National institutions and employers' age management practices in Britain and Germany: path dependence and option exploration

Muller-Camen, Michael and Croucher, Richard and Flynn, Matthew and Schroeder, Heike (2011) National institutions and employers' age management practices in Britain and Germany: path dependence and option exploration. Human Relations, 64 (4). pp. 507-530. ISSN 0018-7267

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018726710396246

Abstract

We pursue a comparative analysis of employers’ age management practices in Britain and Germany, asking how valid ‘convergence’ and ‘Varieties of Capitalism’ theories are. After rejecting the convergence verdict, we proceed to ask how far ‘path dependence’ helps explain inter-country differences. Through 19 interviews with British and German experts, we find that firms have reacted in different ways to promptings from the EU and the two states. Change has been modest and a rhetoric-reality gap exists in firms as they seek to hedge. We point to continuities in German institutional methods of developing new initiatives, and the emerging role of British NGOs in helping firms and the state develop new options. We argue that ‘path dependence’ offers insight into the national comparison, but also advance the idea of national modes of firm option-exploration as an important way of conceptualizing the processes involved.

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Published online first on 8 March 2011.

Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations > Employment Relations group
Middlesex University Schools and Centres > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations
ID Code:5106
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Deposited On:23 Apr 2010 09:37
Last Modified:12 Dec 2014 10:55

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