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This article examines Chinese immigrant engineers’ navigation in the highly flexible information technology (IT) industry in the United States and their strategies of utilizing the high-velocity labour market to their advantage. Flexible employment has grown both in prevalence and prominence in the study of the American IT industry. What flexibility theorists fail to attend to, however, is the ethnicised demission of the high-velocity labour market in the IT sector. To address this vacancy, the researcher conducted a 13-month ethnography at a leading internet-services firm in the United States and 66 additional interviews with engineers from eight leading tech companies. The ethnographic work showed that inequality that emerged within the tech firms (e.g. ‘bamboo ceilings’) disadvantaged Chinese engineers’ career development. The ‘bamboo ceiling’ stimulated Chinese immigrants to use the high-velocity labour market to normalize their job-hopping practices, in order to circumvent their career disadvantage. To facilitate their job-hopping, Chinese engineers developed university-based networks. This study concludes that, with help of their university network, Chinese immigrants became the most mobile group in the US tech industry, which further preserved the industry’s flexibility.
Financialisation is now an emerging field of research. Recently, the field has attracted criticism for its focus on large-scale economic processes, such as profit accumulation based not on production, but on a diversification of financial risk management tools – a focus which ignores the way in which individuals and households experience financialisation in everyday life. In addressing this gap, theorists have sought to understand financialisation as it relates to individuals as consumers and investors, increasing their need to integrate financial calculation into daily life. This article takes the analysis two steps further. First, it argues that precarious work is actually an aspect of financialisation, based on risk-shifting by employing organisations – a process of structural change in the labour market that actually undermines individual workers’ capacity to manage financial risk successfully. Second, it argues that financialisation is an ideology or narrative of individual responsibility, which seeks to legitimate structural change by promising emancipation through individual calculation. It draws on interviews with precarious workers to explore the gap between such norms of financial self-determination and the lived experience of insecure employment. It identifies this paradox of precariousness by focusing on people in professional occupations, who in theory are best placed to successfully negotiate economic change.
Mainstream economists argue that unemployment must be tackled with ‘flexibilisation’ or ‘labour market deregulation’. The public policy application has been the principle of ‘flexicurity’, with mixed labour market outcomes and limited success. Central contributions to theoretical and empirical economics writing on unemployment issues still espouse ‘flexibilisation’ as a general approach and warn about the detrimental effects of systematic deregulation under expectations of outcomes such as lower unemployment. Departing from a review of this literature, we take a step further from the ‘flexicurity’ prescription, to follow the capabilities approach of Sen and others, and develop a concept of social capabilities–based flexicurity for a learning economy, arguing that labour market performance must be targeted in an approach that includes a strong commitment to social well-being.
Non-standard patterns of paid work are increasing in Australia, and young people are among the most affected. To investigate the impact of non-standard work schedules on young people’s relationships, this article draws on data from 50 interviews conducted in 2008 and 4 surveys conducted between 2007 and 2012 with 636 young people (aged 18–24 years), all participating in the Life Patterns Project longitudinal study of youth in Australia. Over the 6 years, a majority of participants were engaged in non-standard work, working weekends, evenings or public holidays. A significant minority also faced weekly variability in their work schedules. The interview data suggest that these patterns of employment can be considered unsocial, making it more difficult to find regular periods of time together with a group of friends. Interview discussion also suggests that as a substitute for a greater quantity of shared time, some young people seek out shared experiences felt to be intense or out of the ordinary, such as that facilitated by alcohol consumption, to make the most of limited opportunities to bond with a group of close friends.
Japanese car makers were able dramatically to expand their share of the US car market in the seventies and eighties. This was partly the result of their own efforts and partly fortuitous. This paper examines why the US car makers of this period were vulnerable and how the Japanese were able to exploit their own technical and organisational strengths. An understanding of this key period in the history of Detroit’s ‘Big Three’ indicates why some two decades later the US companies found themselves on the brink of corporate ruin.
This article brings together labour relations, sociological and political perspectives on precarious employment in Australia, identifying local contexts of insecurity and setting them within the economics of regional supply chains involving the use of migrant labour. In developing the concept of precarious work-societies, it argues that precarity is a source of individual and social vulnerability and distress, affecting family, housing and communal security. The concept of depoliticisation is used to describe the processes of displacement, whereby the social consequences of precarious work come to be seen as beyond the reach of agency. Using evidence from social attitudes surveys, we explore links between the resulting sense of political marginalisation and hostility to immigrants. Re-politicisation strategies will need to lay bare the common basis of shared experiences of insecurity and explore ways of integrating precarious workers into new community and global alliances.
