Flexibilisation of Work

This text is drawn from www.goete.eu/glossary

One of the key functions of education in modern societies is preparing children and young people for future occupational roles. This implies the question: what education for what work? The end of standardised mass production in the 1970s, the emergence of structural unemployment and labour market policies, the globalisation of competition, the use of ICT, trends towards service and creative economy and the increasing labour market participation of women resulted in a flexibilisation of work. This implies an increase of atypical (esp. fixed-term and part-time) employment arrangements and blurring boundaries between work and private life: while (some, especially service) jobs are becoming more informal, leisure is more and more instrumentalised for the reproduction of labour. Especially in sectors of the so-called creative economies which are characterised by peer structures and teamwork rather than by hierarchies employees turn into „entreployees”. Additionally, work is increasingly shifting from routine tasks to being confronted with open and new situations in which also consuming clients are involved as co-producers. In sum, education and employment are increasingly de-coupled: the occupational outcomes of educational trajectories are less and less predictable and thereby are individualised in terms of self-investment into lifelong learning. In school and vocational training this has lead to trends of modularisation, a focus on transversal skills, a shift from curriculum to competence – or from education to learning. In GOETE flexibilisation of work is relevant with regard to societal negotiation about skill needs and the relevance of education.


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(Bohdan Jung & Andreas Walther)