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Managing Employment Change: The New Realities of Work


  • Beynon, Huw

    (Director of the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University)

  • Grimshaw, Damian

    (Lecturer in Employment Studies, Manchester School of Management, UMIST)

  • Rubery, Jill

    (Professor of Comparative Employment Systems and Director of EWERC, Manchester School of Management, UMIST)

  • Ward, Kevin

    (Department of Geography, University of Manchester)


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 employment system.

Suggested Citation

  • Beynon, Huw & Grimshaw, Damian & Rubery, Jill & Ward, Kevin, 2002. "Managing Employment Change: The New Realities of Work," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199248704.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780199248704

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:wfo:wstudy:25545 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Rosaria Burchielli & Donna M. Buttigieg & Annie Delaney, 2006. "Mapping as Organizing: An analysis of how homeworkers are using mapping as an organizing tool," Working Papers 2006.05, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
    3. John Purcell & Kate Purcell & Stephanie Tailby, 2004. "Temporary Work Agencies: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(4), pages 705-725, December.
    4. Diana Polson & James DeFilippis & Annette Bernhardt, 2011. "Working Without Laws in New York City," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(2), pages 80-108.
    5. Ian Cunningham & Phil James & Pauline Dibben, 2006. "Tensions in local government employment relationships," Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 207-225, June.
    6. Jill Rubery & Annamaria Simonazzi & Kevin Ward, 2010. "Exploring international migration and outsourcing through an institutional lens," BIS Papers chapters,in: Globalisation, labour markets and international adjustment - Essays in honour of Palle S Andersen, volume 50, pages 77-103 Bank for International Settlements.
    7. Rosaria Burchielli & Annie Delaney & Jane Tate & Kylie Coventry, 2009. "The FairWear Campaign: An Ethical Network in the Australian Garment Industry," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 90(4), pages 575-588, December.
    8. James Hine & Lutz Preuss, 2009. "“Society is Out There, Organisation is in Here”: On the Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility Held by Different Managerial Groups," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 88(2), pages 381-393, August.
    9. Leo McCann, 2014. "Disconnected Amid the Networks and Chains: Employee Detachment from Company and Union after Offshoring," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 52(2), pages 237-260, June.
    10. Gerhard Bosch, 2004. "Towards a New Standard Employment Relationship in Western Europe," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(4), pages 617-636, December.
    11. Leo McCann & Jonathan Morris & John Hassard, 2008. "Normalized Intensity: The New Labour Process of Middle Management," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 343-371, March.
    12. Wotschack, Philip, 2010. "Working-time options over the life course: New challenges to German companies in times of crisis," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets SP I 2010-502, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    13. Elaine McCrate, 2013. "Employer-oriented schedule flexibility, gender and family care," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Gender and Economic Life, chapter 17, pages 273-289 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Randy Hodson, 2008. "The Ethnographic Contribution to Understanding Co-worker Relations," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 46(1), pages 169-192, March.
    15. Jill Rubery & Fang Lee Cooke & Jill Earnshaw & Mick Marchington, 2003. "Inter-organizational Relations and Employment in a Multi-employer Environment," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 41(2), pages 265-289, June.
    16. Hasnain, Zahid & Manning, Nick & Pierskalla Henryk, 2012. "Performance-related pay in the public sector : a review of theory and evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6043, The World Bank.
    17. Julia Bock-Schappelwein, 2006. "A Survey of the Development and Types of Flexibility and Social Security in the EU member Countries," WIFO Working Papers 276, WIFO.
    18. Leo McCann & John Hassard & Jonathan Morris, 2010. "Restructuring Managerial Labour in the USA, the UK and Japan: Challenging the Salience of 'Varieties of Capitalism'," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 48(2), pages 347-374, June.
    19. Rosaria Burchielli, 2006. "The Purpose of Trade Union Values: An Analysis of the ACTU 1 Statement of Values," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 68(2), pages 133-142, October.

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