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The rise of the 'network organisation' and the decline of discretion.

Grugulis, I. and Vincent, S. and Hebson, G. (2003) 'The rise of the 'network organisation' and the decline of discretion.', Human resource management journal., 13 (2). pp. 45-59.


This article explores the implications of ‘networked’ and ‘flexible’ organisations for the work and skills of professionals/ Drawing on material from four different case studies, it reviews work that is outsourced (involving IT professionals and housing benefit caseworkers), work that is done by teachers contracted to a temporary employment agency and work organised through an inter-firm network (chemical production workers). In each case work that was outsourced was managed very differently to that undertaken in-house, with managerial monitoring replacing and reducing employees' discretion. New staff in these networks had fewer skills when hired and were given access to a narrower range of skills than their predecessors. By contrast, the production staff directly employed on permanent contracts in the inter-firm network were given (and took) significant amounts of responsibility, with positive results for both their skills and the work processed. Yet, despite the negative impact they have on skills, outsourcing and subcontracting are a far more common means of securing flexibility than organisational collaboration.

Item Type:Article
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Record Created:18 Jan 2011 12:35
Last Modified:19 Jan 2011 12:29

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