The present contribution examines whether and how young firms and incumbents differ with regard to selected aspects of work forms and work organization in order to assess their roles for the qualitative changes of work in industrialized countries. Conceptually, we emanate from the approach of negotiated order and we empirically ground our research upon guided interviews conducted with employers and employees in about 50 firms in four distinct industries in Germany. According to our results, new forms of work are particularly widespread in new firms. Most of the young companies in our sample practice autonomous work forms like working on one's own responsibility and team working more frequently than incumbents, they are more prone to revert to functional flexibility (e.g. changing tasks and duties) and their working time arrangements tend to be more flexible. Altogether, firm age turns out to be an important parameter of new work forms and organization, though it is not the only one. Our results show that also the general and industry-specific framework conditions, a firm's internal characteristics (e.g. innovation intensity, hierarchies and routines), the relevant actors (management, workforce) and particularly the coaction of these elements are important drivers shaping the overall feature of a firm.
Young firms Negotiated Order Quality of Work Working Time Autonomy Work Organization Germany Guided Interviews