Project Information

Monitoring Innovative Restructuring in Europe

Aim of the project

The restructuring of European companies is part of a permanent cycle of organizationalchange. European countries have developed various national frameworks, instrumentsand tools to improve the management of restructuring and prevent the negativesocial consequences of for the society and workforces. Innovative examples are,however, not well known across national boundaries.

The project "MIRE - Monitoring Innovative Restructuring in Europe"refered to this situation in Europe and aimed at the national and internationalexchange of knowledge in order to identify and discuss innovative processes,examples and opportunities for their dissemination and application in othersettings and countries.

Each of the participating countries (France, Belgium, United Kingdom, Swedenand Germany) build up a national expert network which met internationally todiscuss ideas, compare different national frameworks regarding restructuringand thus learn from one another. One question to be answered was how the socialactors (unions, work councils, other stakeholders etc) conceive of, conductand evaluate innovative restructuring programs in different countries.


Best practices examples of innovative restructuring were selected in each country.These best practice examples were then examined in form of qualitative casestudies.
The case studies focused on the following:

  • What is the innovative element in this restructuring case (i.e. prerestructuringplanning, preventive measures to avoid redundancies, transfer of employees,continuous professional development and training)?
  • To what extent is a new restructuring approach innovative given the nationalframework and common restructuring techniques?
  • Which instruments and methods were used to moderate the negative socialconsequences?
  • To what extent will it be possible to apply these innovative approachesat a national as well as international level?
  • What sort of recommendations and guidelines can be made based on thesebest practice examples?

The national exchange between experts of the network took place at workshopsthroughout the project. It was at these workshop that the experts discuss casestudies and innovative restructuring approaches according to their own socialactor perspective.

The workshop schedule also included three workshops open to international expertsfrom other participating countries. In addition to the discussion of innovativeapproaches and national frameworks, these workshops also included visits toorganizations (where possible) and discussion with national experts.

The results from the expert network groups and the case studies were summarizedand presented at two international conferences. It was the aim of these conferencesto discuss specific cases from an international perspective, to put forwardrecommendations for the European level, as well as to develop a lasting approachtowards fostering continued reciprocal learning between countries.


Knuth, Matthias, 2008: Supporting job transitions: employers, worker representatives and agencies. In: Bernard Gazier und Frédéric Bruggeman: Restructuring work and employment in Europe: managing change in an era of globalisation, pp. 239–262

Knuth, Matthias / Mühge, Gernot, 2008: Germany: negotiated restructuring. In: Bernard Gazier und Frédéric Bruggeman: Restructuring work and employment in Europe: managing change in an era of globalisation, pp. 120–140

Backes, Siegfried / Knuth, Matthias, 2006: Entwicklungslinien des Beschäftigtentransfers. In: Siegfried Backes: Transfergesellschaften: Grundlagen, Instrumente, Praxis, S. 11–48

Project data

Term of the project:
01.02.2005 - 31.03.2007

Reseach department:
Trends in Employment

Project management:
Prof. Dr. Matthias Knuth

Project team:
Gernot Mühge

EU DG Employment and Social Affairs