due to a business downturn during the previous 12 months reported fewer company-provided opportunities to improve their skills (39 percent) compared with those in companies that had not downsized (51 percent). Workers in companies with layoffs also responded less positively than companies with stable employment to the item, "I am satisfied with the opportunities for training and development that my company provides me" (34 versus 47 percent, respectively).
Changes in the structure of work also have implications for practices in addition to training. The first of these is employee selection, broadly defined as how employees are recruited and then selected into the organization. If employee attachment to the employer truly is weakening, resulting in more quits, if firms continue to restructure and churn their workforce, or if they hire more from the outside market, then it is reasonable to conclude, first, that employers will be engaged in more employee selection, and that it will become a more important activity for the organization. The second implication is that the criteria for selection will also change. Skills will become more important, and the potential for development less so, if internal development and career ladders inside the firm give way to more outside hiring. And the type of skills needed will also change. Teamwork will place a premium on teamwork skills and self-motivation and self-management, given the decline in direct supervision. Employers may also find that they rely more on trying to create a corporate culture that effectively substitutes for direct supervision by conveying norms and values that govern performance. If so, then issues of employee "fit" with the culture will become more important.
The relationship between employer and employee has both formal, written characteristics and informal aspects. It shapes the expectations of employees and their attitudes and behavior toward their work. Virtually all jobs are complex enough that it is impossible to specify in advance all of the duties and performance levels that are required. Consequently, it is difficult to govern them through explicit, legal contracts. The unique problems and situations that inevitably pop up in most workplaces can only be