12 The employment relationship has not been the subject of a significant study in the theories of the contractual economy of the undertaking. In this respect, Williamson`s early works are an exception (the role of the employment relationship became less important when he decided, in the 1980s to 1990s, to give more importance to “contractors”). In his 1975 and 1985 books, Williamson`s analysis of the employment relationship is clearly linked to the idea of the collectively organized enterprise. In “Markets and Hierarchies: Analysis and Anti-Trust Implications”, he defined the enterprise as a collective organization distinct (by nature) from the market and characterized by an employer (who has authority), a workforce and a productive activity. When working for a company, a worker accepts a whole system of rules with which he does not necessarily agree, because these rules are not negotiated bilaterally (i.e. between an employer and an employee). On the contrary, those rules are provided by the collective nature of the undertaking. Indeed, these rules derive from the internal labour market (cf. Doeringer and Piore, 1971). This market is at the heart of the employment relationship.
In addition, Williamson gives a fundamental role to trade unions by arguing that internal labour market agreements are concluded through collective bargaining and by arguing that trade unions are more effective as intermediaries in the settlement of disputes (see below), and this argument reinforces the collective dimension of the enterprise. 11 This is clearly the definition of the employment relationship proposed by Coase in its 1937 article. 57 In those circumstances, none of the theories presented in that text offers a framework corresponding to the modern transformations that companies and the employment relationship have undergon over the last thirty years, more specifically the dissolution of large vertically integrated companies and the development of new de facto hierarchies in the network enterprise (cf. Chassagnon 2011). Two normative developments could be envisaged with a view to a reform of labour law. On the one hand, the relevant level of negotiation is no longer that of the company, but that of the entire production chains and networks as such and that of the territories. On the other hand, in line with this first innovative argument, we should consider the distribution of responsibilities and power within business networks as real social and economic entities (see Chassagnon 2012). The latter give those who control them the possibility of exercising de facto economic power by externizing their responsibilities to other companies and thus to other workers. In summary, the contractual approaches developed in this article are not “ready” to meet the legal challenges posed by new forms of business organizations in the modern global economy. 12 It should be noted that that measure does not entail dismissals of employment or compensation contracts.
The United States is the only industrialized country to have such a rule. There is no standard employment contract. The conditions and provisions vary considerably depending on the type of activity of the company, the internal policies of the company and the position offered. For example, an employment contract for an executive will likely be much broader than an agreement for an entry-level position. Depending on your position, the list of responsibilities in your employment contract may vary depending on the specificity, but should be clear enough to know whether you fulfill them or not. One of the quickest ways to wobble in a new job is to misinterpret what management expects of you. . . .