment change are proving to be largely unsuccessful. The book ends by calling for a renewal and rebuilding of labour market institutions to kick-start the process of reversing this fragmentation of the
`This piece of research and this analysis removes the veil of the grandiose to expose and reflect upon the nitty-gritty experience of a working organization, with the hands of expertise proficient to empower us in our necessary and inevitable task of managing employment change.'
Work, Employment and Society
Part I: Managing Employment Change in a Shifting Environment
1: Understanding Change at Work
2: Seven Case Studies: An Introduction
3: Patterns of Work and Labour
Part II: Innovation in Employment Practices
4: Dimensions of Employment Change
5: Staffing the Organization: New Patterns of Entry and Exit
6: Bridging the Skills Gap? New Training Provision and Work Organization
7: The End of Standard Working Time?
Part III: The Costs of Change
8: Drawing Together the Threads: A Question of Labour Costs and Work Intensification
9: Work Intensification and Forms of Control
Conclusion. Managing Employment Change: Who's Managing What?