Working Time in Transition

The Political Economy of Working Hours in Industrial Nations

Edited by Karl Hinrichs, William Roche, and Carmen Sirianni

The organization of working time in advanced industrial nations is currently in the midst of a profound shift away from standard hours and toward greater flexibility and diversity of schedules. This shift has major implications for industrial relations systems, the relative power of employers and unions, and the politics of labor markets and gender equity.

This volume explores the broad significance of these developments cross-nationally in Europe, the United States, and Japan. The essays examine technological, and market changes that place a premium on greater flexibility, the successes and limits of trade union campaigns for shorter standard hours as a response to employment crises in the 1970s and 1980s, the impact of reducing standard work hours upon leisure time, the increasing diversity of employee preferences, and the decline in the male norm’s influence on working time and working life. Developments in part-time and temporary work, as well as more innovative policies in parental leave, job sharing, and flexible retirement, are analyzed. Placing these developments in broad historical and theoretical perspective, the authors reveal the centrality of time as a contested terrain of workplace and gender politics.

Working Time in Transition elucidates the underlying structural and political conflicts that lead to changes in working time regimes in Western nations and Japan. It will be of interest to employers, union leader, state and federal policy makers, economists, and corporation and union researchers.

About the Author(s)

Karl Hinrichs is Research Associate at the Centre for Social Policy Research at the University of Bremen.

William Roche is Senior Lecturer in Industrial Relations at University College in Dublin.

Carmen Siranni is Associate Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University and the coeditor of the Labor and Social Change Series.

In the Series

Labor and Social Change

No longer active. Labor and Social Change, edited by Paula Rayman and Carmen Sirianni, includes books on workplace issues like worker participation, quality of work life, shorter hours, technological change, and productivity, as well as union and community organizing and ethnographies of particular occupations.