This research project aims to develop new knowledge about how small and medium sized enterprises (SME) can contribute successfully to the sustained workplace inclusion of vulnerable ‘hard-to-place’ citizens, and can be supported effectively in doing so.
With ‘hard-to-place’ citizens we refer to people struggling to obtain or retain a job due to mental, cognitive, social, physical or other disabilities.
The project is situated in the context of active labour market policies seeking to engage employers and workplaces to take more responsibility for assisting hard-to-place citizens into the labour market. Despite an emerging literature on the role of employers in active labour market policies, knowledge about the more micro level organizational, human resource management (HRM) and workplace factors contributing to the sustained employment of hard-to-place citizens is meagre. This is especially the case in the context of SMEs, which are highly common organizations and provide considerable proportions of employment. At the same time, SMEs may often lack resources and competences to engage in inclusion efforts.
This project starts from the key assumption that there is considerable social and economic potential in obtaining knowledge about how SMEs can become an increasingly powerful force for labour market inclusion. The project aims to produce new and relevant knowledge for SMEs, service and education providers and policy makers on (a) successful inclusion practices at the level of the employing SMEs, (b) public/private services that meet the needs of the employing organizations and the jobseekers, and (c) the role of national policies in promoting inclusion efforts in SMEs. We will do so through a multi-method comparative study in Norway and the Netherlands, whose governments in agreement with social partners have initiated substantial, but differing, initiatives to mobilize employers.
The participants in the project are from the Work Research Institute at OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway, Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and TIAS School for Business and Society, the Netherlands. Together with experts from Norway, the Netherlands, UK, and Denmark in the advisory board the project group has expertise on employer behavior, HRM and organizational behavior, statistical modelling, public and private employment assistance services, and comparative labour market policy methods.
- Paul Boselie, professor, Utrecht University School of Governance, NL
- Jo Ingold, associate professor, Leeds University Business School, UK
- Flemming Larsen, professor, Aalborg University and Oslo Metropolitan University (prof II), DK
- Tone Alm Andreassen, professor, Oslo Metropolitan University, NO