Special Issue "Sustainability of Labor Contracts, Negative Shocks and Job Protection"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Ermanno C. Tortia
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economics and Management, University of Trento, 38122 Trento, Italy
Interests: institutional economics; behavioral economics; evolutionary economics; institutionalist theory of the firm; co-operative enterprises; social enterprises; non-profit organizations; third sector; social economy; environmental economics; sustainability; labor economics; human resource management; personnel economics; work practices; organizational fairness; procedural fairness; interactional fairness; worker motivations; job satisfaction; happiness economics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Cecilia Navarra
Website
Guest Editor
European Parliament Research Service, Brussels, Belgium
Interests: development economics; economics of cooperative enterprises and non-profit; migration; gender; labor economics
Dr. Marina Albanese
Website
Guest Editor
Marina Albanese, Department of Political Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
Interests: finance; economic analysis; co-operative enterprises; labor economics; happiness economics; equity; microeconomics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is concerned with the sustainability of the employment relation in terms of job protection and stability in the presence of negative shocks on the demand or cost side. The standard treatment of labor contracts predicts that labor is a perfectly flexible factor of production in the short run, and negative demand and cost shocks are absorbed through employment variability (layoffs). This Special Issue deals with the economic, contractual, and organizational factors that are able to modify standard expected results and lead to lower employment variability (job stability), in the presence of negative shocks as well. Different ownership and organizational forms are considered. Four main cases can be spelled out:

1) An endogenous solution in which turnover costs (search and matching, screening cost, and loss of specific human capital, costs deriving from industrial action and confrontation, etc.) are higher than the wage costs of redundant jobs, inducing an organization to prefer to hoard labor instead of laying it off. In addition, the gift exchange framework (Akerlof, 1984) can be brought to bear in this case;

2) Industrial relations based on concertation, not confrontation, in which worker representation (unions or plant/enterprises level representation) and firm owners bargain over the possibility that hours worked and/or wages are reduced to favor job retention and to preserve existing firm-specific human capital;

3) The German co-determination solution, in which employees elect up to 50% of the members of a supervisory board of directors. A direct channel tapping worker objectives into strategic choices of an organization is likely to reorient company decisions towards objectives that are closer to those of worker needs, among which job stability features prominently;

4) Worker cooperatives, worker-controlled firms, and employee-owned enterprises. Full worker control of an organization can require job protection to be included among the dominant objectives of the organization. Wage flexibility and flexible working times become standard tools aimed to face and absorb negative shock, wage. Inter-firm networks and cooperative groups can be added as tools aimed to distribute the risk conneted to negative shocks in a wider set of organizations.

George Akerlof. Gift Exchange and Efficiency-Wage Theory: Four Views. Am. Econ. Rev. 1984, 74(2), 79–83.

Prof. Dr. Ermanno Tortia
Dr. Cecilia Navarra
Dr. Marina Albanese
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • employment relation
  • labor contract
  • job protection
  • layoff
  • industrial relation
  • concertation
  • co-determination
  • worker co-operatives

