Institutions and Work Systems

Saturday, June 25, 2016: 2:30 PM-4:00 PM
228 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
Matthew Allen, Alliance Manchester Business School, Manchester, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Alliance Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Geoff Wood, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
This paper analyses how key strands of comparative institutional analysis (CIA) view institutional change and have, consequently, dealt with the organization of work and employment in a context of crisis, with a primary focus on the developed world. We argue that there is growing common ground within CIA around a recognition of, firstly, the temporally and spatially contingent nature of institutional mediation, secondly, increasing institutional diversity, and, finally, the range of outcomes associated with particular institutional frameworks. In short, rather than outright substitution, the process of institutional change may be uneven, ad hoc, and experimental, making it difficult to identify definitive work organization paradigm(s) of the current age. Moreover, rather than systems working as a coherent and closely coupled whole, the relationship between institutional features and associated practices is uneven and contingent, with some formal and informal rules having quite focused effects and others more general ones. We extend existing CIA theoretical and empirical work on contrasting employment relations to assess variety in the organization of work. We conclude by identifying an agenda for future theoretical and applied research.