Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 1 2003, page 71-82.
Kurt Aagaard Nielsen
In working-life-research globalisation has been outlined discussed in terms of its consequences for welfare, labour unions, for institutional regulation and for corporative structures. In this article the author argues that we also need to research the relation between globalisation and the conditions for democratic change and workers’ participation at the labour process level. Recent sociological theories about globalisation (Castells, Beck, Baumann) deal with the dynamics or patterns of capital mobility - especially the trend towards increased disembedding edmint and the increased speed of change. Until now, such theoretical reflections heve only made a minor impact on qualitative research into labour process transformation. This is particularly the case with studies of the conditions for direct workers’ participation.
The author qualifies the hypothesis that in current globalisation the dynamics and speed in change of capital ownership and its effects on strategic production planning are poison for any serious workers’ participation. Workers’ participation needs to have a slow and long-term perspective; it is necessary to anchor the transformation processes in skills and experience. However, this is not possible given the typical dynamics which now exist in development of global ownership.
We need more empirical research to provide documentation of what happens in the combination of globalisation processes and the development of work. Today, we know about the problems that can arise when for example, projects are stopped or forgotten by new directors or as a consequence of integration of new partners. Globalisation has to be researched in closer relation to patterns of organisational development and the transformation of the participative labour process.