A reorganization is an operation by which an organized unit sees its organisational structure altered in order to reach with a new configuration. The term is mainly used in Architecture, to indicate the reorganization of a space, a district or of a building and in economy, to indicate is a financial operation (reorganization of the Capital, Endettement…), that is to say the reorganization of a sector of economic activity, an administration or a company. In this last case, the reorganization can result in the calling into question of whole or part of its activities and lead to suppressions of Emploi S.
The reorganization term was popularized much during the thirty last years to indicate the reorganizations of Entreprise S and their processions of plans of Licenciement S. Formellement, the reorganization of a company will be able to result:
- of the abandonment of a product or branches of activity, even of the suspension of the line of business;
- of the adaptation of its means of production to a level of activity envisaged;
- of the Delocalization of certain activities;
- of the Externalisation of certain functions;
- of the reduction of doubled blooms following an acquisition or a fusion;
- of the reorganization of work, generally in relation to a Investment.
Apprehended in general information, the nature of the phenomenon makes however debate, the keys of entry being multiple. The reorganizations and reorganizations of companies fit indeed in a contemporary economic history marked by deep evolutions which can be approached under historical but such a political angle, legal and social.
Other terms, generally of Anglo-Saxon origin (Re-engineering, downsizing), are frequently used to indicate the same phenomenon. If one disregards these semantic difference, one finds two main categories of definition:
the first tends to underline the decisional aspect of the phenomenon. The traditional example is the definition of Bowman and Singh (1993) which apprehend the reorganization as “a whole of operations whose objective is to buy or sell credits, to modify the structure of the capital or to transform the internal organization of the company”. Another example can be found at Cameron (1994) which approaches the phenomenon like a “whole of activities undertaken by the management of an organization and intended to improve the organisational effectiveness, the productivity or competitiveness”.
the second is focused on the effects of these decisions on the company and above all on its labor. Cascio (1993) affirms that in a reorganization, it is mainly a question of proceeding to “the planned destruction of positions or employment”. According to Mill (2001), “the reorganization corresponds to the intentional strategy of a company which regards the reductions of labor as a means of increasing the organisational effectiveness. It aims at the reduction of the salary costs (by reducing the number of paid), the reorganization of work (by eliminating certain positions) as well as the systemic changes (continuous improvements)”.
Economic and historical approach
Bernard Gazier (2005) raises that “the job losses due to the industrial reorganizations are as old as the Capitalisme”. In fact, all the modern economic theories get busy to explore the dynamics of capitalism and result in highlighting its mobility and the recurrence of the crises which he knows. Thus, theories of the absolute advantages of Adam Smith, then comparative advantages of David Ricardo provide a first explanation to regional and international réallocations of the activities according to the degree of opening of the systems of economic exchanges. The complete disappearance of the production of fabric of the India, first world producer of textile at the beginning of the 19th century, which will not be able to face the high productivity of British cotton industry, provides an illustration of it. The Marxist theory of the exploitation provides one second explanation to which has occurred of recurring crises by the trend fall of the rate of profit because of internal dynamics of the capitalism which results in continuously substituting constant capital (machines) for the variable capital (work). The process of creative destruction describes by Joseph Schumpeter proposes another explanation to the phenomenon of regular reorganization of the combination of the factors of production. It would be the technological advance, carried by the innovating contractor, who is in the middle of a process of réallocation of the resources, renewal of competences and space redistribution of employment. More recently, the economists of the school of the regulation enriched typology by the crises, considered as consubstantial with the capitalist system. Lastly, the theory of the competitive Avantages takes note of the universalization of the exchanges and the strategy of the multinational firms which put in competition the areas and the States in order to obtain the best possible advantages (here a cost of very weak labor, there of particular competences, a market to be conquered elsewhere, another share of the codes of favorable investments…) and their activities according to the advantages obtained move.
