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Ton Korver

Why would eligible people decline an offer of welfare services? In regard to this question and in the context of changes in the welfare state, this paper discusses the shift 'from entitlements to provisions'. After sketching the size of non-take-up and the social composition of those declining the offer of services, some tentative reasons or motives for non-take-up are presented. The discussion is derived from various approaches including the capability approach, Dahrendorf's approach of the “modern social conflict”, and social quality theory (SQT). These approaches are placed in the perspective of the “person,” as in the group/grid scheme developed by anthropologist Mary Douglas. The paper concludes that, in order to understand the phenomenon of non-take-up, a differentiated conception of the person, for which SQT is a prime inspiration, is a condition sine qua non.

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The Social Quality of Citizenship

Three Remarks for Kindling a Debate

Ton Korver

Social rights were to be the completion of the citizenship status of all members within a political community. Through a variety of causes (their entanglement with the goals of full employment and the welfare state, the complexities of the political project of the European Union, and conceptual confusion) the development of these rights has been arrested. The article sketches some of the origins of the present predicament of (social) rights and (social) citizenship. The article is informed by the hope that the arguments it puts forward may contribute to a renewed discussion on the necessity and promises of an EU form of citizenship that is worth instituting and emulating.

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Ton Korver

This report seeks to answer several basic questions concerning the employment situation in the Netherlands. The focus is on flexicurity, in other words the combination of secure and flexible employment from a lifetime perspective. Ultimately, secure employment comes down to employability, to a worker’s employability throughout her career, whether she works for one employer or for more than one.A single career may span many employers and many functions and jobs, according to the preferences of workers and companies. Flexibility seeks to adapt employment to the needs of the employing organisation, and thus to provide three key elements: employability for the employee; adaptive employment for the company or organisation; a system of social security enabling the employee to make the required transitions. Employability requires training and development, work of a quality to improve the skills of the employee, and a balanced combination of work, care and leisure, enabling the employee to maintain continuous participation in both work and other areas of life. From this perspective social security should not merely make work pay, it should also make transitions pay, whether these are from one job to another, one employer to another, one level of skill to another or from one combination of work and care to another.

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Ton Korver and Peter R. A. Oeij

Employability is on the agenda. Yet, we lack the institutional structures and mechanisms to effectively promote it. Most of our labour institutions are at the national level on the one hand, on the industrial and company level on the other hand. Collective bargaining, for example, is typically geared to industries and companies. For the interindustrial or intersectoral levels we have some national forums, but no effective intermediate institutions and mechanisms. In our view, the phenomenon of the covenant may fill the gap. Covenants are an effective way of combining the public interest in enhanced employability, and the collective interests of employers and employees in an adequate, educated and 'empowered' labour force. Against the background of the needs of a 'knowledge economy' and the underinvestment in skills, in particular due to a one-sided 'flexibility' of the labour market, we first sketch the ambitions of the EU, and the present state and the shortcomings of the training efforts in the economy. Next, we explain what the covenant stands for, what its promises are for triggering more training and strengthening employability, and what role the critical issue of trusting co-operation is expected to play.

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Peter R. A. Oeij, Steven Dhondt, and Ton Korver

Social innovation is becoming a core value of the EU flagship initiative Innovation Union, but it is not clearly demarcated as it covers a wide field of topics. To understand social innovation within European policymaking a brief outline is given of EC policy developments on innovation and on workplace innovation. Definitions of social innovation formulated at the societal level and the organizational or workplace level are discussed. Empirical research findings of workplace innovation in the Netherlands are presented as examples showing that workplace innovation activities boost organizational performance. The article explores the relation between workplace innovation and social innovation, and concludes that policy developments in the EU can be studied with the theory of social quality, provided that the latter in its empirical approach focuses on how individuals together constitute innovations.

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Jan Berting, Denis Bouget, Peter Herrmann, Gábor Juhász, Ton Korver, Peter R. A. Oeij, David Phillips, and Paule Monique Vernes

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Jan Berting, Erzébet Bukodi, Ton Korver, Pekka Kosonen, Laurent J.G. van der Maesen, An Marchal, François Nectoux, Jozef Pacolet, Heloísa M. Persista, Pedro Persista, Péter Róbert, and Jukka Vänskä

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