During its transition to a market economy, structural inequalities became increasingly apparent across China’s workforce, threatening social harmony. China’s 2008 Employment Contract Law, legislated amid policy debate, was intended to remedy these phenomena. We examine a crucial element of its remit: has its promotion of continuing contracts as against fixed-term employment contracts been effective? This is crucial for improving workers’ rights through secure employment. How have employers responded to this challenge to their prerogatives in terms of hiring and firing? We analysed data from 2007 and 2012 drawn from All-China Federation of Trade Unions surveys, which cover approximately 80,000 individuals. Using institutional theory, we discuss a variety of employer responses. We find that the Employment Contract Law has increased the likelihood of signing continuing contracts among migrant workers, employees in privately owned enterprises, and those with lower professional titles and who are short-term employees – all disadvantaged labour market categories previously. It has also significantly narrowed gaps regarding access to continuing contracts between these categories and matched advantaged ones. There is also evidence that some employers seek to avoid or sidestep compliance through cost-minimising worker engagement strategies.
Casual employment in Australia is more prevalent than temporary work in most European nations, and casual employees have fewer rights and entitlements than comparable temporary employment categories in Europe. Yet, despite Australia’s long history of industrial activism and political representation of labour, there are fewer examples of social or political movements in Australia resisting precarious work than in Europe. This article provides a partial explanation of this puzzling lack of social resistance to casual employment. It begins from the idea, developed by the Frankfurt School tradition of critical social theory, that economic systems can create or sustain norms that conceal their more harmful social effects from public view. It then uses conceptual categories drawn from critical social theory to show how individual and social costs of casual employment have been overlooked or ‘reified’ in the workplace and in public political discourse. The study is based on existing qualitative research and on a new analysis of attitudes to work and economic organisation in Australian public discourse.
The pros and cons of part-time work have attracted considerable attention in recent years, not least because of its presumed potential to enable employees to reconcile paid work and family needs. This article focuses on job-sharing, which is a unique yet underexplored form of part-time work and one which has rarely been analysed in terms of the consequences for all stakeholders. This case study of job-sharing details its positive outcomes for some employees, in assisting them to balance career and family. The study also highlights some previously unexplored and, we argue, unintended negative consequences of job-sharing. In this case, job-sharing contributed to the increased use of temporary employees who were locked out of many of the benefits of quality flexible work. Furthermore, the case study reveals competing interests between permanent and temporary employees, creating a range of challenges for human resource practitioners in managing and developing both groups.
Defence procurement is a notoriously difficult and often controversial field of public management. In Australia, problems with schedule and budget overruns have been addressed through business process reforms aimed at tightening control and improving professionalism. However, studies of complex contracting in other contexts show the importance of relational factors of trust, collaboration and risk-sharing. These factors are not encouraged by the predominantly transactionally based contractual environment of Defence. Based on a detailed examination of three case studies, we suggest that there is a disjunct between the types of controls that are applied by Defence and the requirements of delivering complex, long-term projects involving multiple stakeholders. The need for both improved flexibility as well as heightened accountability is evident. We argue that balancing these values involves processes that encourage, rather than discourage, communication, risk-sharing and trust.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced large sections of the workforce to work from home, the uptake of working from home in the public sector had been limited and subject to the discretion or ‘allowance decisions’ of individual managers. Allowance decisions are influenced by factors at the organisational, group and individual levels. This research examines managers’ allowance decisions on working from home at each of these levels. It compares two qualitative datasets: one exploring managerial attitudes to working from home in 2018 and another dataset collected in mid-2020, as Australia transitioned out of the initial pandemic lockdown. The findings suggest a change in the factors influencing managers’ allowance decisions. We have identified a new factor at the organisational level, in the form of local organisational criteria. At the group level, previous concerns about employee productivity largely vanished, and managers experienced an epiphany that working from home could be productive. At the individual level, a new form of managerial discretion emerged as managers attempted to reassert authority over employees working remotely. These levels intersect, and we conclude that allowance decisions are fluid and not made solely by managers but are the result of the interactions between the organisational, group and individual levels.
