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Industrial policy, skill formation, and job quality in the Danish, German and English offshore wind turbine industries

Industrial policy, skill formation, and job quality in the Danish, German and English offshore wind turbine industries

Schulte, Lisa (2016) Industrial policy, skill formation, and job quality in the Danish, German and English offshore wind turbine industries. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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This PhD thesis is a qualitative comparative case study of industrial policy, skill formation, and job quality in the offshore wind turbine manufacturing industry in Denmark, Germany and England. It engages with the comparative industrial relations, skill formation, and job quality literature and proposes an alternative analytical and theoretical framework to the widely-used Varieties of Capitalisms approach (Hall and Soskice, 2001). This alternative framework is based on Marxist regulation school (Aglietta, 2015 [1979], Boyer, 2005), the marketisation framework (Doellgast and Greer, 2013), and previous studies of the offshore wind industry. This thesis makes another theoretical contribution by extending the concept investor capitalism (Useem, 1996) to describe the underlying logic identified in the design and implementation of offshore wind turbine industrial policy.

This thesis also presents a number of important empirical findings, which suggest that theories that solely focus on supply side factors, miss half of the equation of what makes the “institutional foundations of the comparative advantage” of political economies and companies (Hall and Soskice, 2001). The way demand side policies incentivise investment decisions also plays an important part (cf. Aglietta, 2015 [1979]). This thesis shows how supply and demand side policies impact on skill formation and job quality in the offshore wind turbine industry.

In more detail, this thesis identifies specific characteristics of funding for skill formation by industrial policy: ‘permanent’ in Denmark, ‘ad hoc’ in Germany, and ‘post-hoc’ in England. The nature of skill formation providers and public funding provisions impact on the character of participants in training programmes, favouring disadvantaged applicants in Germany in contrast to favouring high performing ones in England. The way skill formation was funded impacted on employer engagement in the institutionalisation of vocational education and training (VET) programmes - employers in Denmark supported the institutionalisation of emerging occupational profiles and corresponding VET, whereas in Germany they argued against it, presumably because they would incur the costs of dual vocational training once it was established.

Short-term skills funding as part of ‘ad hoc’ and ‘post hoc’ industry policy had destabilising knock-on effects on skill formation providers in England as well as in Germany. This is a surprising finding, as both countries are usually characterised as examples of institutional complementarity and hence stability. This thesis shows that varying demand side policy impacts on work-based training and strengthens agencies. The combination of supply and demand side policies leads to a dynamic relationship between skills and job quality. Vocational skills may lead to stronger employment security, but not necessarily job security, and they are not a panacea against bad jobs. Active labour market policy (ALMP) training, when provided to directly employed unskilled workers during short-time work, and the lack of equivalent provisions for agency workers reinforced dualisation of the labour market.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: energy, industrial policy, Denmark, Germany, England, offshore wind turbine industry, skill formation, active labour market policy (ALMP) training, vocational education and training (VET),
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2018 13:45

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