Social Convoy in Enterprise Restructuring: Concepts, Instruments and Views of Social Actors in Europe
While occupational transitions increase, employees experience insecurity with regard to their individual employment situation to a much larger degree than in the past. The formal guarantee of a workplace exists no longer, or else only to a lesser degree. Society will have to respond to these changes, and also research has to redirect its focus. Continuous adaptation to the changing labour market – the so-called employability – describes the new challenge. Yet, the responsibility for the establishment of this new concept or characteristic can not only be placed on the individual employees; nor should the consequences of company restructuring merely be borne by society in general. The companies themselves that dismiss employees or ask for greater flexibility should be considered responsible to a greater extent than in the past. At the same time, individuals should cease to merely be receivers of help and benefits, but should become active partners in the process of re-orientation. The normalisation of occupational transitions formed the entrance to the scientific evaluation of the European research project “Social Convoy and Sustainable Employability: Innovative Strategies for Outplacement/Replacement Counselling” (SOCOSE) coordinated by Thomas Kieselbach at the University of Bremen. The results of this project are based on interdisciplinary research. In five countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, and The Netherlands), psychologists and social scientists analysed the social convoy in the course of dismissal until successful re-integration into the labour market. Two associated partners further contributed from the field of labour law and business ethics, respectively. The main outcome of the project is a concept which can be used for outlining outplacement/replacement intervention strategies for employees affected by job insecurity within a wide variety of different settings and in different countries.
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