The changing nature of employment in Europe in the context of challenges, threats and opportunities for employees and employers (ChangingEmployment)

Project status: 
Ongoing

The ChangingEmployment is a new international comparative European FP7 Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) and Experienced Researchers (ERs) preparing for doctoral and post doctoral research. It is amongst a small number of multi disciplinary social science programmes to be awarded funding in the current Marie Curie awards under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7). The ITN, co-ordinated by the University of Strathclyde-Glasgow, has successfully obtained 4,060,000 Euros to support the network bringing together new and recent post graduate researchers working on an international post graduate research programme supervised by internationally renowned senior academics.

There is an urgent need for social scientists to develop a multi-disciplinary, cross-national comparative understanding of contemporary forms of globalisation emerging in new varieties of work and employment. These provide opportunities and challenges for a range of actors within and beyond the employment relationship. Many existing accounts examine social, economic and institutional processes associated with various forms of work, paid and unpaid, including the domestic economy, sometimes utilising cross national methodologies. These are all themes with which this programme will engage.

The workplan is structured around three thematic groups each comprising multiple sub-themes:

  1. Management and Employees

The specific scientific objectives of this theme are to examine Multi-National Corporation (MNC) HR strategies in the context of the current economic crisis and to understand the form and character of worker representation with a view to disseminating best practice. Specific methodologies are utilized to ensure ESR familiarisation and necessary skills for a comparative analysis of OECD, Eurostat and labour force surveys in partner countries related to patterns of employment and to provide immersion experiences in employer/union partnerships. International research methodology will be crossnational, interdisciplinary and historical-institutional. It will also focus on the complexities of transnational transfer, contestation, and reconfiguration of these intriguing new management practices. Thus, methodologies used in these projects will include mapping and interpretation in national and international contexts of behaviours, attitudes and representations of employees in relation to labour rationalisation, and to new management and trade union agendas, specifically with reference to France and Hungary.

  2. Inclusion and Exclusion

The specific scientific objective of this theme is to explore new developments, including those emerging from the economic crisis, with regard to inclusion/exclusion at work, particularly the consequences of unemployment and precarious work and increasingly inequalities arising from age (both young and older workers), ethnicity and gender. The specific research methodologies are to ensure ESRs’ familiarisation with and necessary skills to provide a comparative analysis of current European labour migration databases and statistics, and the skills for accessing research participants from hard to reach migrant populations. Close attention is given to the intersection of economic, social and institutional factors thus demanding an inter-disciplinary perspective. Cross-national comparative methodology will be utilised. National datasets will be used to establish employment profiles of ethnic minority, migrant, female, younger and older workers across the EU27 (EUROSTAT, OECD, ILO datasets). These statistics will be used together with biographical narratives (on inclusion-exclusion) from workers and their union representatives in the UK and Spain for the programme period.

  3. Employee Wellbeing and Work Life Quality

The scientific objective of this theme is to examine the impact of contemporary forms of work and employment flexibility ('flexicurity' or 'precariousness') on the quality of working life. Specific methodologies are utilised to ensure ESRs’ familiarisation with and the necessary skills to analyse current databases, measures and statistics relating to European work-life quality/wellbeing. Workplace surveys will be conducted with different employee categories including temporary agency workers and user firm employees. The comparative analysis takes into account the capacity of industrial relations actors at the enterprise or organisational level to establish and coordinate flexicurity practices via bargaining mechanisms. Utilising workplace surveys and interviews in the UK and France, research will examine the nature of change and its impact upon employees and managers in these contrasting sectors. Team synergies and complementarities with private sector actors will be achieved.

The programme will feature attendance at both twice yearly seminars at participating European partner universities and institutions, participation at regular theme seminars, and an annual network colloquium. The ESRs and ERs will participate in one of the three above-referenced themes, working with other Fellows across the 48 months of the programme. This is a distinctive opportunity to participate in, and develop within, a highly imaginative international social science training network, developing research practice and state of the art engagement with global practitioners in private and public sector institutions and trade unions.

Brochure (Download)
Brochure in Hungarian (Download)

Principal Researcher: 
Violetta Zentai
Researcher(s): 
Dragos Adascalitei
Researcher(s): 
Zsuzsanna Arendas
Researcher(s): 
Olena Fedyuk
Project Administrator: 
Andreea-Raluca Leru
Partners: 
Department of Human Resource Management, University of Strathclyde, UK
Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Institut de Sociologie - METICES, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Department of Sociology, University of Paris Evry, France
Departamento de Sociología, University of Oviedo, Spain
Faculty of Social Science, University of Wroclaw, Poland
Working Lives Research Institute, London Metropolitan University, UK
Center for Sociological Research, Catholic University of Leuven
Research Department, European Trade Union Institute, Belgium
Consultingeuropa (Groupe Alpha), Belgium
Affiliations: 
Center for Policy Studies (CPS)
Administrative Information
Funding body: 
European Commission 7th Framework Program Marie Curie Actions-Networks for Initial Trainings
Duration: 
Dec, 2012 - Nov, 2016
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