23 research outputs found

    Enacting global competition in local supply chain environments: German “Chemieparks” and the micro-politics of employment relations in a CME

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    Drawing upon the debate on institutional mediation of macro processes, we examine how multinational enterprises (MNEs) engage with global competition through restructuring their operations situated in local supply chain environments and how employment relations (ER) of coordinated market economies are reconfigured in the course of this restructuring process. Our empirical setting is the German chemical industry which is both an exemplar of coordinated labour-management-collaboration and highly exposed to global competition. Using a comparative case study design, we observe how MNEs re-structure two local production sites into ‘Chemieparks’. Our empirical data suggest that local agency diverges in the extent to which the social partnership type of ER is maintained or disrupted. Furthermore, we highlight the importance of micro-political practices for understanding the restructuring outcome as well as the local enactment and change of macro institutions within production networks as meso-level arenas for institutional mediation

    Introducing conflict as the microfoundation of organizational ambidexterity

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    This article contributes to our understanding of organizational ambidexterity by introducing conflict as its microfoundation. Existing research distinguishes between three approaches to how organizations can be ambidextrous, that is, engage in both exploitation and exploration. They may sequentially shift the strategic focus of the organization over time, they may establish structural arrangements enabling the simultaneous pursuit of being both exploitative and explorative, or they may provide a supportive organizational context for ambidextrous behavior. However, we know little about how exactly ambidexterity is accomplished and managed. We argue that ambidexterity is a dynamic and conflict-laden phenomenon, and we locate conflict at the level of individuals, units, and organizations. We develop the argument that conflicts in social interaction serve as the microfoundation to organizing ambidexterity, but that their function and type vary across the different approaches toward ambidexterity. The perspective developed in this article opens up promising research avenues to examine how organizations purposefully manage ambidexterity

    Not all firms are created equal:SMEs and vocational training in the UK, Italy, and Germany

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    Why do skill formation systems put SMEs at greater disadvantage in some countries than others vis-Ă -vis large employers? By comparing vocational education and training (VET) institutions and their differential effect on firms of different sizes across three countries (UK, Italy, and Germany), we show that the design of VET has profound implications for shaping the ability of SMEs to use institutions as resources. In particular, quasi-market institutions in the UK amplify SMEs’ disadvantage, while non-market coordinating institutions in Italy and Germany narrow the gap between SMEs and large employers. By unpacking the comparative disadvantage of SMEs, we offer important nuances to the argument that institutions help firms coordinate their business activities in different varieties of capitalism.Warum erfahren kleine und mittelstĂ€ndische Unternehmen (KMU) durch Berufsbildungssysteme mehr Nachteile als große Unternehmen und warum ist dieser Unterschied in manchen LĂ€ndern grĂ¶ĂŸer als in anderen? Wir vergleichen Ausbildungsinstitutionen und ihren unterschiedlichen Effekt auf Firmen verschiedener GrĂ¶ĂŸe in drei LĂ€ndern (Großbritannien, Italien und Deutschland). Dabei zeigen wir, dass die Art der Institutionen die Möglichkeit von Firmen, die vorhandenen Institutionen als Ressource zu nutzen, beeinflusst. Insbesondere verstĂ€rken die in Großbritannien vorherrschenden quasimarktlichen Institutionen den Nachteil von KMU, wohingegen nichtmarktliche Institutionen in Italien und Deutschland den Unterschied zu großen Unternehmen verringern. Durch das Aufzeigen des komparativen Nachteils von KMU leistet unser Papier einen Beitrag zu einer nuancierteren Sichtweise der Rolle von Institutionen in verschiedenen Spielarten des Kapitalismus.1 Introduction 2 Institutions, firms, and training 3 Puzzle and argument 4 Methodology 5 Findings The United Kingdom Italy Germany 6 Discussion and conclusion Appendix Reference

    Interdependent Formation of Symbolic and Regulatory Boundaries: The Discursive Contestation Around the Home-Sharing Category

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    The formation of boundaries between established and emergent categories is a complex social process. Therein, our understanding of how symbolic boundaries translate into regulatory boundaries is underdeveloped. Extant research either treats laws and regulations for categories as given, or it assumes a seamless translation of a symbolic into a regulatory boundary. This sidelines that market participants actively contest and shape boundaries between categories. To address this lacuna, we open the black box of how symbolic boundaries are translated into regulatory boundaries. We adopt a discursive perspective and conduct a longitudinal study of the contestation around the categories of home sharing and short-term rental in Europe. Our analysis shows how symbolic and regulatory boundaries are formed in a causal sequential process, driven by shifts in the field positioning of market actors and in the discursive accounts they mobilize. We develop a theoretical model of the discursive foundation of category boundary formation. At the heart of our theorization are discursive accounts and how shifting coalitions of market participants mobilize them to shape the evolving symbolic and regulatory boundaries between an emergent and an established category. We contribute to category research by unearthing the interdependent formation of symbolic and regulatory boundaries and the role of discursive accounts in these processes

    Integrating international student mobility in work-based higher education: The case of Germany

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    Dual study programs are hybrid forms of work-based higher education that have expanded very rapidly in Germany—a country traditionally considered a key model in both higher education (HE) and vocational education and training (VET). The continued expansion of these hybrid programs increasingly raises questions if, how, and why they may be internationalized. Although comparative research suggests that this could be challenging due to the uniqueness of the German education and training system, strong forces support internationalization. This study examines the current state and the future prospects of internationalization of such innovative dual study programs by focusing on student mobility, a key dimension of internationalization. We find growing interest in but still relatively little mobility related to dual study programs, whether among German (outgoing) or international (incoming) students. Based on expert interviews and document analysis, we extend existing typologies of student mobility regarding specific features of work-based HE programs. Furthermore, we discuss opportunities—at home and abroad—for increasing student mobility in this rapidly expanding sector