Labour regulation in small firms

Ida Regalia
  • Employee Relations, April 2017, Emerald
  • DOI: 10.1108/er-08-2016-0159

The regulation of labour in small firms compared to the traditional theory and practice of ER/IR

What is it about?

Drawing on the results of recent empirical research, and particularly of a survey of employment relations in Italian small firms, the paper explores the extent to which practices conform to traditional expectations on the functioning of collectively mediated systems of industrial relations.

Why is it important?

Through the combination of two dimensions – the existence or not of forms of labour representation and the degree of welfare within workplaces – a typology of ER models in small firms is delineated which unveils the diffusion of “anomalous” configurations, in which labour organization and welfare provisions are disconnected from one another. This result calls into question the ability of traditional views on the functioning of IR systems, and the role of trade unions, to explain the ways in which work is actually regulated.


Ida Regalia

The hope is that the research results, that constitute an example of a much broader range of facts and behaviours that challenge the traditional wisdom on the functioning of industrial/employment relations, encourage a wider and frank debate on the possibilities of good labour relations, consistent with the characteristics of work in the globalised economies.

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