Change at Work / Edition 1

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Overview

A far-reaching transformation is taking place in the US in the relationship between employers and employees. The lessons learned from Japan and from "best practice" companies like IBM about how job security, training, and internal development can improve employee commitment and performance have given way to a new set of lessons about how companies can redue fixed costs, increase flexibility, and improve performance by eliminating the elaborate employment systems that prepared employees for long careers in the company.

Where the old arrangement protected employees from outside market forces, the new ones drag the market right back in through downsizing, contingent workforces, hiring on the outside for new skills, and compensation contingent on overall organizational performance. New work systems that reengineer processes and empower employees "flatten" the organizational chart, cutting management jobs in particular and reducing opportunities for career development. The new arrangements shift many of the risks of business from the firm to the employees and make employees, rather than employers, responsible for developing their own skills and careers. They also increase the demands placed on workers while reducing what they receive back for their efforts. While morale is down and stress is up, employee performance seems to be rising largely because of fear driven by the shortage of good jobs.

Change at Work explores the theme that employees have paid the price for the widespread restructuring of American firms as illustrated by reduced security, greater effort and hours, and reduced morale. In this important study—commissioned by the National Planning Asociation's Committee on New American Realities—the authors consider how individuals and employers need to adapt to the new arrangements as well as the implicatioons for important policy issues such as how skills will be developed where the attachment to the firms is sharply reduced.

The future is uncertain, but the authors argue that the traditional relationship between employer and employee will continue to erode, making this work essential reading for managers concerned with the profound impact corporate restructuring has had on the lives of workers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this very complete study sponsored by the National Planning Association's Committee on New American Realities....these authors first document the pressures on employers that cause them to restructure: increased foreign competition, changes in product markets and consumer demand, the need for flexibility, new models for organizing, and a focus on core competencies."—Sloan Management Review

"Cappelli's volume should be of great interest to everyone involved in the organization of employment. The book is particularly lucid in analyzing what it sees as the fundamental contradictions at the heart of modern employment systems....Should be required reading on both sides of the Atlantic."—Financial Times

"This is an excellent primer on the magnitude and impacts of the changes that have transformed American employer-emlpoyee relations during the past two decades, and as such it will be very informative for students and scholars across the entire range of workplace-related disciplines."—Choice

"The book highlights a set of issues that are likely to be of growing importance in the near future if the recent strong employment market continues in the United States."—Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal

"...this book deserves to be widely read for its breadth of coverage of the downsizing and restructuring issues."—Work and Occupations

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195103274
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Lexile: 1460L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Wharton School of Business University of Pennsylvania

Cornell University

University of Minnesota

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

University of Pennsylvania

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1. The Pressures to Restructure Employment
2. Downsizing and Employment Insecurity
3. Work Organization
4. Job Training Programs and Practices
5. Implications for Policy: A "Skills Gap"?
6. The Effects of Restructuring on Employees
7. Conclusions

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