Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0169-2216
  • E-ISSN: 2468-9424



What consequences does the COVID-19-pandemic, viewed from an employer perspective, have for the organization of work, terms of employment, and industrial relationships in the Netherlands? We analyze interviews with terms-of-employment-consultants and human-resource-management-professionals (N = 15), and research and policy documents, to analyze how employers after the proclamation of the pandemic ‘think and act’ regarding three themes: (1) time-spatial organization of work, (2) agility and resilience of people and organization, and (3) industrial relations (voice). Employing the ‘three-horizons-model’-methodology, ‘pockets of the future’ and ‘elements of possible futures’ are categorized, resulting in a paradox scheme. We find that employers tend to think and act using a short-term perspective in line with existing organizing principles. However, also some new principles were found (structural homeworking and inclusive employee participation). In view of shaping a sustainable (inclusive) future, learning and fostering change in the current situation demands a long-term perspective in which both the former and latter elements are continuously balanced The paradox scheme can inspire research and practice to explore how paradoxical tensions between short-and long-term elements are or can be actively managed collectively by employers and other labor market parties in sustainable ways.


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