Job quality in an era of flexibility: Introduction

Julia Kubisa*, Pedro Mendonça

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter introduces the discussions on the relation between job quality and flexibility that spread in European labour markets despite differences in countries’ institutional arrangements. The authors state that organisations currently are under market pressure to adopt to change, which results in engaging in various internal and external flexibility practices taking its form as annualisation of working hours, changes of working hours, casualization of workforce, use of temporary agency workers and development of ICT solutions that support those practices. The extent of these flexibility practices allows characterising current situation on labour markets as an era of flexibility. The authors discuss ‘flexibility’ as a term that has become so saturated with values that it is difficult to oppose it. Flexibility is ‘for someone’ – employers, workers or both – but can also serve none of them. Different approaches to job quality are debated in order to see what happened to the European Commission’s assumption that job quality contributes to economic sustainability, social cohesion and individual well-being, especially in times after the economic crisis in Europe and in the context of growing market pressures. Different components of job quality are discussed, with the use of model that divides job quality into employment quality and work quality. This model serves as a starting point to show different interrelations between different dimensions of job quality, their mutual interactions and their constant change. This leads to the formulation of the overarching aim for the volume, which is not only to describe how but also explain why job quality is affected or influenced by different strategies for flexibility.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJob quality in an era of flexibility
Subtitle of host publicationExperiences in a European Context
EditorsTommy Isidorsson, Julia Kubisa
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780203710678
ISBN (Print)9781138561595
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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