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Flexible and Secure

Adaptability and the Employment Relationship

Joint Report Team

Adaptability under the guise of management first addresses – for obvious reasons, it being management – the corporate agency, aiming at the level of biographical processes, while impacting on the level of societal processes through the health of communities as agencies (families, neighbourhoods and communal services, to the extent that they depend on the employment, and employment provisions, of a corporate agency).

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Introduction

Lenience in Systems of Religious Meaning and Practice

Maya Mayblin and Diego Malara

tolerant than expected.” Yet it might also be thought of as a fact or quality of plasticity or flexibility. As a noun, lenience denotes a loosening or lessening of something—normally, some chore, practice, or punishment. But this does not necessarily make

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Erzsébet Bukodi and Péter Róbert

European labour-market patterns tend to contain a growing element of flexible employment, which deviates from the norm of the secure, lifelong career. What do we mean by flexible work? Dex and McCullogh (1997) offer the following definition: ‘Flexible work … is a description of a change in the distribution of labour market jobs, away from standard full-time permanent employee contracts, and towards a growth in various types of non-standard employment forms.’ Pollert (1988) argues that flexibility refers to a combination of different factors. It involves firms being flexible enough to be able to respond quickly and efficiently to technological and economic changes; it also refers to organisations that are flexible in terms of employee numbers. In addition, it refers to a workforce that is multi-skilled and/or flexible with regard to time. This may result in a trend for firms to retain ‘core ’employees who work flexibly, with a periphery of employees who are flexible because they are irregularly employed. The result of this process is that employment is no longer as stable as it was. The development of the new, flexible labour market undermines security, leading to the so-called ‘risk society’ (Crompton et al.,1996).

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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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Joint Report Team

This paper combines two documents on employment flexibility and security prepared in the context of the research project ‘Social Quality and the Policy Domain of Employment,’ undertaken by the European Foundation on Social Quality. The first document relates to work time in Europe, its social distribution and its evolution – the crucial importance of work time for the approach of flexibility is not to be demonstrated, as it is one of the main factors, alongside other characteristics, such as skills and working conditions, that have been promoted under the general umbrella of ‘employment flexibility ’as a panacea for bringing the ‘Old Europe ’back in line with the successfully job-creating U.S. economy. At the same time, people at work themselves increasingly recognise work-time flexibility as a fundamental instrument of quality of life. To achieve such flexibility will require significant social investment, such as support from the Welfare State and a full regulation framework.

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Anastasia Todd

economy, I explore how her storyline serves to (re)secure US exceptionalism through the shoring up and celebration of the flexible, heteronormative, post-post-Americans with Disabilities Act 3 American family. This article responds to McRuer’s call for

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Laura Frahm

More than any other recent urban film, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Biutiful (MX/ES 2010) proposes a poignant commentary on the present conditions of a multi-ethnic yet racially segregated city, which is organized by different levels of mobility. Rather than being a tragedy, tracing the last months of Uxbal, a man who, in the face of his impending death, struggles to ensure a sheltered life for his two children, Biutiful can be conceived as a cinematic critique of the city. It offers a distinct contribution to the discourse on urban mobility, since it meticulously deciphers the urban conditions of an emerging new mobility spurred by a permanent quest for adaptability: a complex, contradictory mobility I would like to call a “forced flexible mobility.” In highlighting both the unequal distribution of space and its constant re-appropriation by different ethnic and social groups, this mobility tackles the contradictory status of a “flexible human being” forced into continuous transformation.

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Lucio Baccaro and Marco Simoni

After months of intense debate, the referendum on Article 18 of the

Workers’ Statute was held on 15–16 June 2003. The aim of the referendum

was to extend to all workers, independent of the size of the

firm, so-called real protection, that is, the right to reinstatement in case

of unjustified dismissal.1 The result was clear once the polls were

closed and even before the votes were counted. Only 25.7 percent of

eligible voters took part, a significant amount less than the required 50

percent quorum. It meant that the 10 million votes (87.4 percent of voters)

in favor of extending Article 18 had no legislative impact.2 The fact

that the vote was not validated could lead to the conclusion that the

event was insignificant. However, it provides an opportunity to look at

the dynamics between trade unions and politics in recent years, especially

with respect to the debates over labor market flexibility and legislative

proposals of the center-right government. Moreover, the

referendum contributed both to the accentuation of divisions between

the major trade union confederations (CGIL, CISL, and UIL) during the

campaign and then to their attenuation following the vote. Finally, the

referendum, perhaps, brought to a conclusion a two-year struggle for

the representation of labor. It strengthened the traditional ruling group

of the Ulivo and Communist Refoundation while weakening that of

Sergio Cofferati, the spiritual leader of the wider left extending from

the Margherita to the No Global and girotondi movements.

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Olaf Zenker

This article takes as its starting point a peculiar land claim within the ongoing South African land restitution process – more specifically, the legal and administrative technicalities that allowed for the implosion of the accompanying court case in the Land Claims Court – to open up a space for reflection on the ambiguous nature of state bureaucracies as ambiguity-reducing machines. Tracing the specificities of bureaucratic attempts at foreclosing ambiguities and insufficiencies in state practice, I show how a reorientation towards the new public goods of 'service delivery', 'transparency' and 'accountability' brought about a pronounced regime of performance indicators and de-judicialized bureaucratic flexibility. Demonstrating how these attempts to reduce ambiguities created new zones of ambiguity and unaccountability of their own, I argue for a post-Weberian analysis of the path-dependent realities of 'bureaucratic authority' to help us understand the seemingly arbitrary structural violence that state bureaucracies often enact.

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Heloísa M. Perista and Pedro Perista

This paper is organised into six main parts: first, this introduction outlines some general features of the Portuguese labour market; the second part deals with the main characteristics of employment relations; part 3, ‘Working time ’, provides some further observations regarding employment, focusing on the number and distribution of working hours, and on workers subjective considerations; part 4, ‘Income security ’, analyses a number of indicators concerning remuneration and social protection; part 5, ‘Forms of care leave ’, further develops the issue of social protection in its specific relation to leave for care purposes, and the possibility of combining care responsibilities with professional activity; finally, part 6 discusses the issue of flexicurity in Portugal, and its trends. It should be noted that,due to the unavailability of harmonised European data for all the relevant issues, we have had to resort to national data. However, for some indicators (fortunately few), it was not possible to gather the appropriate data. In these cases, the unavailability of data is referred to in the text.