Project Details

The primary goal of the Canadian EMERGENCE project is to capture and document developments in e-work practices in Canada as they reshape employment and industrial patterns domestically and internationally. Qualitative case studies increase mutual understanding of the extent to which e-work practices may be transferred between Europe, Asia,Australia and Canada by providing information on e-work patterns in each continent and stimulating transfer of knowledge between governments and industry association counterparts in each region.

Project participants investigate the quality and describe the characteristics of telemediated jobs that are relocating between Canada, Asia and Europe, as well as identify factors that facilitate and constrain the development of new forms of e-work with particular reference to technological, organizational and human capital factors.

This research advances understanding in Canada about the evolution of our domestic labour market vis-à-vis the global economy, particularly in terms of evaluating if, and to what extent, e-work is implicated in a growing divide between core and marginalized employment opportunities. Researchers employ an analytical framework that captures how the intersection of gender, class, ethnicity and citizenship mediate the impact of e-work developments for residents of Canada, Europe and Asia. The frame-work allows for the identification of social groups particularly at risk of social exclusion amidst the new patterns of employment that are emerging in the global information society, while also illuminating new opportunities for women and other groups presently disadvantaged in the labour market.

 

Definitions

eWork or Telemediated Work: Refers to the relocation of work that is:

digitized (i.e. uses information which can be processed by computer)
telemediated (i.e. information that can be transmitted over a telecommunications link)
eWork is any form of work where information and communication technologies (ICT) are
used to mediate work between the employee and employer or employee and client.

ICT: Information and communication technologies

Source: Refers to where the work is coming from or where it is managed from

Destination: Refers to where the relocated eWork is being carried out

 

Classification

Two broad distinctions are used to classify eWork:

1. A legal distinction as to whether workers are considered internal (people work as employees) or external to the organization meaning outsourced labour that is mediated by a contract for a supply for services.

2. A distinction in the types of workplaces with work being performed on shared premises such as an office and work that is conducted in isolation away from office premises. These individuals may be working from their home or nomadically from a variety of locations for all or part of the workweek.

 

Who Benefits?

The work of the project will be of direct value to:

Consultants, companies and other stakeholders in employment location decision-making
Anyone involved in economic development at regional and national levels
SMEs in the knowledge industries looking for niche markets in the new global digital economy
Anyone involved in training, employment creation and equality of opportunity
Social partners involved in the development of employment policies
Anyone involved in the development of policies relating to international trade in services and in monitoring industrial location strategies
International aid agencies
Researchers in the fields of economics, econometrics, economic geography, organisational theory, science and technology policy, development studies and other related disciplines
National statistics offices.

 

Methodology

Objectives

To investigate and identify the motives, enabling technologies, organizational and cultural facilitators and barriers involved in the relocation of eWork.

To consider the processes involved with relocation, their social consequences and employment effects.

To determine what the regional push and pull factors are in the delocalisation of work using ICT's.


Research Questions

1. What are the aims, the processes and the forms of relocation, the critical success factors, and the costs and benefits?

What are the companies' motives for relocation part of their activities on the basis of information and communication technology?
Who are the social actors involved in decisions to relocate work?
What are the key enabling technologies, the forms of implementation and the use of the technical infrastructure?
What features of organisational structure and corporate culture act as facilitators or, or barriers to new forms of working?
What are the HR and training issues? What are the knowledge management issues involved? Are they critical for success?
What are the costs and benefits? How are they assessed?

2. What are the impacts, in particular the consequences for employment?

What are the positive or negative impacts on the local labour market in both source and destination regions?
What are the characteristics of the workers whose jobs are most likely to be endangered?
What are the characteristics of the workers most likely to benefit?
What are the characteristics of telemediated jobs in terms of skills level, wages, working hours, contractual arrangements etc.?

3. Why are some regions much more successful than others in attracting information-processing work?

What are the factors in the national and regional environment (economic, social and political), which act as facilitators of, or barriers to, these new forms of employment?
What are the characteristics of source and destination regions? What are the push and pull factors?
What are the criteria used in selecting a location for information-processing work? What are the processes of selection and decision-making?