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Innovations in Information Society Sectors: Implicatons for Women's Work, Expertise and Opportunities in European Workplaces : SERVEMPLOI: Final Report of project SOE1-CT98-1119
Employment Research Centre, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
Employment Research Centre, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
Employment Research Centre, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
Centre for Competence and IT, Danish Technological Institute, Denmark.
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2001 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall objective of project SERVEMPLOI was to examine, in the context of considerable technological and organisational innovations and uphe avals, the prospects for women working in low-grade service jobs to develop skills and knowledges which would allow them to move out of low-grade work and into better work, or ‘good work’. A literature survey and a contextual analysis of retailing and fin ancial services sectors was undertaken. Fieldwork was conducted in eight countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Case studies of workplaces in the two sectors were carried out. In addition, qualitative panel studie s followed the employment trajectories of female employees in the two sectors through the duration of the project.

Women working in junior positions in these two service sectors are experiencing significant organisational and technological changes. Both sectors are becoming more highly concentrated in ownership terms, and competition is becoming fiercer between companies. Deregulation at member state and European level has had a major effect on the market and consequently on the strategic behaviour of co mpanies in both sectors. There has been an overall trend towards increasing commercialisation, de -bureaucratisation, and an intensive struggle for market share through increases in opening and operating hours. Customer service has become the watchword of their competitive strategies. The development and application of information and communications technologies (ICTs) has been done in pursuit of these objectives. Company - and supply-chain-wide information systems allow companies to maintain logistical c ontrol and reach into new markets. Customer information and customer relationship management systems are now key tools in the capture of markets and the delivery of customer service.

Although knowledge and information, particularly concerning markets and customers, are assuming increasing importance in retail and financial services companies, these resources and their attendant benefits are not filtering down to women working in junior positions in the two sectors. At the level of workplaces in which wom en perform the routine functions of selling, checkout work, clerical and cashiering work, skill development is more concerned with providing customer service than with fostering substantive knowledge or encouraging the use of SERVEMPLOI final report information. Training opportu nities and progression prospects for women to move out of these jobs are variable, and highly contingent upon national training régimes and local company practices. Lengthening and unpredictable working hours also act as a major obstacle to women’s progression. Where women do enter managerial positions, this coincides with a removal of authority from these jobs. Our conclusion is the Knowledge Economy has not strongly benefited these women, nor are they able to harness its potential for their own develop ment. The potential of many women is being wasted.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Brussels: European Commission, 2001. , 234 p.
National Category
Economic Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-127234OAI: diva2:920926
Available from: 2016-04-19 Created: 2016-04-19 Last updated: 2016-05-02Bibliographically approved

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Sundin, ElisabethRapp, Gunilla
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Technology and Social ChangeFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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