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The Global and the LocalUnderstanding the Dialectics of Business Systems$
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Arndt Sorge

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199278909

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278909.001.0001

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The Governance of Work Systems

The Governance of Work Systems

Chapter:
(p.142) 5 The Governance of Work Systems
Source:
The Global and the Local
Author(s):

Arndt Sorge

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278909.003.0005

Comparative studies of work, organization, management, human resources, and industrial relation in Germany — according to methodologically rigorous standards of international comparison — have been carried out since the 1950s. They show the consequences of the meta-tradition on the South Germanic bedrock: a prevalence of small and medium-sized companies with personalized owner-manager arrangements, but with similarities and links between these and larger enterprises; continuity of education and training ‘from the bottom up’ to top management; continuity of careers; and professionalization of work roles encompassing representation of interests and governance, diffusion, and piecemeal development of technology rather than mobilization for radical break-throughs. Such tendencies have asserted themselves relative to other societies in different historical, technical, and organizational instances. But there has also developed a within-nation variety of work systems, which may lead to different comparative results between sectors or industries. Nevertheless, even these can be explained by the dialectics inherent to societal effects.

Keywords:   work organization, technical change, innovation, industrial districts, entrepreneurship, management strategy

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