Investigation lines

The IET develops its research on Labour and Industrial Relations

One area, work, conceived in its broadest sense, that is, like all activity developed by women and men, including productive work and domestic and care work, and its effects in the other areas, levels and contexts of life.

Labour market changes and new forms of employment

A closer look at gender inequalities, employment of young people, impact of migration, and quantity and quality of employment and its transformations, in a comparative perspective in the European framework. 

A new aspect related with labour market analysis refers to the role played by resources known as social capital in labour insertion and development. The study of social capital and its unequal distribution, together with research on the impact of social networks on career paths, are a very important area of our research concerns. 

Research on that field is specified in:

  • Study on employment and working conditions, taking in consideration other factors such as the sexual division of labour, migration or gender inequalities.
  • Access to the labor market and the employment trajectories of young people.
  • Transformations in employment, making mention of the similarities and differences with the European Union.

Labor relations and work organization

Over the last decades there have been important transformations in the productive systems and in the labor relations system. At the same time, there have been relevant changes in the ways of regulating individual and collective labor rights and in the labor policies of public administrations.

The research on these changes and their effects is consolidated at the IET

Within these topics, we find the following lines of research:

  • Transformations and new forms of business organization, of work and occupation and their consequences in terms of working conditions and forms of collective representation.
  • Strategies of employers and unions in the pursuit of their objectives at a company and supra-company level through collective bargaining and the dynamics of cooperation and conflict that they generate.
  • Social dialogue and changes in the regulation of the labor market and transformations of the employment policies of public administrations and the articulations of their different levels: European Union, State, Regions and local administrations.

Time, work and everyday life

Within this line are some of the most important social issues today. The interaction between work and family spheres, and its consequences on the distribution of time, constitutes a well-established field of research.

In this line we can identify:

  • Life times studies: the analysis of the relationships established between productive work time and non-productive work time, generally domestic and family work.
  • Analysis of time strategies (from the world of companies and institutions as well as people) and negotiating the times in everyday life (relationship between working, domestic and city times, etc.).
  • Study of policies that try to organize people’s life times, being the reconciliation of work and family-personal life one of the core lines.

Gender and work

The analysis of work from the gender perspective implies considering the set of activities necessary for the reproduction of human life, as well as the social relations established within the labor market and the domestic sphere.

From this point of view, different targets of study, focused on gender inequality, policy design and legal frameworks to detect changes and continuities are targeted. Specifically, this line of research includes:

  • Analysis of gender inequalities within the labor market (segregation and discrimination).
  • Analysis of gender inequalities within the domestic sphere (domestic and care work).
  • Evaluation of public policies and the legal framework (conciliation, equality between men and women…)

Local Policies, Development and Sustainability

The crisis of the traditional production model, the environmental crisis and the demand for new needs by the population causes the surfacing of local development as a significant phenomenon within the dynamics of globalization, changes in the organization of work and the welfare state. The territory is having great relevance in the appearance of new forms of production and occupation. Within this line, the study of work transformations, the design and application of sustainable policies and services for the population is key, from a point of view that emphasizes the territorial dimension, underlining the importance of new main roles: local institutions, small businesses and associated forms of production.

 This line of research includes:

  • A review of local employment policies
  • A review of local development policies.
  • A review of environmental and sustainability policies at local and regional level.

Work policies and people’s working rights

This area deals with the rules that regulate labor relations, both individually and collectively, at a Spanish and supranational level.

The dynamism of labor regulations forces us to pay permanent attention to developments in regulatory matters, while at the same time delving into aspects that constitute consolidated lines of research. Among these lines we find:

  • Study of union organization and unitary representation, focusing on the impact of the new forms of corporate organization (productive decentralization, on-line companies, etc) on the set up of representative bodies.
  • Analysis on the legal framework of employment for people with disabilities and people in a condition of social exclusion.
  • Analysis on the effects of demographic changes on working and social care systems, focusing on the social and legal care of aging workers.
  • Analysis on the fit of new expanding forms of working; platform working, with local execution of features and micro job platforms, with a special focus on collective working rights.
  • Analysis and following of tools of internal working time flexibility.

Organization of work, psychosocial risks and health

In the context of social inequalities in health, this theme aims to deepen the study of the effect of exposure to psychosocial occupational risks on the health of workers, always considering the axes of segmentation of the labor market and specifically among the most vulnerable groups. It also focuses on the study of work organization and how business practices of labor management precede exposure to psychosocial risks.

Specific lines of research include:

  • Relationship between labor management practices and exposure to psychosocial risks.
  • Inequalities of class, gender, age and migrant status in exposure to psychosocial risk factors.
  • Job insecurity, precariousness and health.
  • Participatory intervention processes for the prevention of psychosocial risks.
  • Exposure to psychosocial risks and sickness presenteeism.
  • Working conditions, psychosocial risks and health in especially vulnerable groups.

Anuario IET de Trabajo y Relaciones Laborales

El Anuario IET de Trabajo y Relaciones Laborales is an online publication edited by the Institut d’Estudis del Treball. Yearbook aims to provide an analysis of the main aspects of labour market developments, employment policies and industrial relations during the current year. It also analyses the main changes at European level. It involves both EIT researchers and external experts, who closely monitor the most important changes in the field.