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Abstract

The authors hypothesize that three broad factors affect the degree of workers’ control over the timing and the total hours of their work: the institutional and regulatory environment within the country, labor market conditions, and management and labor union strategies. Drawing from their interviews in 2000 with managers, public sector policy-makers and administrators, and union leaders, as well as from previous literature, they illustrate how these factors actually affected working time and employee control over working time in the United States, Australia, Japan, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Their comparative analysis shows that in some countries, employers and labor unions negotiated contracts that increased employee control over working time and provided employers with greater flexibility; in others, employee control over working time remained unevenly distributed across the occupational spectrum.

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