Competence-based strategies and global production networks: A discussion of current changes and their implications for employment

Florence Palpacuer, 1997

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International Institute for Labour Studies, Geneva

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Summary & key words

This paper adopts a multidisciplinary perspective to analyse current changes in firms’ organisational strategies and assess their implications from the perspective of industrial organisation and employment. The analysis first draws on recent developments in the strategic management literature that conceptualise the firm as knowledge-based or competence-based. This approach is built upon to develop a competence-based organisational model integrating both firms’ internal management practices and external linkages into a unified analytical framework, and showing how firms respond to new competitive pressures by managing competencies on an intrafirm and interfirm basis. Part two considers how such model can contribute to explain the emergence of global production networks, which are analysed by focusing on the key dimensions of power, activity and geography, along the lines of the global commodity chain framework. The employment outcomes of competence-based organisational strategies and network forms of organisation are then discussed from the perspective of labour market segmentation theory, with emphasis on the emergence of new forms of employment segmentation within and between firms. 


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