One Store, Two Employment Systems: Core, Periphery and Flexibility in China's Retail Sector

26 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2009

See all articles by Jos Gamble

Jos Gamble

Royal Holloway - School of Management

Qihai Huang

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

Research on flexible or contingent work, derived primarily from manufacturing and production contexts in Western settings, has often been theorized in terms of a core-periphery model. Based upon ethnographic research on vendor representatives and regular store employees conducted at a multinational retail firm in China, we indicate that this model is insufficient to capture the complexity of employment arrangements in this context. This article delineates the coexistence of two employment systems and a quadrilateral relationship in which workers' interests sometimes overlap but often compete. Our research also indicates that institutional arrangements in China significantly affect the strategies that are open to firms and the consequent structure of employment relations.

Suggested Citation

Gamble, Jos and Huang, Qihai, One Store, Two Employment Systems: Core, Periphery and Flexibility in China's Retail Sector. British Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 47, Issue 1, pp. 1-26, March 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1375848 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8543.2008.00695.x

Jos Gamble (Contact Author)

Royal Holloway - School of Management ( email )

Egham
Surrey, Egham TW20 8DG
United Kingdom
+44 1784 414094 (Phone)
+44 1784 439854 (Fax)

Qihai Huang

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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