Participation Across Organizational Boundaries

Mick Marchington and Andrew R. Timming

in The Oxford Handbook of Participation in Organizations

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199207268
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191584817 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

Participation Across Organizational Boundaries

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  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
  • Business Ethics


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The recent growth of inter-organizational contracting poses a significant threat to the traditional conception of employment. Where organizational boundaries overlap, it no longer makes sense to think of the employment relationship as a contract between a single employer and an employee. This article seeks to articulate the implications of this paradigm shift from the perspective of participation in organizations. It distinguishes between direct and indirect participation as the organizing framework. The article analyses how direct and indirect participation operate across organizational boundaries at multi-employer workplaces. It offers a brief discussion of how subcontracting within multi-employer sites has blurred boundaries and disordered hierarchies within and between organizations that work together on a commercial contract at the same workplace. The article also examines direct and indirect participation in the context of these organizational forms. It ends with a brief discussion of the implications of these issues for future research.

Keywords: inter-organizational contracting; organizational boundaries; employment relationship; indirect participation; multi-employer sites

Article.  9356 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business Ethics

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