job churning increases the importance of having information about jobs across firm boundaries.
The flattening of hierarchies not only reduces the number of managerial employees but also delegates greater authority to lower-level employees. Middle managers have been among the hardest hit from both layoffs and the redefinition of work roles. Yet, surprisingly, few researchers have directly observed and reported on the actual nature of contemporary middle management work. (An exception is the work of Floyd and Wooldridge, 1996.) Instead, most of the studies we have used to assess the effects of restructuring on managerial work focus on the changes in employment conditions. These indeed are quite significant and visible. Job security—actual and perceived—has declined. Promotion opportunities appear to be limited and more open to competition from external candidates. Managerial compensation has been put at risk with higher percentages of pay coming in the form of performance bonuses. Use of outside contractors or consultants for specialized managerial tasks appears to have increased.
Among the most visible changes in the structure of work is the increased use of teams. The use of teams reflects both a desire to move discretion to lower organizational levels and the need to enhance horizontal communications, coordination, and problem solving across traditional job and organizational boundaries. Because the use of teams has such a profound effect on how work is done, we discuss their role in greater detail below in the section devoted to changes in the content of work.
Taken together, the changes in demographics, markets, technologies, and organizational structures and processes have exerted a profound effect on implicit and explicit employment