WORKS – Changes in Work. Work Organisation and Restructuring in the Knowledge Society


Works is a pan-European research project which aims at improving our understanding of the major changes in work in the knowledge-based society. Taking account of the global forces and of the regional diversity within Europe, the project will investigate the evolving division of labour within and between organisations and the related changes at the workplace. The implications for the use of skills and knowledge, for flexibility and for the quality of work, as well as the impact on occupational identities, time use and learning of individuals will be investigated in a comparative perspective. The role of the social dialogue and of the varieties of institutional shaping in Europe will receive particular attention.

WORKS includes four subgroups:

  • Research On Theories and Concepts On Changes In Work
  • Quantitative Resarch
  • Qualitative Resarch
  • Research On Policy, Institutions and Social Dialogue

Pamela Meil (ISF München) is lead partner in the subgroup Research On Policy, Institutions and Social Dialogue and second partner in the subgroup Qualitative research, section „Organisational case studies“.

Research On Policy, Institutions and Social Dialogue
The policy and institutions pillar of WORKS focuses on understanding the role of the broader national and European institutional shifts as well as the effect of policy initiatives on changes in work. Unlike many studies on this issue, the WORKS policy pillar goes beyond analysing the institutions and policies themselves. In the WORKS project a close link with the qualitative case studies will be established, making it possible to examine what effect institutional frameworks are having at the level of work and in the work life of workers.

The first task in the policy pillar is to identify relevant institutions and policy trends in the areas of labour and work regulation, industrial relations, gender, innovation, education and training, labour market and market developments by utilizing the wide range of material that has already been collected and analysed at the national and European levels. The next step is to create indicators to be used in research questions for the empirical phase of WORKS to be carried out in the second project year.

The final aim is to construct an explanatory framework of ‚regulatory logics‘ drawing on current theoretical insights in the field of labour market and welfare regulation. This framework will be applied to the findings of the WORKS case study research in order (a) to enrich the explanation of the variety of observed trends and (b) to discuss the opportunities to ‚govern‘ social developments in a European context. This work will result into a series of policy papers to different target audiences, such as Human Relations managers, labour market intermediaries, trade unions, European institutions, regional governments and equal opportunities policies. Some of the key issues to analyse on the basis of the extended case study material are:

  • the role of welfare state and labour market regulations on flexibility, time use, contractual relationships, employbility issues in particular regarding network organisations and employees‘ self-organisation;
  • social dialogue and new forms of social governance regarding work organisation and quality of working life;
  • occupational groups: new forms of interest representation and collective action, collective bargaining structures at different levels;
  • social dialogue on working hours, time use and other working condition issues, with special focus on new forms of work organisation;
  • learning environments: certification of skills and training trajectories;
  • particularities and development of national/regional ‚gender contract‘.




06/2005 bis 05/2009


Gefördert von der EU im Rahmen des 6. Forschungsrahmenprogramms