In the first decade of the present century, a succession of changes to Philippine labour law and jurisprudence sought to contribute to productivity and social welfare by introducing greater industrial relations flexibility, based on collective bargaining and voluntary dispute settlement. The article examines whether these changes actually resulted in any shift from a rights-based system for resolving industrial disputation to a system based on workplace-level interest-based negotiation, and whether they were accompanied either by higher labour productivity or by improved social welfare. The analysis draws on a conceptual framework that identifies coherent national labour regulation systems as being based on a convergence of three institutional approaches – to the operation of labour markets, of labour relations and of social security. Broadly, such labour regulation systems can be classified as either civil law or common law based. The Philippine labour regulation system is shown to have a hybrid basis, whose origins are briefly traced by identifying the legacy of the colonial and post-colonial phases, the martial law era and the restoration of democracy in 1986. Whereas Australia, another hybrid system, appears to have achieved some coherence in changes to the regulation of industrial relations, labour markets and social welfare, in the Philippines, such changes have not converged. In the 1990s, efforts to mitigate the traditional legalistic and adversarial character of industrial relations through liberalisation of restrictions on the right to organise were cross-cut by the effects of the growing labour market flexibility that resulted from integration into the global economy. Legal changes between 1999 and 2011 have not fostered voluntary self-organisation of distributive bargaining at enterprise level. Union membership, collective bargaining coverage and numbers of workers involved in notified or actual industrial action have declined, while reliance on compulsory arbitration and monetary compensation claims has remained high. Labour productivity has not improved. Within the context of globalisation, the labour market is increasingly characterised by numerical flexibility and a prevalence of small enterprises. High unemployment levels and a large informal sector indicate divergence between the systems for regulating labour and welfare.
Chapter 4 explores the role of alternative dispute resolution, specifically mediation, in CoP proceedings, the first academic piece on this topic. The use of mediation in CoP practice is increasing and there is a trend towards mediation as the primary form of ADR in civil and family justice. In analysing the role of mediation in the CoP, the chapter draws on original empirical data to explore the views of professionals working in mental capacity law. In analysing this data, emphasis is placed on the embodied benefits of flexibly resolving disputes outside of the formalities of the courtroom, as well as the challenges involved in maintaining neutrality, trustworthiness and participation without judicial oversight. The chapter concludes that mediation has an important role to play as a complementary part of the toolkit of a reimagined CoP because it has the potential to provide an improvement in procedural justice. However, the legalism present in discussions of mediation in the empirical data is also highlighted, arguing that if mediation is going to secure an improvement in access to justice, then it needs to be driven by the parties rather than notions of justice predetermined by legal professionals.
Chapter 2 provides the theoretical framework for the book, focusing on advancing a procedural justice analysis through which the CoP is analysed. This chapter outlines the intrinsic, instrumental and pragmatic reasons why a procedural justice analysis is justified, doing so by reference to the procedural justice literature that shows how and why individuals value fair procedures, as well as analysing the underpinning normative procedural justice questions. Furthermore, it specifically explores how this theoretical frame can operate within and apply to the CoP. The theoretical approach to procedural justice is set out in detail, drawing on feminist literature on embodiment to develop a framework of procedural justice values, including: respect for the individual, flexibility, trustworthiness, neutrality and participation.
The relationship between fear and social ties has been frequently discussed in the context of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, but investigation of the nature of these experiences is still insufficient. Research suggests that people who respect social ties often experience better mental health outcomes. However, when socially isolated, excluded, or subjected to rumors, they may become more vulnerable to criticism, shame, and fear. Another potential problem of the COVID-19 pandemic is intergroup prejudice and distrust.
To examine the development and mitigation of social ties, fears, and biases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We applied discourse analysis to relevant literature and their associated references that incorporated textual, social, and cognitive dimensions. The main databases used were PubMed and Web of Science.
Although the importance of social ties was loudly vocalized as lessening loneliness, people also globally described stigma-related fear or intergroup conflicts. The sense of social ties appeared disproportionately amplified in the form of an in-group identity, group pressures, and empathic distress. Some people overstated worries about their COVID-19-positive status being revealed to others and causing distress for them. Furthermore, discrimination and vigilantism were manifested with fear-related stereotyping and hostility.
