Essays on Flexible Firms and Labor Market Segmentation Assignment

Tags: Employment
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MEMORANDUM 1. We have been tasked to consider whether our use of numerical and structural flexibility strategies divides this organization between the employees with standard status and those on contract, or non-standard working relationships. (156) 2. The researchers have determined: a. Flexible employment strategies diversify work arrangements. b. Flexibility adds uncertainty for both employers and employees. c. Use of non-standard employees may create conflict with standard employees decreasing teamwork. d. Non-standard employees are both highly valued and desirable or they are discard-able and replaceable. e. The differences between core and peripheral employees need study. f. Flexible employment strategies are subject to national and local labor laws. 3.

Based on the data presented and the study bias, the wise course of action rejects the findings, but gleans useful information. First, employees are neither standard nor non-standard. They both produce and work within the system as a team, or they do not. According to Kalleberg, nearly 85% of the male workforce and 71% of the female workforce are in standard full-time employment conditions or self-employed as owners or independent contractors. If regular part-time employment is added as voluntary and desirable by both parties, men are 92% settled and women are 93% employed correctly.

Kalleberg demonstrates a bias when judging self-employment jobs as “not all that bad”, but discussed the lack of benefits for these workers. Self-employed workers choose to do so and their reasons are their own, with or without Kalleberg’s approval. Regular part-time employment is also a choice for families with grade school kids. One parent may elect to be at home, so regular part-time employment is a solid option. In this scenario, one parent may enjoy the standard arrangement and receive benefits for the family while the other spouse maximizes part-time pay by voluntarily rejecting the benefits package for greater pay.

The benefits bias is enormous in this study. More specific to the six conclusions: a. Flexible employment strategies supply choice for employees, especially to the 8% who do not seem to desire a standard arrangement. b. Flexibility adds uncertainty for both employers and employees. Yes it does, voluntarily, to solve a shared problem. c. There is no evidence presented that non-standard employees create conflict with standard employees. This conclusion is raw speculation. d.

Non-standard employees are both highly valued and desirable or they are discard-able and replaceable. This conclusion decreases the problem from 8% marginality to about 6%. e. The differences between core and peripheral employees need study. Didn’t we just hire someone to do this? f. Flexible employment strategies are subject to national and local labor laws. Thorough and specific investigation into these laws is warranted. 4. The HR department should follow up on several implications within the study. First, investigate if any tension, negative competition, combativeness or contentiousness exists between part-time, contract or other “non-standard” employees and standard employees relating to their employment status.

Second, the HR department should investigate the same inference between the core employees and the peripheral. Third, the HR department should implement a program of inquiry, during employment interviews, to determine what the perfect employment arrangement is for the applicant to gather data regarding the average desired trade-off of compensation factors and hours worked. What culture is in demand, and how do we arrive there? The Kalleberg report does not substantiate a change in company policy, but it does bring in some interesting topics to investigate in-house. Kalleberg, Arne L.

(2003) “Flexible Firms and Labor Market Segmentation: Effects of workplace restructuring on jobs and workers”. Work and Occupations. 30:1 May. 154-175.

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