Non-Permanent Workers: An Increasing Constant in European Capitalisms?

University House Room 204
Wednesday 25 February 2015 (14:00-15:00)

Speaker: Dr Matthew Allen (Manchester Business School)


Comparative institutional analyses have added much to our understanding of HRM in different countries. Research has examined how institutions shape workers’ skill development (Hall and Soskice, 2001), authority sharing with employees (Whitley, 1999, 2007), and the characteristics of workforce skills (Harcourt and Wood, 2007). This work has provided a powerful antidote to neo-liberal prescriptions about flexible labour markets. However, comparative institutional analyses are often static and core texts do not examine important variation between firms within the same country (Hancké et al., 2007). In particular, increasing competitive pressures may lead to firms adopting new modes of employment. Moreover, variation within countries may result in a well-protected core of workers that grows ever small alongside increasing numbers of precarious workers. This research examines how institutions moderate the incidence of ‘non-permanent’ work (agency, temporary, and freelance work) in firms across the European Union. It draws on the 2009 European Company Survey and the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report to assess how variation in macro institutions shapes firms’ use of such employees. We aim to contribute not just to explanations of how ‘non-permanent’ work varies within and between European countries, but also to comparative institutional theory.

Matthew Allen bio:

Matthew Allen joined Manchester Business School in 2007. His research covers institutional theory, business systems, comparative employment relations, multinational corporations, and firm performance. More specifically, Matt’s research focuses on institutional influences on firms’ abilities to innovate. This often involves examining how ownership and control structures as well as human resource management policies within firms shape important company outcomes.