Globalization, Work, and Production
The world of work is undergoing profound changes. On the one hand, globalization has led to the rise of new industrial locations (the BRIC countries, the emerging economies, i.e., fast-growing newly industrialized and developing countries) and to changes in the global footprint of enterprises. This has been accompanied by considerable changes in working and employment conditions in traditional high-wage and low-wage countries. On the other hand, new digital technologies (discussed in Germany under the labels “Industrie 4.0” and “Arbeit 4.0”) are changing the ways work is organized. The implementation of cyber-physical systems and new robotics concepts transforms work in manufacturing and service sectors. The emergence of the platform economy challenges traditional forms of the workplace and employment relations.
Against this background, the research group is addressing the following general research questions:
- How is the division of labor changing between high-wage and low-wage locations in multinational companies and industrial value chains?
- What impact do these changes have on working conditions, employee relations, and the design of personnel and production systems?
- Which approaches do companies pursue regarding the introduction and use of digital technologies in the labor process?
- Which consequences do these approaches have for employment relations and job quality?
The research project of the group focuses on the company and industry levels and follows a cross-country comparative design – with Europe and the Emerging Economies (BRIC Countries) being the main research fields.