Whatever the mobilizable theoretical references, the modern economic history testifies to generating periodic accelerations of important waves of reorganizations, which it is about the movement of industrial Rationalization of the Twenties or of that of Automatisation of the Fifties. It is not impossible that we know a new acceleration for some time, since the report whom the reorganizations have, since about thirty years, changed of nature, is now largely shared. Thus, Aggeri and Pallez (2005) observe that “until the Seventies, the industrial reorganizations indicated well identified phenomena: they related to a small number of industrial sectors whose adaptation appeared painful, but inescapable (textile, shipyards, iron and steel industry…) ”. But, since then, “the reorganization became a permanent tool for industrial adaptation of the companies, in the search of a increasing competitiveness, which, moreover, is often thought of a transnational scale”. Consequently, the phenomenon became, while it was standardized, much more difficult to circumscribe and control, the more so as in the same movement:
- contours of the company became increasingly difficult to distinguish under the effect of the strategies of “centring on the Cœur of competence” practiced per number of groups as from the Nineties, of the multiplication of the relations of Sous-traitance and the diffusion of the organizations in networks;
- everywhere, the States saw their prerogatives being restricted and their capacity of intervention and regulation to be reduced.
Approaches political and social
The rise to power of the reorganizations as from the Sixties led, in the majority of the industrialized countries and in particular in Europe, to set up policies of management of employment which can be categorized according to three great successive methods.
The first method, whose emergence can be located between 1965 and 1975 according to the countries, relates to the regulation of the Job market and the protection of employment and the workers exposed to the dismissals. It is during this period that set up themselves:
- a distinction enters the lay-offs and the other dismissals, together with more rigorous constraints for the first in terms in particular of justification of the dismissal and selection of the fired workers;
- the principle of a control of the State and a consultation of the staff representatives, even of a negotiation enters the employer and the trade-union organizations, in the event of collective redundancies;
- introduction of specific modes of compensations, by the employer and the modes of Insurance unemployment, in the event of lay-off;
- the installation of socially acceptable mechanisms of withdrawal of the job market, in particular by the means of Anticipated retirement S.
In front of the inexorable rise of the Unemployment in the majority of the developed countries and the permanence of the reorganizations, second series of measure are adopted between end of the year 70 and beginning of the year 90. Carrying an ambition of management of professional mobilities, and thus of regulation of the flow and either only of the stock of the applicants for work, it recovers three main categories of provisions:
- the availability of the companies which restructure, if necessary with the contribution of public funds, “toolboxes” aiming at supporting the Flexibilité of work, functional calculus (versatility and reclassification) and wage (temporary assumption of responsibility of the compensation of employees by an external organization). It is thus developed the more or less important use of measurements of short-time working, assistance to the part-time passage, the formation, geographical mobility, etc
- the individualization of the accompaniment of the workers fired in the search of a new employment. Carried by varied institutions, the tools used are very similar of one country to the other (establishment of professional assessments, of assessments of competences, helps with the drafting of CV, assistance to the looking for a job, training course of training of the techniques of looking for a job, coaching, organization and engineering of formation, helps to the creation or resumption of company, etc);
- the creation of the “institutions”, public and deprived, in responsibility of implement this accompaniment (cells of reclassification and technical units of reclassification in France, “job security foundations” in Sweden, “transfer companies” in Germany, cells of formation reclassification in Belgium, “job centers more” in the United Kingdom, etc).
More recently, the permanence of an long-term unemployment and the report of increasing difficulties of durable insertion of the young people, the least qualified in particular, and of exclusion of paid oldest, resulted in considering a third wave of measurements, turned towards the prevention of the Exclusion professional and social. They are the provisions in particular aiming at promoting:
- the anticipation of the situations of reorganization. This aspect results in particular in a lengthening of the lengths of notice in the event of lay-off into Sweden or Germany, the principle of the early advertisement (“early warning”) of the reorganizations under consideration in the United Kingdom, the recent introduction of a triennial obligation of negotiation on the methods of information and consultation of the staff representatives on the strategy of the company and its foreseeable effects on employment and estimated management of employment and competences (GPEC) in France, etc
- the maintenance of the employability of the workers. There still, several relatively recent provisions were adopted in various European countries, such as the individual right with the formation (DIF) in France, the Validation of the Assets of the Experiment in France and Sweden or the “Union Learning Representatives” in the United Kingdom;
- the taking into account of territorial dimension in the management of the reorganizations. This last register of action is formalized still little, even if many experiments exist locally a little everywhere in Europe. But to date, only France registered in the law an obligation of territorial relaunching in the event of reorganization blaming the balance of the basin of employment (article L 321-17 of the labor regulation).
