- Understanding varieties of flexibility and security in multinationals: Product markets, institutional variation and local bargaining
- European Journal of Industrial Relations
- Volume | Issue number
- 21 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS)
Most studies of flexicurity have focused on formal institutions within distinctive national labour market systems. However, the level and types of flexibility and security in a national labour market are to an important extent influenced by company-level processes, relationships and policies; thus a micro-perspective should be integrated into the study of flexibility and security. This article advances understanding of the influences of decentralized rule-making and its links with the macro level by drawing on case study research in four multinational companies, each with subsidiaries in Germany, Belgium, Italy and the UK. It reveals major differences in terms of flexibility and security between companies operating in the same country, and major similarities between the subsidiaries of the same multinational. Product market characteristics affect local autonomy to define human resource policies; national institutions and local circumstances then affect the capabilities of trade unions and works councils to negotiate local flexibility-security trade-offs.
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