Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Innovative firm�s performances and internal/external workforce flexibility and personal/social consequences (INNOFLEX), Final Report

Project ID: HPSE-CT-1999-00026


Innoflex grew from an existing Consortium of partners originally created in 1995 to provide the then DGV of the European Commission with A Medium Term Plan for Collaborative Action for the development and dissemination of new forms of work organisation. Subsequent support from DGV enabled the Consortium to develop a deeper analysis of the nature of new forms of work organisation, their implications for European competitiveness and social cohesion, and the obstacles to wider dissemination.
The Consortium�s findings (European Work and Technology Consortium, 1997) focused on the concept of a �high road� of workplace innovation, one which began with the premise that Europe�s potential advantage in world markets lay with the ability to do things differently, in ways not easily imitated by competitors. This means the ability continually to re -invent products and services, always keeping one step ahead. How ever traditional ways of managing enterprises, and traditional ways of organising work, cannot deliver such innovation and versatility. Successful enterprises in the volatile conditions of the 21st Century are those able to develop and harness the knowledge and ideas of employees throughout the organisation as a resource for innovation.
Work organisation is critical to this task. The work environment needs to provide all employees with opportunities to undertake a broad range of rewarding tasks, to be engaged in reflection and innovation, and to be part of a cumulative and collective process of learning. Quality of working life thus becomes a real competitive asset, not just allowing enterprises to recruit and retain labour, but enabling them fully to harness and develop the talent within their workforce. This stands in sharp distinction to �low road� approaches to work organisation with their predominant focus on cost control and performance measurement, typically at the expense of the organisational �slack� needed to inspire creativity and innovation.

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