The past is an increasingly unreliable guide to the future. European workplaces and the regions in which they are located face unprecedented pressures and challenges. Whereas in recent decades incremental adaptation has largely been sufficient to cope with external change, it is no longer clear that this remains the case. Globalisation, technological development and dissemination, political volatility, patterns of consumption, and employee expectations are occurring at a rate which is hard to measure. The rate of change in these spheres is far outstripping the rate of organisational innovation in both European enterprises and public governance, leading to a serious mismatch between the challenges of the 21st Century and the organisational competence available to deal with them. In this context, there is no clear roadmap.
The contributors to this volume address these issues and demonstrate that building the knowledge base required by actors in this volatile environment requires continuous dialogue and learning - a context in which social partners, regional policy makers and other participants share diverse knowledge and reflect on experience rather than seeking and imitating any notion of 'best practice'. Action Research has a crucial role to play, embedding shared learning within the process of innovation.
1. Acknowledgements; 2. Introduction (by Fricke, Werner); 3. I. Key themes; 4. Participation and local organisation (by Gustavsen, Bjorn); 5. Workplace innovation as regional development (by Totterdill, Peter); 6. II. Building coalitions; 7. Participation and enterprise networks within a regional context: Examples from South-West Norway (by Claussen, Tor); 8. Planning from without or developing from within? Collaboration across the frontiers of Health Care: Collaboration across the frontiers of Health Care (by Ekman Philips, Marianne); 9. The development of the French technopoles and the growth of life sciences: The example of the Evry genopole (by Heil, Christophe); 10. III. Capacity building; 11. The third task: A challenge for Swedish research and higher education (by Brulin, Goran); 12. Linking workplace innovation and regional development: Towards new roles for the university sector (by Lantz, Annika); 13. Obstacles to organisational learning in Trade Unions: The case of the Dutch 'industribution' project (by Klaveren, Maarten van); 14. Globalisation and regionalisation: Will networking help trade unions to shape change in traditional industrial regions? (by Beese, Birgit); 15. Moving beyond rhetoric: Creativity, organisations and performance (by Banke, Palle); 16. IV. The policy framework; 17. Regional workplace forums for the modernisation of work (by Ennals, Richard); 18. Integrating workplace development policy and innovation policy: A challenging task: Experiences from and reflections on the Finnish Workplace Development Programme (by Piirainen, Tatu); 19. The UK Work Organisation Network: A national coalition for working life and organisational competence (by Ennals, Richard); 20. About the authors; 21. Index