The System Versus the Street: Employment and Contracting in the International Welfare-to-Work Industry

CERIC Working Paper No. 12

26 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2011

See all articles by Ian Greer

Ian Greer

University of Greenwich

Mark Stuart

University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS); University of Leeds - Work and Employment Relations

Ian Greenwood

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 21, 2011

Abstract

'Activating' the jobless – bringing them into or closer to paid work – has become a government-funded industry. What are the dynamics of employment relations in this sector, constituted as a mixed market of non-profit, for-profit, and public sector bodies? Drawing on in-depth qualitative research in the UK and Germany, we argue that there is a tension between two levels of bureaucracy: system-level policymaking and planning and street-level service provision. This tension creates varying interorganizational contracting arrangements, which shape the institutional regulation of work. Under ‘marketized’ contracting – i.e. relatively short-term, price-based, standardized, and open to many competitors – frameworks of collective bargaining and worker representation are relatively difficult to apply, leading in extreme cases to a low-wage precarious pattern of employment relations.

Keywords: welfare-to-work industry; comparative employment relations; contracting

JEL Classification: J50; M55

Suggested Citation

Greer, Ian and Stuart, Mark and Greenwood, Ian, The System Versus the Street: Employment and Contracting in the International Welfare-to-Work Industry (April 21, 2011). CERIC Working Paper No. 12, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1817864 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1817864

Ian Greer (Contact Author)

University of Greenwich ( email )

30 Park Row
Greenwich
London, SE10 9LS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://werugreenwich.wordpress.com/

Mark Stuart

University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS) ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

University of Leeds - Work and Employment Relations

Leeds
United Kingdom

Ian Greenwood

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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