updated: 23 August 2007


Illegal immigrant
See Undocumented worker
Immaterial labour
The term 'immaterial labour' is used in some of the literature on the knowledge society in order to distinguish 'mental' or 'emotional labour' from physical labour. Those who carry out this immaterial labour may be referred to in a variety of ways, including 'symbolic analysts', 'digital processors' or even 'eWorkers'.
Source: Ursula Huws)
See also knowledge work.
Inclusive working life
Inclusive working life refers to a social and political process in which policies and practices aim at developing a working life which provides room for and includes all individuals into working life even those who cannot always give themselves 100 % to the labour market.
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Income discontinuity
Income discontinuity is an effect of work discontinuity preventing workers from making short and long term plans. Young people are thus hindered from accessing adult life and adults exposed to the risks of social exclusion and poverty. The effects of income discontinuity differ according to the various national welfare systems.
The term 'individualisation' is generally used in the context of a comparison with the 'de-individualisation' by which individual employment relationships were referred to a system of general regulation (established by legislation and collective bargaining ) which defined the modalities of the employer-employee relationship during the Fordist era.
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Industrial cluster
Clusters are presently seen as main tool for increasing the competitiveness at European and global level. More than a decade ago, the economy of scale model was replaced by the network paradigm, which is the paradigm of clusters.
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Industrial district
See Industrial cluster
Industrial relations models
Several categorisation schemes have been developed to differentiate industrial relations systems.
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Informal economy
The informal economy (sometimes known as the informal sector, the 'grey economy',' black economy' or 'shadow economy') is a term used to describe those areas of economic activity which are carried out beyond the scope of formal regulation.
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Informalisation refers to the process by which employment is increasingly unregulated, in part or altogether.
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The term 'information' has been problematised in discussions about the information society which has led to some attempts to define it precisely.
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Information society
According to Frank Webster, it is possible to define the 'information society' along five analytical dimensions: technological, economic, occupational, spatial and cultural (Source: Frank Webster (1995): Theories of the Information Society. Routledge: London, New York).
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In-house relocation
The term 'in-house' is used to refer to operations which are carried out (Source:Ursula Huws) within a company as opposed to being outsourced. In-house relocation refers to work which is moved to a different site, which may be in another region, country or even continent, but which remains within the company and is carried out be employees of that company or one of its branches or subsidiaries.
(Source:Ursula Huws)
See also insourcing , captive sourcing, outsourcing and externalisation.
See Offshore outsourcing
The term 'inshoring' is one of a spate of variants of 'offshoring' that has been coined to describe different forms of relocation of work. Unfortunately it is used in a variety of different senses. 'Inshoring' sometimes means importing labour from an 'offshore' destination (generally using the 'green card' mechanism to generate work permits for non-national workers) as an alternative to sending the work abroad.
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The term 'insourcing' is used in more than one sense. It may refer to carrying out work in-house instead of outsourcing it. However it may also be used to describe a strategy used by some companies whereby during periods of low demand the surplus capacity in an internal service (for instance an internal customer support call centre) may be sold to external clients (for whom, of course, it constitutes an outsourced service). Setting up a separate in-house unit for providing a service to other internal departments (or to both internal departments and external customers) may be a prelude to outsourcing it.
See also captive sourcing
(Source: Ursula Huws)
Institutional context
Nationally specific institutional contexts have an impact on the response potential of groups of workers, organisations, or individuals to the changes in work induced by globalisation and the company strategies and policies linked to it.
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Institutional shaping
The term institutional shaping is used particularly in the varieties of capitalism school to refer to the ways in which economic and social practices and trends are not universal but are shaped by the particular national or regional contexts in which they take place (see also path dependency) .
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Intensification of work
The phrase 'Intensification of work' refers to a subjective feeling describing workers' feelings about changes in the work content and to what extent these changes imply an increase in obligations, duties, effort (physical and mental) whilst the time allotted to do the work has decreased.
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In the context of discussions about global value chains, the term 'intermediary' refers to a person or organisation that mediates between different actors at different levels of the chain.
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Internal control of health, environment and safety
Internal control of health, environment and safety are systematic actions taken at the enterprise level to ensure and document that the activities of health and safety are performed in accordance with national requirements specified in laws and regulations. The systematic actions must be described as administrative procedures. An outcome of these actions could be to enact work reforms through legal-administrative strategies.
Internal labour markets
The term 'internal labour market' (sometimes also known as a 'firm' labour market) was coined by Doeringer and Piore ( Doeringer and Piore, Internal Labour Markets and Manpower Analysis , Heath, 1971) in the context of their development of dual labour market theory.
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Internal-external flexibility
Internal flexibility is the ability of a company to modify the quantity and/or quality of its labour inputs within its bounds: via overtime and flexitime and/or functional flexibility . External flexibility is the ability of a company to modify the quantity and/or quality of its labour inputs in interaction with its external environment: via temporary work and/or outsourcing. See also externalisation, labour market flexibility and flexibility.
International outsourcing
This term refers to the practice of outsourcing to a company based in another country.
(Source: Ursula Huws)
See also offshoring.
International trade in services
The phrase 'international trade in services' refers to transactions between companies that take place across national frontiers.
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The term internationalisation refers to a process involving an extension of an activity from one country to another but falling short of full globalisation.
(Source: Ursula Huws)