The rise of the problems of the transitional markets of work, developed with the beginning of the year 1990 by the German economist Günther Schmid, also takes part of this reflection. Its objective is thus defined by Bernard Gazier (2005): “practically, it is a question of fighting against exclusion by multiplying opportunities available for the workers, and by to some extent pressurizing the companies. The active policies of employment such as they were developed with the Denmark constitute an example, among others, of such an approach. ”
Institutional and lawful approach
The regulations into force in the various countries developed concerning management of the reorganizations fall under the general system of the Employment Policy . However, those concern varied designs which result in privileging such or such lever of action. One can very schematically distinguish three models:
- a “Anglo-Saxon” model of adjustment by the prices which would privilege the external market of employment, and thus the Labor costs, like variable of adjustment of the labor market. In such a system, the Employment Policies play a limited role and the independent measurement of accompaniment of the reorganizations passes by the compensation for the job loss. Under these conditions, the lawful arsenal of regulation of the suppressions of employment is very reduced and will initially stick to frame the risks of discrimination.
- a “continental” model of adjustment by volumes, of which would raise in particular France, Belgium and to a lesser extent Germany, which would privilege the internal market of employment. In such a system, the Employment Policies play a big role and will endeavor on the one hand to lead the companies to preserve their employees and on the other hand to control the offer of work, in particular by measurements of age such as the anticipated retirements. Under these conditions, the lawful arsenal of regulation of the suppressions of employment is very developed and will attempt to frame the justification of the dismissal and to impose the installation of a social plan on the companies.
- a “Scandinavian” model of adjustment by the quality, of which would raise in particular the Scandinavian Netherlands and countries, which would privilege the professional market of employment. In such a system, the Employment Policies also play a big role and will seek to promote the collective accompaniment with professional mobility. Under these conditions, the lawful arsenal could be relatively developed, but will also make play a big role with the negotiated exemption (faculty to derogate from the rule by way of collective agreement).
Each country leans, of course, towards a model in agreement with its own institutions, which return themselves to varied designs in the manner of making company. However, all are confronted with the same difficulties when one comes to the question from the reorganizations, the stages and the consequences of the processes of reorganization being everywhere similar. In the same way, from a practical point of view, one notes that when an answer to such or such problem raised by a particular reorganization is found, all answer overall in the same way.
The measurement of the reorganizations
The reorganizations are the debate object many but the width of the phenomenon and its consequences is very badly known. Thus, in Europe, if all the countries are able to produce statistics, more or less reliable, number of the dismissals, by generally distinguishing the dismissals “for economic motive” (but the definitions, perimeters and contexts lawful to which return this concept are variable) other dismissals, none set up a device of follow-up of the reorganizations themselves. A fortiori, none is able to regularly give an account of the individual trajectories of the workers who lost their employment following a reorganization. As regards social accompaniment, almost always, it is the obligation of means which seems to dominate and the installation of consistent measurements judged to carry the presumption of results.
The foundation of Dublin (European Foundation for the Improvement off Living room and Working Conditions) however set up an observatory of the reorganizations within European Monitoring Centers one Changes (EMCC), European Restructuring Monitor (ERM). Collected information is however obviously very compartmental: it counts, through an examination of the national daily press of the countries from the European Union, the advertisements of at least 100 suppressions of employment or at least 10% of manpower in the companies employing at least 250 worker. Thus, for France, the observatory raised 158 reorganizations representing a total of 55.000 suppressions of employment in 2006, to compare, for the same period, in 1.270 plans of collective redundancies notified with the administration of work and probably more than 900.000 dismissals (all confused reasons) on the basis of declaration of inscription at the national agency for employment (ANPE).
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