Conference Agenda

RN17_04b: Employment Relations and Labour Market Network Perspectives
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Alex Lehr, Radboud University
Location: UP.1.219
University of Manchester Building: University Place, First Floor Oxford Road


Agency and Networks – What is it that Long-term Unemployed Need and What is it that Employers Want?

Andreas Hirseland2, Lukas Kerschbaumer1

1Management Center Innsbruck, Austria; 2Institute for Employment Research, Germany

In Germany, long-term unemployed did not benefit from the prospering labor market in the same extent like short term unemployed. Especially if accompanied by other impediments such as low-level education, poor health, 50+, immigrant status, motherhood or engagement in care for other relatives, long-term unemployment turns into a main obstacle for finding regular employment. Almost two thirds of all welfare recipients have multiple impediments, which hinder a successful transition from welfare back to sustainable and sufficient employment. The panel survey “Labor market and social security” (PASS; ~15,000 respondents in ~10,000 households), carried out by the Institute of Employment Research (IAB), shows that their chance to get back to work tends to fall to nil. Only 66 cases of such unlikely transitions were identified. In a sequential-explanatory mixed-method study, the very scarce “success stories” of unlikely transitions from long-term unemployment to work were explored by qualitative interviews with a focus on biography, accompanied by qualitative network techniques in order to get a more detailed insight of relevant actors involved in the processes which promote the transition from welfare receipt to employment. We look at the process-relevant actors on a diachronic as well as synchronic way. We came to understand, that a more differentiated look on the quality of the relations is more important than the quantity, density and distance of the actors. Relating to Granovetter, we can show that Weak Ties are important for the transmission of information (network) but Strong Ties help to translate that information into action (agency).

Social-networks as a Double-Edged Sword: Working-class Young Women and Occupational Segregation in Contemporary Delhi

Garima Sahai

University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Most studies on social-networks and employment see networks to be purely positive; as a form of capital that is crucial for entry into jobs. Such a view of social networks, however, has been predominantly based on men’s (occupational) lives and the role that social-networks play therein. This paper explores the role of social-networks in young women’s occupational decisions and its implications for occupational segregation. Specifically, it asks, how do social-networks influence young women’s entry into non-traditionally female jobs? In so doing, this paper focusses on young women in Delhi, India who belong to a low socio-economic class. It draws on 56 semi-structured interviews I conducted with such young women in Delhi over 9 months – from August 2017 to May 2018 -- as part of my PhD study. Young women, living in slums, on account of classed and gendered constraints, are expected to stay mostly in and around the home and are not as embedded in social networks. Examining what non-embeddedness means for young women’s occupational outcomes, this paper suggests that perversely social-networks both ease and constrain the entry of these young women into non-traditional training. On the one hand, the non-embeddedness in networks means that women don’t care about the approval of the wider networks. Not affected by the constraining effects of networks they are able to enter new forms of labour and non-traditional occupations. On the other hand, non-traditional occupational opportunities are inherently niche and less well known. Not having access to information that networks crucially provide in informal economies prevents non-traditional occupations from being a part of their information and occupational choice set.

Employee Voice and Organisational Engagement

Barbara Menara1, Kevin Ruck2, Mary Welch3

1University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom; 2PR Academy, Maidstone Studios, Kent, United Kingdom; 3University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom

Employee engagement is recognised as important for organisational effectiveness and a factor in achieving innovation and competiveness. Despite the importance of engagement, relatively little research has yet been done on communication and engagement. This paper aims to contribute to knowledge in this area by providing insight on internal communication and organisational level employee engagement. The paper reports the results of a study exploring associations between aspects of internal communication and organisational engagement. Taking an employee-centric approach, the paper investigates employee satisfaction with opportunities to exercise their voice, and assesses employee views on the quality of senior management receptiveness to employee voice. The paper aims to address gaps in the literature by exploring potential associations between employee voice and organisational engagement. A questionnaire was used to gather data from 2066 participants in five UK-based organisations. The questionnaire used in the study was designed to explore satisfaction with upward employee voice and senior management receptiveness. It also enables exploration of the relationship between upward employee voice, senior manager receptiveness and emotional organisational engagement. A significant and positive relationship was found between upward employee voice and emotional organisational engagement; and between senior manager receptiveness and emotional organisational engagement. Regression analysis suggests that the majority of the employee voice variables included in the study predict emotional organisational engagement.

‘They’ll Go On To Get Real Jobs’: The Transitional Contract Between The Core And Student Workers In retail

Vesa Leppänen1, Ann-Mari Sellerberg2

1Kristianstad University, Sweden; 2Lund University, Sweden

In recent years it has become more usual for students to work while they are at university. Many of them take jobs in retail, and most stay a while before proceeding to other professions. This paper examines the social relationships between core retail employees and students. The empirical data consists of 39 interviews with owners, managers, and employees at ten supermarkets in southern Sweden. The relationship between the core and student workers result in a particular form of social contract, a transitional contract, in which both parties expect that students as a matter of course are only temporary staff, and will go on to ‘real’ jobs when their studies end. This transitional contract is evident in the supermarkets’ organisation, with students working different working hours and having different tasks than the core. At the same time, their daily work offers the opportunity to move beyond the transitional contract to closer relationships with co-workers. This gives rise to a special social dynamic in which both groups distance themselves from one another. This distancing is understood here to be a defence mechanism, avoiding engagement that might threaten to disappoint both the core employees and the students. It is also be an obstacle to recruiting students to the core.