25 jaar onderzoek naar arbeidsvraagstukken: ontwikkelingen, spanningsvelden en nieuwe uitdagingen | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 25, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0169-2216
  • E-ISSN: 2468-9424


25 years of labour studies in the Netherlands: developments, tensions and new challenges

25 years of labour studies in the Netherlands: developments, tensions and new challenges

By comparing developments in several disciplines a general picture of the state of the art of Dutch labour studies is presented. First, the specific contribution of each discipline (sociology of work, labour economics, work and organizational psychology and public administration) is described. Sociology studies the transformations on the labour market and within organizations and their unequal consequences for labour market success and quality of work of different groups of workers. Labour economics is characterized by the consequent application of the principle of utility maximization on a wide range of mainly labour market issues. Psychology highlights the 'inner world' of organizations in transition by studying stress and burnout, employability requirements, psychological contracts and so on. Public administration contributes to the study of labour policies by emphasizing the way implementation is being organized and studies management problems of public sector organizations. However, there is also a lot of overlap between these disciplines, which offer opportunities for multidisciplinary cooperation. Next, two sources of tensions are being discussed which characterize the field as a whole: the tension between a discipline-oriented and a more problem-oriented approach and the tension between theory and practice. It is concluded that both have increased during the last 25 years. Finally, a research agenda is presented, consisting of ten themes which have strategic value for the future of work, employment and industrial relations and ask for multidisciplinary cooperation.


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