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Investments in a sustainable workforce in Europe: causes and consequences in comparative perspective

GoTriple's project summary

Economic and demographic trends are impelling the need for a sustainable European workforce, consisting of productive, satisfied employees (micro level), profitable organizations and cohesive workplaces (meso level) and a high employment rate and flourishing economy (macro level). So far comparative research has focused on the micro and macro level. Little is known about the role of organizations and their investments in a sustainable workforce.This groundbreaking research program introduces the organizational level and its interaction with the country and employee levels into research on the sustainable workforce. First, it examines organizational investments in (1) human and social capital, (2) work-life policies, (3) work flexibility, (4) long-term employability of older workers, and (5) flexicurity. Second, it explains differences in such investments and their utilization by employees based on micro, meso and macro characteristics, including interactions between the three levels. Third, it analyzes whether organizational investments contribute to better performance by the employee, the organization and the country. Revising theoretical mechanisms, we formulate original hypotheses based on the idea that interdependencies and norms between organizations and employees influence investments and their utilization by employees.A unique feature of this ambitious program is its multi-level design. Data will be gathered on 30 organizations and their employees in nine countries (Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, UK) representing different types of welfare regime with ample variation in macro-level conditions. The applicant’s longstanding data-gathering experience and cooperation with researchers in these countries makes data collection feasible. The data will permit in-depth examination of all levels and of micro-meso relationships. The European Foundation’s European Company Survey will be used to test meso-macro hypotheses.

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