Tuesday, April 19, 2011


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor----------------------
Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau


European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions [Dublin Foundation]


Impact of interfirm relationships – employment and working conditions [15 April 2011]




[full-text, 81 pages]



Hadjivassiliou, Kari P.; Cox, Annette; Martin, Rose; Marchington, Mick; Sheehan, Maura; Gloster, Rosie; Pollard, Emma; Grimshaw, Damian; Rubery, Jill


During recent decades, various new forms of interfirm relationships have been emerging across national contexts. This study seeks to fill a gap in the research carried out to date on the impact of these relationships on working conditions and employment practices, including human resources management policies. This report draws on 20 case studies and a review of literature to investigate the varied effects of five types of interfirm relationships on employment. These are joint ventures, clusters, public-private partnerships, strategic alliances/networks and virtual company networks. In the current economic climate, developing interfirm relationships is linked with company survival and competitiveness. An executive summary is also available.



Foreword v

Contents vii

Executive summary 1

1 – Background to study and methodological approach 5

Background 5

Overview of methodological approach 6

Case studies undertaken 7

Securing access to companies 8

List of case studies 8

2 – Theoretical framework: synopsis of literature review 11

Common types of interfirm relationships 11

Interfirm dynamics 14

HRM in the organisational relationship 16

Social and institutional context 19

Conclusion and hypothesis for case study approach 20

3 – Synthesis of case study findings 21

Structural characteristics of the analysed interfirm relationships 21

Impact on employment and working conditions 29

4 – Conclusions 51

Possibilities for learning and current limitations 55

Organisational size and patterns of relationships 56

Occupational and sectoral labour markets 56

Dynamics of power and trust 56

HRM alignment 58

Regulation 59

5 – Policy pointers 61

Bibliography 63




This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
Telephone: (607) 255-2703                
Fax: (607) 255-9641                       
E-mail: smb6@cornell.edu                  



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