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A Theory of Employment SystemsMicro-Foundations of Societal Diversity$
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David Marsden

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294221

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198294220.001.0001

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The Employment Relationship

The Employment Relationship

(p.3) Chapter 1 The Employment Relationship
A Theory of Employment Systems

David Marsden (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The employment relationship is flexible because it is open‐ended or ‘incomplete’, but no workers would agree to be become employees unless there were some agreement over the limits to which managers can direct their work. Simon argues that jobs are based on a ‘zone of acceptance’ consisting of tasks that a worker is willing to carry out. However, this is too prone to opportunistic behaviour. To counter this, the parties develop work rules that enable workers and their line managers to identify the set of tasks individual workers may normally undertake. The chapter ends with a short analysis of the sub‐contract systems that preceded the employment relationship in many countries.

Keywords:   employees, employment relationship, flexibility, incomplete contract, managerial authority, opportunism, Herbert Simon, sub‐contracting, work rules, zone of acceptance

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