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Organisational Change in Europe: National Models or the Diffusion of a New "One Best Way"?

  • Edward Lorenz
  • Antoine Valeyre

Drawing on the results of the third European Survey on Working Conditions undertaken in the 15 member nations of the European Union in 2000, this paper offers one of the first systematic comparisons of the adoption of new organisation forms across Europe. The paper is divided into five sections. The first describe the variables used to characterise work organisation in the 15 countries of the European Union and presents the results of the factor analysis and hierarchical clustering used to construct a 4-way typology of organisational forms, labelled the 'learning , 'lean , 'taylorist and 'traditional forms. The second section examines how the relative importance of the different organisational forms varies according to sector, firm size, occupational category, and certain demographic characteristics of the survey population. The third section makes use of multinomial logit analysis to assess the importance of national effects in the adoption of the different organisational forms. The results demonstrate significant international differences in the adoption of organisational forms characterised by strong learning dynamics and high problem-solving activity. The fourth section takes up the issue of HRM complementarities by examining the relation between organisation forms and the use of particular pay and training policies. The concluding section explores the relation between national differences in the use of the four organisational forms and differences in the way labour markets are regulated and in such research and technology measures as patenting and R&D expenditures. The results show that the relative importance of the learning form of organisation is both positively correlated with the extent of labour market regulation, as measured by the OECD's overall employment protection legislation index, and with innovative performance, as measured by the number of EPO patent application per million inhabitants.

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Paper provided by DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies in its series DRUID Working Papers with number 04-04.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:04-04
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  1. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1994. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Working Papers 4918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Paul Osterman, 1994. "How common is workplace transformation and who adopts it?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 173-188, January.
  3. Michael Greenacre, 2008. "Correspondence analysis of raw data," Economics Working Papers 1112, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2009.
  4. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
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