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The Dynamics Of A Flexible Firm.

1983 words - 8 pages

The flexible firm has become an integral part of world business practice and is becoming increasingly important in a firm's quest to maintain and enhance profitability in what has become an increasingly competitive market with the onset and development of globalisation - a phenomenon which has undoubtedly created what can be deemed 'the new economy'. Indeed it can certainly be argued that the 'flexible firm' is extremely evident and applicable in Australia and perhaps one of the best industries to study these changes and the characteristics of a flexible firm is the airline industry of Australia which has, over the last 20 years, endured unprecedented deregulation and change. Indeed there is little doubt that the notion of the flexible firm is extremely applicable to the commercial world of the 21st century in Australia.The Globalisation Phenomenon had a drastic impact on the world in the late 20th century and much of this change is ongoing and will continue in years to come. Indeed, "while the 'golden era' of capitalism was primarily national, the last twenty years of the twentieth century saw a greatly increased transnationalisation of economic, social and cultural relations" (Munck, 2001, 53). The impacts have been drastic and this is particularly evident in industrial relations where "this new era of globalisation is having a decisive impact on workers worldwide, though much of the flourishing globalisation literature seems to ignore workers as a whole" (Munck). "Globalisation, whether viewed as the panacea for the new century of demonised as the source of all our evils, has become the new 'common sense' for our era" (Munck, 2001, 51). It can certainly be said that "Globalisation offers opportunities but also exacerbates risk" (World Bank, 1995, 124) given the fact that globalisation has the potential to cripple many of the world's smaller companies as trans-national corporations expamd. Indeed this further highlights the need for attention to achieving flexible firms to guarantee sustainability in the marketplace.John Atkinson's notion of the flexible firm has become an important theoretical idea that has become valuable in understanding the new flexible firm - what it entails and the benefits it holds. Atkinson describes the notion of the flexible firm as "Implementing more systematic labour utilisation strategies in the pursuit of greater flexibility in production" (Dore, 1989, 32). Put simply, it can be said that the flexible firm is the tendency of companies or firms to "segment the labour force into a numerically flexible periphery and a functionally flexible core". This model sees the peripheral employees being concentrated in "precarious forms of work" (Dore, 1989) including casual and part-time jobs which enables firms to adjust the level of labour input into fluctuations in market conditions. In contrast, core workers are generally those who are multi-skilled and are, by and large, employed on a full-time permanent basis. By...

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