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Flexible employment with Chinese characteristics : a retail sector case study

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Abstract

This paper, based on in-depth ethnographic research conducted in a foreign invested retail firm in China, indicates that the core-periphery model of ‘flexible work’ is insufficient to capture the complexity of employment arrangements in this context. Instead, we present a quadrilateral relationship with overlapping and often
competing interests. The co-existence of two employment systems has implications for employee commitment and performance and, in turn, customer service and management.