Workshop: "Work organization, employment and regulation in the retail industry"

prior to the 28th EGOS Colloquium in Helsinki, Finland

Tuesday, July 3, 2012, 9:00–15:00



Michael Wortmann, University of Surrey, UK,

Mike Geppert, University of Surrey, UK,

Mika Skippari, Aalto University, Finland,


Retail industry has gained increasingly in importance as a central service sector in both developed and developing economies. Also, the world of retail is rapidly evolving from local to global. Internationalization is evident both in supply chain and retail operations, as large multinational retailers utilizing various business models expand to new markets. This internationalization process not only significantly affects consumer behaviour and business practices, but also shapes the employment relations and working conditions in the retail sector. In addition, retail firms are exposed to various forms and levels of national and supranational regulation, and there is some evidence that national differences in the regulation of work and employment still matter.


In this workshop, we intend to bring together an international group of scholars interested in the study of work organization, employment relations and regulation in the retail sector. We are especially interested in paper submissions that present new and ongoing empirical research results and/or conceptual ideas which will help us to better understand:

  • What shapes work, organization, employment and industrial relations in the retail sector of developed as well as developing markets
  • How (and why) the retail sector differs from manufacturing and other service industries
  • Whether and why national and/or multinational retailers differ in their strategic approaches in their industrial relations
  • How work organization, employment and industrial relations vary across different retail business models
  • How similarities and differences in work organization, employment and industrial relations can be explained, when comparing national and/or multinational retailers across countries
  • What the role of multinational companies in the retail sector of various host countries is
  • Whether – and if so – how multinational retailers need to adapt to local institutional environments of the host country and whether there are cross-national differences
  • How multinational companies transfer knowledge, organizational concepts and management tools, developed within their home country, to their subsidiaries
  • The role of national institutions for the quality of work and employment of retailing firms
  • What is the role of government regulation in shaping work organization and industrial relations in retail sector in different countries
  • How retailers address their social responsibilities through work organization and labour relations in different countries


We plan 2 or 3 sessions with 3–4 paper presentations + 1 discussant per session. This means that we can accept a maximum of 12 paper presentations and 20 participants for the workshop.