Are industrial districts beautiful? A multi level study of work and industrial relations in Herning-Ikast and Prato
Title: Are industrial districts beautiful? A multi level study of work and industrial relations in Herning-Ikast and Prato
Author: HOLTEN, Anne-Louise
Citation: Florence, European University Institute, 2008
Series/Report no.: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
This thesis investigates work and industrial relations in the Herning-Ikast and Prato textile and clothing industrial districts (IDs). It offers a multilevel, empirical investigation of employee working conditions and industrial relations comparing ID and non-ID firms. The study includes employers and employees in 78 firms. Three main work-related elements are examined. First, the antecedents of employees’ positive perception of unions and union membership are explored. Second, central aspects related to employee functional flexibility (i.e. changing tasks and positions within the firm) are investigated. Finally, elements determining the degree of employees’ positive evaluation of their job in terms of opportunities for learning and development and general contentment are investigated. All three elements are analysed by comparing ID/non-ID firms and Danish/Italian firms. Questions related to work in family firms are also raised. The findings reveal that employees in family firms to a lesser extent were members of unions and reported being less functionally flexible. Moreover, the number of family member employees in a firm was negatively related to employees’ positive job evaluation. A trend toward better social relations in ID firms is seen. Findings show a lower degree of functional flexibility exerted by ID employees, suggesting the importance of alternative flexibility types in ID firms. Important national differences are seen, possibly reflecting the different ways in which the textile and clothing sector has developed as well as a more longstanding Danish tradition of focusing on the improvement of employees’ psychosocial working conditions. Findings also indicate that the degree to which the ID industrial relations vary from the national industrial relations models is dissimilar for Herning-Ikast and Prato. In view of the findings of this thesis the generalisability, transferability and future of the phenomenon of industrial districts is discussed.
LC Subject Heading: Industrial districts -- Italy; Industrial districts -- Denmark; Industrial relations -- Italy; Industrial relations -- Denmark
Defense date: 03/06/2008; Examining Board: Colin Crouch (Univ. Warwick) (Supervisor), Peer Hull Kristensen (Copenhagen Business School), Michael Keating (EUI), Carlo Trigilia (Univ. Firenze)
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