Internationalization, outsourcing and labour fragmentation. The case of FIAT

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2019)


Fiat, fragmentation, internationalization


Internationalization, outsourcing and labour fragmentation. The case of FIAT

Giovanni Balcet and Grazia Ietto-Gillies

Companies’ strategies of domestic and international location of production and of externalization/outsourcing are linked to their effects on labour fragmentation and, in general, to strategies towards labour. The paper starts with a theoretical analysis on the strategies of transnational companies and their impact on labour. An application to the FIAT company follows. After a brief history of the company and of the Italian industrial relations system, the paper concentrates on four post-WWII periods: 1950-1968; 1969-1980; 1981- 2003; and 2004-2016. In each period the above key strategies are highlighted and considered in relation to industrial relations in the same period. Other strategies are mentioned as appropriate. The analysis of each period focuses on the linkages between the three sets of strategies in a multidisciplinary context. The methodology centres on a detailed analysis of a historical case and on the interplay of strategic behaviour by both the company and labour. In terms of empirical material we use a variety of historical and multidisciplinary secondary sources; data from FIAT’s historical archives; and a series of informal interviews with FIAT experts. We conclude that there is historical evidence of a pattern of strategic moves and countermoves by both FIAT and its labour force and Trade Unions, with effects on labour fragmentation and labour relations.

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