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At the same time, this strategy undermined the ability of workers to gain collective power.
All these factors resulted in increased insecurity in terms of the job market and in terms of the relationship between employers and employees. Auer (2005: 6) addresses Kalleberg's point in this regard with an assertion that the common assumption is that the twin factors of globalization and technological advance would fundamentally change the employment relationship and its expectation of longevity.
Auer's view is somewhat less gloomy than that of Kalleberg in terms of the possibility of flexible, non-standard jobs not only supplementing the more standard, full-time variety, but also becoming standard themselves. In addition to providing greater employee satisfaction, standard, long-term jobs also influence the desire of employees to begin families, which in turn has a significant impact upon the economy. Individuals with greater certainty regarding the future of their income tend to be better consumers of goods and services than those who do not have such certainty.
In investigating labor relations among different countries, Auer makes the distinction between countries that have stable job prospects, and those who generally do not. However, he also emphasizes that the variable elements of the labor market have been fluctuating with the rise of globalization. While globalization has therefore not only influenced the nature of work itself, elements such as gender, age and sector composition, where even long-term jobs have been opened to differentiation in terms of various minority groups (Auer 2005: 7).
In contrast to authors such as Kalleberg, Auer also cites research to indicate that long-term employment has generally increased rather than made way for short-term, uncertain employment. At the same time, part-time employment opportunities have increased, but not replaced long-term employment.
The author mentions elements such as the value employers attach to their long-term workers, along with the importance that employees attach to their union relationships in terms of encouraging the global trend to maintain longer-term working relationships. Although there is greater flexibility and differentiation in response to globalization, this is not to say that part-time and temporary work has replaced the longer-term relationships between employers and employees.
If Kalleberg's assertions are however to be taken into account, it is clear that companies enjoy a large amount of flexibility that was not previously the case. Companies can indeed expand and hire more workers with much greater ease than the case was in the past. On the other hand, it is also true that labor relations are indeed protected by the existence of unions and government requirements.
International Manifestations of Employment Relations
Dickens (2003: 5) also cites evidence to indicate that the part-time work paradigm across the world has increased, but indeed that this phenomenon has not seen a uniform increase in all countries. Indeed, this type of employment has declined in Denmark, while factors such as regulatory models, collective bargaining and social norms significantly influenced the development of this type of work in countries such as New Zealand and the Netherlands.
Ogura (2005: 9-10) also emphasizes that, in the Anglo-Saxon model, both full-time and part-time employment are very much a collective part of the current business paradigm. The voluntary, short-term employment contract is for example based upon a model in which there is a low degree of employment protection, creating a relatively mobile workforce. More long-term employment contracts include benefits such as health insurance, pension, and paid leave. In countries such as the United States, part-time employment is a fairly common phenomenon as compared with full-time employment.
Ogura however mentions that the European model tends to include a stronger paradigm of employment protection, which is subject to the law and collective labor agreements. Concomitantly, there is a low level of labor mobility. Working conditions are also generally determined by means of collective bargaining.
A very interesting view of globalization can be seen when comparing developing countries with more developed ones. Whereas developed countries such as the United States have made the most of the opportunities offered by globalization in terms of cheap, temporary labor and global expansion, developing countries such as Korea have regarded the phenomenon with suspicion. According to Lee and Lee (2003: 506), for example, mention the example of the Korean community of business people and government officials alike, who regarded globalization as a source of evil that would work only to the detriment of stability and business within the country.
Ultimately, however, Korea also attempted to enter the global marketplace by encouraging foreign investment in the country. Indeed, the authors mention that President Kim Dae-jung abolished most regulations on foreign investment in 1998 in an attempt to create a favorable environment for such investment. This resulted in the sharp growth of investment by foreign countries (Lee and Lee 2003: 510). Furthermore, the result increased foreign investment also brought about the increasing acquisition of domestic companies, while companies from other countries expanded into Korea. All these elements boosted the country's economy by encouraging the free inflow of foreign capital into the country.
In general then, several authors agree that there are a number of elements that influence a country's response to the globalization phenomenon. A central truth is that, regardless of whether this response is based upon a negative or positive attitude, no country or employer remains unaffected by the phenomenon.
Frenkel and Kuruvilla (2002: 44) for example investigate and report their findings on the response of several countries to the globalization phenomenon. They for example note that countries such as India, China, Malaysia and the Philippines demonstrate a variable response to globalization in terms of competition, industrial peace and employment-income protection. Factors that influence this response include the economic development strategy of the country, as seen in the case of Korea; the intensity of globalization, the responsiveness of the government to workers' expectations, labor market features, and the strength of unions.
In conclusion, it cannot be denied that globalization has significantly influenced the relationship of employees with their employers. For the price of uncertainty and a higher level of stress in many cases, employees now enjoy the benefit of greater flexibility not only in the workplace, but also in their lives. Workers may be part of a culture of mobility, but in turn receive the benefit of more opportunity on a global scale.
Auer, P. (2005). Protected Mobility for Employment and Decent Work: Labour market security in a globalised world. International Labour Office. Retrieved from http://ilo-mirror.library.cornell.edu/public/english/employment/strat/download/esp2005-1.pdf
Dickens, L. (2003). Changing Contours of the Employment Relationship and New Modes of Labour Regulation. Retrieved from http://www.oit.org/public/english/iira/pdf/congresses/world_13/track_2_dickens.pdf
Frenkel, S. And Kuruvilla, S. (2002). Logics of Action, Globalization, and Employment Relations Change in China, India, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=cbpubs
Kalleberg, A.L. (2009, Feb). Precarious Work, Insecure Workers: Employment Relations in Transition. American Sociological Review. Vo. 74. Retrieved from http://www.soc.washington.edu/users/brines/kalleberg.pdf
Lee, E., and Vivarelli, M. (2005). Understanding Globalization, Employment, and Poverty Reduction. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, Vol 59, Iss. 1. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1195&context=ilrreview
Lee, W-D. And Lee, B-H. (2004, Dec). Korean Industrial Relations in the Era OF Globalisation. The Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 45, No. 4. Retrieved from http://homepage.ntu.edu.tw/~lbh/ref/JofIR/63.pdf
Martin, R. And Bamber, G. (2005). International differences in employment relations: What are the relative merits of explanations in terms of strategic choice or political economy? AIRAANZ. Retrieved from http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/10072/2752/1/31250.pdf
Ogura, K. (2005, Apr.). International Comparison of Atypical Employment: Differing Concepts and Realities in Industrialized Countries. Japan Labor Review, Vol 2, No. 1. Retrieved from http://www.jil.go.jp/english/JLR/documents/2005/JLR06.pdf#page=6[continue]
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