IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Gender, Part-time Employment and Employee Participation in the Workplace: Comparing Australia and the European Union

Listed author(s):
Registered author(s):

    The international trend in the growth and incidence of 'no n-standard employment', and its highly gendered nature, is well documented. For ease of definition, and because of the nature of the available data, we focus upon part-time employment in this paper. Employee participation may be defined as any workplace process which 'allows employees to exert some influence over their work and the conditions under which they work' (Strauss 1998). It may be divided into two main approaches, direct participation and indirect or representative participation. Direct participation involves the employee in job or task-oriented decision-making in the production process at the shop or office floor level. Indirect or representative forms of participation include joint consultative committees, works councils, and employee members of boards of directors or management. In the EU context statutory works councils are the most common expression of representative participation, but in Australia, consultative committees resulting from union/employer agreement or unilateral management initiative are the more common form. All of these forms of employee participation raise important issues concerning part time employees. Effective participation has two further major requirements which also may disadvantage part timers. First, there is a ge neral consensus in the participation literature that training is required for effective direct or representative participation. Secondly, effective communication between management and employees is required for participation, preferably involving a two-way information flow. The issue is of further significance since it has decided gender implications. This paper seeks to redress this relative insularity in the literature by examining some broad trends in this area in Australia and the EU. It analyses survey data at a national level in Australia and compares with some survey data generated in the EU by the EPOC project and analysed by Juliet Webster along the lines which we suggest here. It tests the hypothesis that the growth of one non-standard form of employment, part-time employment, diminishes the access to participation in the workplace enjoyed by female workers in comparison with their male colleagues, and finds that the hypothesis is strongly confirmed. This has major implications for workplace equity, and for organisational efficiency.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia in its series Economics Working Papers with number wp01-07.

    in new window

    Length: 14 pages
    Date of creation: 2001
    Handle: RePEc:uow:depec1:wp01-07
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    School of Economics, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong NSW 2522 Australia

    Phone: +612 4221-3659
    Fax: +612 4221-3725
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uow:depec1:wp01-07. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Siminski)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.