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Title: Contesting firm boundaries: Institutions, cost structures and the politics of externalization
Authors: Doellgast, VL
Sarmiento-Mirwaldt, K
Benassi, C
Keywords: Organizational boundaries;Telecommunications;Outsourcing;Inequality;Comparative employment relations
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: Industrial and Labor Relations Review (2015), Forthcoming.
Abstract: This article develops and applies a new framework for analyzing the relationship between institutions, cost structures, and patterns of labor-management contestation over organizational boundaries. Collective negotiations related to the externalization of call center jobs are compared across ten incumbent telecommunications firms located in Europe and the USA. All ten firms moved call center work to dedicated subsidiaries, temporary agencies, and domestic and offshore subcontractors. However, a subset of the firms later re-internalized call center jobs, in some cases following negotiated concessions on pay and conditions for internal workers. We argue that variation in outcomes can be explained by both the extent of cost differentials between internal and external labor and the ease of exiting internal employment relationships, which in turn affected patterns of contestation associated with externalization measures. Findings are based on 147 interviews with management and union representatives, archival data on restructuring measures and associated collective agreements, and wage data gathered through collective agreements and surveys
ISSN: 0019-7939
Appears in Collections:Dept of Politics, History and Law Research Papers

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