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Role of Labor Unions in Corporate Transparency: Focusing on the Role of Governance in Auditor Change Process
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2643; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092643 - 08 May 2019
Abstract
This study investigates how the presence and power of labor unions are associated with auditor replacement, more specifically, external auditor tenure and the direction of auditor change. External auditor tenure and direction have been of great interest to stakeholders, as they are very [...] Read more.
This study investigates how the presence and power of labor unions are associated with auditor replacement, more specifically, external auditor tenure and the direction of auditor change. External auditor tenure and direction have been of great interest to stakeholders, as they are very likely associated with the financial reporting quality and corporate transparency, crucial factors for sustainable business. We are focusing on the role of the labor union, one of the key stakeholders involved in corporate governance and transparent operations, in external auditor selection processes. During the annual wage bargaining process, labor unions that rely on financial information face information asymmetry because financial statements are provided by the management. Therefore, labor unions have a high demand for independent and capable external auditors. This demand is likely to shorten auditor tenure and/or prompt changes to higher-quality auditors. Using a sample of 4568 firm-years listed in the Korean stock markets for the period of 2005 to 2008, we find evidence that the presence and power of labor unions significantly decrease external auditor tenure. We also find that the direction of auditor changes with the presence and power of labor unions is likely from non-industry specialist auditors to industry specialist auditors. This study contributes to the extant literature by extending the previous research on auditor selection and the governance role of labor unions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Labor Contracts, Negative Shocks and Job Protection)
Open AccessArticle
The Institutional Development of Employment Protection and the Perception of Western Concepts and Values in China
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020480 - 17 Jan 2019
Abstract
This research addresses a challenging issue, employment protection in China, including unemployment insurance, work accident insurance and the concept of co-determination. Although the ideology of Sino-communism seems to share some elective affinity with the comprehensive arrangements of labor protection in modern welfare capitalism, [...] Read more.
This research addresses a challenging issue, employment protection in China, including unemployment insurance, work accident insurance and the concept of co-determination. Although the ideology of Sino-communism seems to share some elective affinity with the comprehensive arrangements of labor protection in modern welfare capitalism, in reality, the mainstream economic elites of post-Mao China enthusiastically embraced neoliberal ideology in the 1980s and 1990s, maintaining a critical attitude towards employment protection policies through the lens of economic efficiency and productivity. However, since the millennium, the ruling elites of China have started to promote a certain version of an inclusive and social market economy, and Western ideas and discourses on employment protection have become prevalent. This paper outlines the institutional reforms, dynamics, mechanisms and constraints in the development of employment protection arrangements in China since the millennium. Further, emphasis is placed on the ideational level, with a special focus on domestic discussions, debates, discourses and interpretations of “co-determination” from several major Western nations including Germany, the Nordic countries, the Anglo-Saxon nations and Japan. Through the academic “barometer,” the future development of employment protection in China is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Labor Contracts, Negative Shocks and Job Protection)
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Open AccessArticle
From Authoritarianism to Democratic Corporatism? The Rise and Decline of Social Dialogue in Korea
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4514; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124514 - 30 Nov 2018
Abstract
This study analyzes the sudden rise, quick success, and gradual decline of democratic corporatism (DC) in Korea. The analysis and discussion in this paper is based on qualitative approach, combining semistructured interviews and a review of archival evidence on the sustainability of social [...] Read more.
This study analyzes the sudden rise, quick success, and gradual decline of democratic corporatism (DC) in Korea. The analysis and discussion in this paper is based on qualitative approach, combining semistructured interviews and a review of archival evidence on the sustainability of social dialogue in Korea. In addition, we also provide supplemental quantitative evidence based on interview results. The present study indicates that an event such as a sudden economic crisis can lead to short-term outcomes such as a swift experiment with DC, but determination of the very nature of a tripartite agreement and the long-term sustainability of DC hinges on structural elements and path dependence formed and built up over decades. Events in Korea show that a direct transition from state authoritarianism to DC is a difficult, if not impossible, task. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Labor Contracts, Negative Shocks and Job Protection)
Open AccessArticle
Is Labor Related to the Duality of Earnings Smoothing?
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4396; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124396 - 24 Nov 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Previous accounting studies indicate that union strength is positively related to income smoothing and that management is more likely to smooth income when labor power is strong. Researchers debate about whether income smoothing has either a garbling or an informative role. This paper [...] Read more.
Previous accounting studies indicate that union strength is positively related to income smoothing and that management is more likely to smooth income when labor power is strong. Researchers debate about whether income smoothing has either a garbling or an informative role. This paper investigates the cross-country impact of labor power on the extent to which information about future prospects is efficiently communicated through income smoothing. It proposes that strong labor power will garble income smoothing, which means that the efficient communication of private information is constrained in strong labor protection settings. Consistent with our predictions, the results show that the informative role of income smoothing is restricted with strong labor protection after controlling for legal institutions, financial-market development, and economic wealth. This study provides new insights into the role of income smoothing by inspecting the linkage between labor protection and income smoothing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Labor Contracts, Negative Shocks and Job Protection)
Open AccessArticle
Daily Emotional Labor, Negative Affect State, and Emotional Exhaustion: Cross-Level Moderators of Affective Commitment
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1967; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061967 - 12 Jun 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Employees’ emotional-labor strategies, experienced affects, and emotional exhaustion in the workplace may vary over time within individuals, even within the same day. However, previous studies on these relationships have not highlighted their dynamic properties of these relationships. In addition, although the effects of [...] Read more.
Employees’ emotional-labor strategies, experienced affects, and emotional exhaustion in the workplace may vary over time within individuals, even within the same day. However, previous studies on these relationships have not highlighted their dynamic properties of these relationships. In addition, although the effects of surface and deep acting on emotional exhaustion have been investigated in emotional-labor research, empirical studies on these relationships still report mixed results. Thus, we suggest that moderators may affect the relationship between emotional labor and emotional exhaustion. Also, this study examines the relationship between emotional labor and emotional exhaustion within individuals by repeated measurements, and verifies the mediating effect of a negative affect state. Finally, our study confirms the moderating effects that affective commitment has on the relationship between emotional labor and emotional exhaustion. Data was collected from tellers who had a high degree of interaction with clients at banks based in South Korea. A total of 56 tellers participated in the survey and responded for five working days. A total of 616 data entries were collected from the 56 respondents. We used a hierarchical linear model (HLM) to examine our hypothesis. The results showed that surface-acting emotional labor increases emotional exhaustion; furthermore, the relationship between surface acting emotional labor and emotional exhaustion is mediated by a negative affect state within individuals. In addition, this study verified that affective commitment buffers the negative effects that surface acting emotional labor has on emotional exhaustion. These results suggest that emotional labor is a dynamic process within individuals, and that emotional exhaustion caused by emotional labor differs among individuals, and is dependent upon factors such as the individual’s level of affective commitment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Labor Contracts, Negative Shocks and Job Protection)
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