The standard employment relationship in the information society
In the view of most authors, the long-established standard employment relationship (SER) has little future in the information society as external structural change comes to replace internal structural change. This article shows that, contrary to these beliefs in most industrialised countries, employment relationships have tended to become more stable in recent years, particularly among skilled workers, for the reason that spatial proximity and close social communication is gaining increasing importance in knowledge-based work. The author identifies the following six different causes underlying improvements or deterioration in the SER: (1) Flexibilisation of product markets, (2) rising female employment rates, (3) combination of education/training and work, (4) rising educational levels among the working population, (5) labour market regulation and deregulation, and (6) the employment situation. Changes in the SER are not being driven solely by the computerisation of production but also by other, very different forces which are at least as significant as technological change. The article concludes with an alternative paradigm taking as its starting point a new balance of internal and external mobility. As an alternative to the "Anglo-Saxon" model of the deregulated labour market, the author proposes a revitalisation of internal and occupational labour markets.
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