Research Project: A Comparative Study of the Long Term Experiences of Restructuring: Structural Influences on Successful Transitions to Sustainable Working Lives

Project leader
Robert MacKenzie, Arbetsvetenskap Karlstads universitet
Project Members
Roland Ahlstrand
Alexis Rydell
Jennifer Hobbins, Försvarshögskolan
Project Period
Project Status
The response to job loss due to industrial restructuring is a key societal and policy challenge. Tripartite support programs and Active Labour Market Policies have had celebrated success in short term responses to labour market re-entry; however, less is known about the longer term consequences of restructuring for individuals and families affected by job loss, and thus the effectiveness of restructuring support viewed over the longer term. The purpose of the study is to identify mechanisms that explain successful post-restructuring transitions, viewed 7-10 years after the restructuring event. Earlier studies have focused on the effects for displaced workers at the point of termination or tracked statistics on labour force destinations. Little is known about how interaction with support provision, and other social structures, contributes to transitions to jobs, retirement and alternate activities.

Research will be based on the steel industry, which has experienced a major degree of restructuring, and contributes to a comparative project involving the UK and Australia. The study will use work-life biographical interviews to track the longer term experiences of displaced workers, purposively sampled by age and gender. Analysis will be extended beyond the individual by the inclusion of partners/spouses, to gain insight into the impact of restructuring on families/households and their role in transitions. Focus groups, documentary evidence and semi-structured expert informant interviews with key labour market actors will also be utilised.

The role of labour market actors will be explored using institutional theory in relation to restructuring regimes. Individual worker trajectories will be analysed using life course theory. Combining these theoretical frameworks will bridge the examination of the respective, and complementary, roles of formal labour market institutions with other social structures, notably family, social networks and occupational community.
Omstrukturering, stålindustri, hållbart arbetsliv
Research Profile
Complex Systems - Microdata Analysis
Occupational Science