Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 17–38 | Cite as

Flexibility and security in the labour market: An analysis of the governance of inequality

Invited Paper

Abstract

The financial crisis drew attention to the way in which workers in certain countries had been able to sustain consumption through housing and consumer credit despite insecure labour-market positions. This indicates a need to expand the analysis of the relationship between flexibility and security in labour markets beyond the normal scope of labour and social policy to include many other aspects of not only public policy but also corporate practice that affect that relationship.

Individuals are seen as based within a number of collectivities within which life chances are collectively determined (or CLCs). These collectivities are subject to various forms of governance. Finally, attention is given to the dimension of sustainability, the capacity of any combinations of policies and practices to endure self-destructive tendencies. The governance mechanisms of CLCs are then seen as using one or more strategies for achieving a certain balance between uncertainty and security: externalization of risk on to other CLCs; postponement of risk-bearing to future periods of time; externalization of risk on to certain members of the CLC itself; widespread sharing within the CLC.

This approach is then used to consider the main policies and practices relevant to the field: employment law; social policies directly delivering services; advancement of skill and employability levels available within the population; public promotion and/or protection of sectors and production locations perceived to be of strategic importance, including public employment; government demand management; insurance and pensions; trading relationships among nation states with different export and import patterns; consumer credit to sustain mass consumption; locally clustered economic sectors; the shadow economy; managerial organization of activities offering varying degrees of security among different countries and regions, including supply chain management; internal labour markets and organization of work and work roles; collective bargaining; inter-generational transfers and support; the protection of property-owning elites from labour-market uncertainty.

Flexibilität und Sicherheit auf dem Arbeitsmarkt: eine Analyse der Governance der Ungleichheit

Zusammenfassung

Die Wirtschaftskrise hat darauf aufmerksam gemacht, wie die Arbeiter in bestimmten Ländern es geschafft hatten, den Konsum durch Immobilien- und Konsumentenkredite trotz unsicherer Arbeitsmarktpositionen aufrechtzuerhalten. Dies zeigt die Notwendigkeit, die Analyse des Verhältnisses von Flexibilität und Sicherheit in Arbeitsmärkten über den normalen Umfang von Arbeits- und Sozialpolitik hinaus zu erweitern, um viele weitere Aspekte – nicht nur der öffentlichen Ordnung sondern auch der Geschäftspraktiken –, die dieses Verhältnis beeinflussen, mit einzubeziehen.

Individuen werden als in einer Anzahl von Kollektiven lebend dargestellt, in welchen ihre Chancen im Leben kollektiv bestimmt werden („Collectivities of Life Chances“ [CLCs]). Diese Kollektive unterliegen verschiedenen Formen der Governance. Letztlich wird die Dimension der Nachhaltigkeit, also die Fähigkeit einer beliebigen Kombination von Politiken und Praktiken, trotz ihrer selbstzerstörerischen Tendenzen zu überleben, untersucht. Die Governance-Mechanismen von CLCs werden dann dargestellt, als nutzten sie eine oder mehrere Strategien, um ein gewisses Gleichgewicht zwischen Unsicherheit und Sicherheit zu erlangen: Risiken auf andere CLCs zu externalisieren; das Eingehen von Risiko auf einen späteren Zeitpunkt zu verschieben; Risiken auf bestimmte Mitglieder des eigenen Kollektivs zu verteilen und das weitverbreitete Verteilen von Risiken innerhalb des CLC.

Dieser Ansatz wird dann benutzt, um die für das Gebiet relevanten Hauptpolitiken und -praktiken zu untersuchen: das Arbeitsrecht; Sozialpolitiken, die Leistungen direkt erbringen; das Vorankommen von in der Bevölkerung vorhandenen Kompetenzen und der Beschäftigungsfähigkeit; die öffentliche Vermarktung bzw. der Schutz von Sektoren und Produktionsstandorten, die als von strategischem Wert gelten einschließlich des öffentlichen Dienstes; Nachfragemanagement durch die Regierung; Versicherung und Rente; Handelsbeziehungen zwischen Nationalstaaten, die unterschiedliche Export- und Importmuster aufweisen; Konsumentenkredit, um den Massenkonsum aufrecht zu erhalten; örtlich gebündelte Wirtschaftssektoren; der Schwarzmarkt; die betriebswirtschaftliche Organisation von Aktivitäten die unterschiedliche Sicherheitsgrade zwischen verschiedenen Ländern und Regionen bieten, einschließlich des Supply-Chain-Managements; interne Arbeitsmärkte und die Organisation von Arbeit und Arbeitsrollen; Tarifverhandlungen; intergenerativer Wissenstransfer und intergenerative Unterstützung; das Absichern von vermögensbesitzenden Eliten gegen arbeitsmarktbedingte Unsicherheiten.

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Copyright information

© Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Warwick Business School, The University of WarwickCoventryUK

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