1. Objectives of the project
The research project aims at four objectives:
- analysing the development of flexible work practices associated with the diffusion of new communication technology;
- analysing a range of factors that can have an impact on the design of these flexible work practices and their concrete impact on working life; - exploring the role of flexibility in new pathways for the future of employment and social relations in the information society;
- considering options and recommendations for innovation policies in the field of communication technology, as well as for long-term social policies.
2. Work content and research framework
The research project is developed through four main steps leading at different stages to recommendations for technology policy, formulation of options for other European policies and new hypotheses as regards to the future of employment and social cohesion.
The first step consist in drawing out some communication patterns, based on a first overview of communication practices in industries and services. The weight and characteristics of the prevalent technical infrastructures associated with each communication pattern will be put forward. In the meanwhile, a draft typology of flexible work patterns linked with communication technology will also be drawn out.
The second step goes through an empirical and sectoral approach (in UK, B, F, I, S, DK) of the concrete manifestations of flexibility in work practices. The following sectors are proposed: printing and publishing industry, civil engineering, banking and insurance, decentralised health services. This approach will be completed by a comparative analysis in order to identify national factors which are shaping the forms of flexibility. A cross-sectoral analysis will afterwards determine if these new form of flexibility are typical from one sector to another or if they are characteristics of particular professional profiles across the different sectors. A prospective dimension will be given by an identification of the trends in the leading firms in each selected sector.
The third step consists of the development of prospects, figures and scenarios as regards to the future of employment and welfare related to flexible and << communicating >> work practices.
Finally, the last step points out options and recommendations for innovation policies in the field of communication technology as well as for long-term social policies.
Fondation Travail-Universite (FTU, co-ordinator), Namur, Belgium; Laboratoire des Sciences de l'Information et de la Communication (Lab. SIC) Universite de Paris Nord, France; Centre for Urban and Regional Development studies (CURDS); University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom; Fondazione Pietro Seveso, Milano, Italy.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
NE1 7RU Newcastle Upon Tyne