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Fragmenting WorkBlurring Organizational Boundaries and Disordering Hierarchies$
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Mick Marchington, Damien Grimshaw, Jill Rubery, and Hugh Wilmott

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199262236

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199262236.001.0001

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Blurring the Boundaries to the Employment Relationship: From Single to Multi-Employer Relationships

Blurring the Boundaries to the Employment Relationship: From Single to Multi-Employer Relationships

(p.63) 3 Blurring the Boundaries to the Employment Relationship: From Single to Multi-Employer Relationships
Fragmenting Work

Jill Rubery

Jill Earnshaw

Mick Marchington

Oxford University Press

Debates about the changing nature of work and the prospects for the retention of the so-called standard employment relationship have become more widespread recently. This literature has focused to large extent on the fragmentation of work and increasing insecurity, often associated with the proliferation of ‘non-standard’ forms of employment. Growing numbers of pseudo self-employed workers, agency temps, zero hours contractors, and home-based teleworkers have all attracted attention to the issue of whether these forms of work fall within our understanding of the standard employment relationship; a bounded and long-term relationship between a single employer and an employee. These concerns within the literature are mirrored in the practice of employment law where increasing numbers of cases apply to situations where the definition of employee status is in some sense ambiguous, and employment regulations have increasingly been extended to include within their scope workers who fail the full test of employee status. So far, however, attention in both social science and employment law has focused mostly on the appropriateness of a narrow definition for the employee side of the employment relationship. This chapter argues there is a parallel need to question the employer side of this conceptual box. Employment change needs to be understood through the changing nature of organizations and inter-organizational relations.

Keywords:   employment relations, employment law, employment change, employee status

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