Our findings support the view that social ties can indeed function as both risk and protective factors. Context-adjusted perspectives and reciprocal dialogs seem crucial to alleviate these negative impacts. The subsequent mitigation of misunderstandings, fear-induced bias, and maladaptive distress appraisal may lead to a more reasonable and flexible recognition of social ties.
In this chapter, we explain the methodological frame and normative hypothesis of Resilient Property, drawing on wicked problem theory, vulnerability theory and equilibrium theory. Structuring methods drawn from wicked problem theory and “method assemblage” are adopted to support fuller analyses of the complex array of relations and practices, individual and institutional vulnerabilities that are at stake when homeless squatters occupy empty property. Resilient Property draws insights from “vulnerability theory”: adopting Fineman’s general approach to vulnerability and resilience; and building on her insights concerning institutional vulnerability, including the vulnerability of the state. This provides a central anchor for our analyses of state responses to squatting: that a necessary implication of recognizing that the state itself is a vulnerable institution is that we recognize the need for states (and governments) to act in ways that build their own resilience, to shore up their authority and legitimacy in the face of conflict or crises. This underpins our focus on “equilibrium” in Resilient Property: recognizing that states are not neutral arbiters in relation to competing claims to land but are required to negotiate their “other-regarding” responsibilities – adjudicating and allocating resilience to individuals and institutions – against the backdrop of their own “self-regarding” need for resilience. Through this approach, Resilient Property enables us to develop a realistic, contextualized, conceptualization of state action with regard to complex property problems.
The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a multidimensional exercise intervention on improving fall risk deterrent factors, such as overall strength and flexibility in nursing home residents.
A multi-centre, randomized controlled trial was finally utilized in 40 older adults (>65 years) who were randomly allocated to the intervention or the control group (20 subjects in each). The intervention group attended an exercise program twice a week for eight weeks, to improve functional mobility. The control group did not receive any intervention. Measurements before and after intervention included the Hand Grip Strength (HGS) testing, the Sit-to-Stand test (SST), the Back Scratch Test (BST), and the Sit-and-Reach test (SRT).
MANOVA revealed significant time effects, V = 0.336, F(6, 33) = 2.78, p = 0.027, partial η2 = 0.336; group effects, V = 0.599, F(6, 33) = 8.22, p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.599; and group*time interaction, V = 0.908, F(6, 33) = 54.52, p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.908. A subsequent univariate analysis did not reveal a significant time effect for any variable (p > 0.05). Significant group effects were observed only for SRT (p < 0.05). Significant group*time interactions were observed for all the examined variables (p < 0.05). Dependent t-tests showed that the older adults in the exercise group were significantly improved in all the examined parameters (p < 0.05). Except for SRT (p > 0.05), all the other parameters significantly deteriorated in the control group (p < 0.05).
Significant improvements were demonstrated in strength and flexibility among nursing home residents following an eight-week group exercise training program.
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Africa are going through transformations like in the rest of the world. Transformations include digitalisation, and participation in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The transformations have opportunities and challenges. The latter include competition, reduced public funding, the effects of ecological changes on the curricula, and adoption of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) enhanced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The former include the speed at which information is accessed and processed, easy connections among people, and easy and virtual teaching and learning which economises on resources. One Lecturer can teach thousands of students based in different places at the same time. This chapter analyses digitalisation in HEIs in Africa. It argues that while adoption of TEL was already underway, COVID-19 enhanced it by limiting options for teaching and learning. Thus, digitalisation in HEIs is eco-friendly, flexible, and economical.
Recently, researchers have argued that strategic planning (SP) can be considered a dynamic capability (DC) in organizations – known as dynamic SP. However, the literature that discusses both SP and DCs supports different comprehensions of how both interact, resulting in different sets of research with contradictory findings. This theoretical effort presents a brief review and argues that SP is one of the microfoundations of DCs because it supports the seizing and continuous alignment of assets and resources. Under this perspective, SP has a role in the development and implementation of all organizational DCs and is not restricted to a DC specifically. It is argued that the interactions between DCs, SP and performance over time can lead to the learning needed for better DCs, SP and performance in a virtuous and mutually reinforcing cycle.
In the preceding chapters of this book, we have seen a variety of national approaches to the issuance and tailoring of injunctive relief, characterized by a range of similarities and differences among jurisdictions. In this chapter, we synthesize the principal features of these different legal systems, provide an analytical framework for comparing them, and offer our observations about trends and the outlook for the future.