updated: 4 February 2009


Lead partner: 'Organisational case studies': Jörg Flecker - FORBA
Second: Pamela Meil - ISF

Lead partner: 'Individual biographies': Gérard Valenduc - FTU
Second: Bettina Krings - FZK

Research activities

European comparative case study research methodologies including training initiatives for researchers

With respect to the preparation for the qualitative empirical work envisaged in the project, research instruments for both the organisation case studies and the interviews with individuals will be developed. This will be based on the inventarisation and evaluation of the different approaches to undertake case studies in a European comparative research design. The organisation case study research instrument will focus on a comprehensive analysis of the organisational context, configuration of the organisation, determinants and effects of changes in work and at the workplace. The research instrument for individuals will focus on occupational identities and professional trajectories. The development of this methodology will pay special attention at the gender perspective.
The activities of the project will include focused training activities, in the first place of the partners involved in the empirical phase, in procedures and methods for the project's own case study research. This training will be based on both the state-of-the-art in methodology and on the extensive experience of the WORKS consortium in carrying out empirical comparative research.
Timing: August 2005 - May 2006

Innovating the knowledge on changes in work and the quality of life by carrying out qualitative research in organisations/networks and with individuals and their households

A core research phase in WORKS is the organisation of qualitative research on work organisation, use of knowledge and skills and quality of working life in selected business functions or activities at organisational and networks level. This will be done in case studies in 56 organisations and 13 participating countries. On the basis of the key assumption of WORKS that changes in work can only be fully understood when taking into account restructuring at the level of global value chains, the option of the organisational case study research is to select rather 'functions' and 'activities' of specific economic sectors instead of 'companies', for instance the logistics function in the automotive sector or the research and development function in the food industry. This way, the organisation case studies serve as qualitative 'windows' into these restructuring processes at points which are strategically chosen.
A second step in this qualitative empirical research will focus at the individual and household levels through the investigation in case study research of occupations and professional trajectories, including retrospective questions. The aim is to analyse aspects of quality of work, time use, learning and occupational identities.
The actual empirical work for the policy pillar will be integrated in the organisational and individual case studies. This should provide the opportunity to investigate institutions or regulations 'at work', i.e. in their practical application and contestation at the level of the workplace. This research phase will therefore include the investigation of the shaping by institutional arrangements and policies of work organisation and its outcomes in terms of quality of life by way of conducting research on the national/regional institutional contexts, on occupational groups, on labour market regulation and on social dialogue practices.
Timing: August 2006 - May 2007

Publications and events

Comparative organisational case study research including training initiatives for researchers (Timing: 10-12 May 2006, Vienna)

The activities of the 'Qualitative research' will include a focused training activity, in the first place of the partners involved in the empirical phase, in procedures and methods for the project's own case study research. This training will be based on both the state-of-the-art in methodology and on the extensive experience of the WORKS consortium in carrying out empirical comparative research.

Comparative qualitative research training initiatives for researchers
Training seminar: Vienna - 12 and 13 November, 2008
International expert workshop: Vienna - 14 and 15 November, 2008

With the aim of disseminating the knowledge on changes in work as concluded in the research and to contribute to the innovation of research methods and of organisational practices, this phase will mainly focus on the development of training material and on the setting up of targeted training initiatives. The main objectives are to contribute to the further development of the European Research Area by improving knowledge on qualitative case study work in internationally comparative research, in particular in the area of research on work and employment and to contribute to the dissemination of the WORKS findings by developing specific training initiatives to the scientific community and to practitioners. In this stage the knowledge brought together, created and documented in the previous project periods will be systematically transferred to the scientific community, to young researchers from the member states and the Accession Countries in an open training seminar on research traditions, reflexivity and cult ural diversity, research design and instruments, and comparative analysis methods.

Comparative case study research is becoming more and more common in European research. Yet, there is little textbook knowledge and hardly any training opportunity for conducting series of case studies at an international level. One of the aims of WORKS is to share and discuss experiences on international case study research with interested researchers from various institutions and countries. For this purpose the WORKS consortium will hold a training seminar and an expert workshop in Vienna, Austria, between 12 and 15 November, 2008.

Training seminar (12 to 13 November, 2008)
The training seminar addresses mainly (junior) researchers who have some experience in case study research and would like to learn about and exchange their experiences on methodology in a European research context.
The seminar will cover different types of case studies and use hands-on training material specifically developed by the WORKS project for this purpose.
The number of participants is limited to fifteen to twenty.

International expert workshop (14 - 15 November, 2008)
The international expert workshop on comparative case study research addresses junior as well as senior researchers. The expert workshop should enable the participants to discuss methods and research experiences with other research groups and people interested in case study methodology. Representatives from some five international projects will be invited to share their experiences.
We encourage participants from the training seminar to take part in the international expert workshop as well.

Training seminar: 12 and 13 November, 2008 (Wednesday 13:00 to Thursday 16:30) International expert workshop: 14 and 15 November, 2008 (Friday 13:00 to Saturday 13:00)
Place: Vienna / Austria

Contact: Annika Schönauer

Presentations: click here

Developing tools for training in organisational design (Timing: April 2009)

In order to disseminate the results of the project to the broader public, a specific training activity will be organised with the purpose of condensing the most important results into tool(s) for analysing and developing work organisation in the knowledge society and carrying out training based on these tools. The basic idea is that practitioners, in particular trade unions as social partners at the organisational level, need support in business and work organisation development. WORKS will develop knowledge on the most important aspects of this development from an individual/occupational, an organisational/industrial and societal/regional perspectives. Training will be set up and fully supported for professionals in business and organisational development and for social partners (in particular union and work council representatives) that take an active role in developing processes.

Workshop 'Flexibility and fragmentation: supporting unions and works councils in restructuring processes

Runöskolan Stockholm, Sweden 27-28 April 2009

The trainer workshop addresses mainly union trainers and officials as well as labour consultants in their role of supporting union representatives and works councils in restructuring processes.

The purpose of the Workshop is to discuss the results of the project and how it can be used in training and supporting unions and works councils in participating in change. The workshop is built on a training material which will be one of the products of the WORKS project. A draft of the training material will be sent out before the workshop.

Information: per.tengblad@atk.se or phone +4686940453.