This book examines why firms compete in similar market segments using divergent management approaches. Using matched case studies of call center workplaces in the United States and Germany, it considers the experiences of worker representatives as they have sought to shape management strategies at the workplace and organizational levels. It discusses the outcomes of negotiations over work reorganization in two large telecommunication firms, along with the challenges faced by labor unions as a result of the outsourcing strategies adopted by those firms. It also explores how political processes of negotiation influence employment systems and the organizational restructuring decisions that affect patterns of inequality. The book argues that strong forms of workplace democracy backed by encompassing collective bargaining are necessary to encourage investment in high-involvement employment systems and to prevent the degradation of job quality in employment settings where managers face strong pressures to reduce labor costs.
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