Workshop 4

Society at company level

Major changes within society stand in close connection to structural changes in employment. And the place where these structural changes directly take effect is at company level. For socioeconomic reporting this represents an important research perspective: to watch society operating on company level. It is here that economic strategies become comprehensible and concrete, and where their consequences for work and lifestyles of the employees can be investigated. The workshop’s main focus is on the question how this perspective can be utilized for the regular coverage and evaluation of the social and economic changes taking place.

Thus, the decision as to which particular form of employment is available is decided at company level. It is here that qualification opportunities and promotion prospects are offered or refused. The wage policy of the respective company has a decisive impact on individual and family welfare. The concrete details of a company’s working hours influence the individual possibilities to keep family, leisure and work in balance. At the same time, the company itself is a social place: The chemistry between colleagues, superiors and customers can decisively contribute to a person’s satisfaction; however, if shaped by harsh competition and miscommunications it can turn out to be a load factor in one’s daily work.

Companies are not just producers of commodities and services, they are also a fundamental social place where gainful employment is organised and employees are integrated into a social fabric. For the individuals they serve as the most important connection to the labour market and the social security system. Thus, society is being ‘produced’ – and significantly so – at company level too.

Companies are not supra-historical entities, however, they are rather subjected to far reaching changes. Nowadays companies are involved in complex corporate strategies and value chains, which are constantly being reorganised. Networking, offshoring and outsourcing, increasing internationalisation and informatisation are changing the characteristics but also the options for action and the strategic capabilities at company level. In the past stability and calculability were considered to be the main features of a Fordist company whereas today permanent change seems to become the new regulating variable of company life.

Some reflection on terminology is needed here: Does it still make sense to speak of ‘companies’ in the same way as one used to back in the sixties? The possibilities of a theoretical reformulation of the company concept will therefore be one of our topics in the workshop.

(Andreas Boes, Ann Hacket, Nick Kratzer) May 9th/10th, 2006, Göttingen

Results (German)
Flyer PDF
Diskussionspapier PDF
Pressemitteilung PDF
Ergebnisbericht PDF
Lectures (German)
Anne Hacket: Einführung PDF
Andreas Boes, Anne Hacket: Bringing the Firms Back In PDF
Dieter Sauer: Reorganisation des Unternehmens PDF
Martin Kuhlmann: Reorganisation von Arbeit PDF
Christoph Köhler, Olaf Struck: Beschäftigungsverhältnisse PDF
Holger Alda: Betriebe und Arbeitseinkommen PDF
Nick Kratzer: Zeit im Übergang PDF
Tatjana Fuchs: Qualität der Arbeit PDF
Tatjana Fuchs: Gute Arbeit PDF
Peter Ellguth: Betrieb und Arbeitsbeziehungen PDF
Klaus Dörre: Fragmentierte Arbeitsbeziehungen PDF
Volker Baethge-Kinsky: Arbeiten und Lernen PDF
Rainer Land: Ostdeutschland PDF
Boy Lüthje: Bloody Fordism? PDF