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Job Displacement and the Implications for Job Quality : an Investigation of the Job Transition Process for Public Sector Workers in Scotland, Uk and Ontario, Canada during the Great Recession

Pascoe-Deslauriers, Rachelle and Findlay, Patricia and Scholarios, Dora (2016) Job Displacement and the Implications for Job Quality : an Investigation of the Job Transition Process for Public Sector Workers in Scotland, Uk and Ontario, Canada during the Great Recession. PhD thesis, University Of Strathclyde.

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Abstract

This thesis conceptualises the job transition as a continuous process in the context of organisational downsizing and restructuring. It argues that the policy and research related to re-employment following job loss, organisational downsizing and relevant labour market interventions remains disconnected from, and hence underemphasises, the sequential and cumulative nature of the transition process while also focussing disproportionately on modifying individual behaviour and action. This study explores the intersection and overlap in factors, actions and decisions made by actors in each part of the transition process to better understand the dynamic nature of job transition and its implications for re-employment and future job quality.This research considers job transition from two forms of displacement – job displacement and worker displacement. It comprises a cross-national comparative study of displacement from public sector work in Ontario, Canada and Scotland, UK. Forty expert and stakeholder interviews were carried out addressing different aspects of job transition, targeting academic and policy experts, employers/senior managers, union representatives and labour market programme service providers. Furthermore, 38 semi-structured work history interviews were conducted with displaced workers along with a follow-up survey. This research argues that downsizing policy and labour market interventions appear to view any job as a better outcome than redundancy. Where organisational policies maintain employment, the emphasis is on maintaining extrinsic features of work. Through practices like salary protection and lateral transfers, good quality work beyond equivalent remuneration is a bi-product rather that a central consideration. The study finds that individuals, faced with particular processes and limited information, modify their behaviour to protect valued aspects of work including, but not limited to, extrinsic job factors. Conceptually, this research contributes to knowledge on job loss and re-employment, organisational downsizing practice and job quality. Empirically, it contributes to debates on public sector restructuring following the Great Recession of 2008.