Céreq at the start of a series of European Research Projects on the Capability Approach

Over the last decade, through its participation in various European FP6 and 7 projects (Capright, workAble, SocIEtY), Céreq has been exploring the capability approach developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaumand implementing it in the field of work and continuing vocational training. In this way, Sen’s capability approach has gradually been extended to the study of work and employment.

First adopted in this area as a yardstick against which to assess European labour market policies (Salais and Villeneuve, 2004; Formation Emploi, 2007), it has subsequently proved a robust tool for studying flexicurity and activation policies (Bonvin and Orton, 2009; Verd and Vero, 2011), new public management indicators (Salais, 2006; Vero et al., 2012) and corporate policies (Zimmermann, 2004, 2011; Abbateccola et al., 2012).

  • To what extent do workers actually gain access to those capabilities (understood as freedom of choice and the power to achieve) they require in order to  take control of their own lives?
  • What role do companies play in these matters, i.e. in the promotion of workers’ employability, career and professional development?

These are the type of questions Josiane Vero, researcher at Céreq, has been addressing in her latest research, undertaken with Bénédicte Zimmermann (Ehess,-Wiko) and focusing mainly on France but also on Europe as a whole.

1-3 september 2016

“Capability and Diversity in a Global Society”

The theme of the HDCA Capacity Conference, in Japan, on 1 and 3 september, was this year, "Diversity". The session attended by Josiane Vero, a researcher at Céreq, was the following: « Individuals’ Capabilities and Vocational Training within Firms: International Comparison on Communication tools, Voice and Participation Scheme ». A core question was then: Under what conditions does corporate training contribute to develop individual capabilities? How is continuing training dealt with at the company level and what scope of choice and means of achievement is associated with it? What are the processes and tools at stake?
This necessitates investigating the processes that govern information, access, choice, implementation as well as outcomes in training matters. Such processes involve communication tools, voice, participation schemes and institutional arrangements. What place do these tools and processes reserve to the expression of different training values, how do they deal with conflicting values? In order to handle these questions, contributions from France, Japan and New Zeland developed multi-level approaches bridging individuals and organizations.



25-31 October 2015

An opportunity to develop new international projects with EHESS, Wiko and Hitotsubashi University


Josiane Vero (Céreq) and Benedicte Zimmermann (EHESS-Wiko ) had the privilege last October of being invited by Professor Ryo Kambayashi to visit the Institute of Economics at the University of Hitotsubashi (25-31 October 2015). Their stay was an enriching experience in several respects and provided opportunities for fruitful encounters with Japanese colleagues and stimulating visits of discovery to Japanese continuing vocational-training centres, as well as for establishing a promising starting point for the development of joint projects. The aim of the stay was to enter into discussion with Japanese colleagues interested in the capability approach and continuing vocational training issues.

Beyond that, its purpose was also to identify possible areas of comparison between Japan, France and Germany, taking into account institutional frameworks and  schemes of public action as well as company policies on training matters.
Another key activity of the week was the preparation of the forthcoming annual conference for the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) that will be held in Tokyo and hosted by Hitotsubashi University from 31 August to 3 September 2016 (https://hd-ca.org/).

With Professor Reiko Gotoh,chair of the 2016 HDCA Conference, the issue at stake was not only to promote and ensure greater visibility for research on capabilities and continuing vocational training but also to strengthen the relationship between our respective research institutions in France, Germany and Japan.


Two occasions that will strengthen the relationship between France, Germany and Japan

To that end, we plan jointly to organize a panel on capabilities, work and training issues at the next HDCA Conference (https://hd-ca.org/). Entitled “Individuals’ Capabilities and Vocational Training within Firms: an International Comparison of Communication Tools, Voice, and Participation Schemes, this panel will bring together leading researchers from different parts of the world.
In opposition to the widespread tendency to consider the ultimate aim of corporate training from the perspective of employee efficiency and adaptability in the service of company competitiveness, the capability approach raises the issue of the different values that may be associated with corporate training, not only by employers but also by workers (professionalization, career development, wage increases, personal development, improvement of working conditions, work-life balance) and the more or less conflictual relationship between them. Hence the broader purpose of this panel is to examine economic development through the capability lens, taking corporate training as a case in point of a socio-economic nexus in which different ends and values intermingle.

With the same aims in mind, the first international workshop jointly organized by the Wissenschaftskolleg, the CNRS and the EHESS will be held in April 21-22 2016 in Berlin (http://www.wiko-berlin.de/veranstaltungen/workshops/workshops-20152016/capability-and-pragmatism-between-social-sciences-and-social-philosophy/home/). This event will be devoted to examining the contribution of pragmatism to capability studies from both a philosophical and social science perspective.
Josiane Vero will present a paper entitled ‘Beyond Empowerment: How French Corporate Policies Matter for Worker’s Capabilities’  that draws on her research, based on data from the second French linked employer-employee survey on vocational training DIFES2,  into the use of individual and situational characteristics as a means of gaining a better understanding of worker’s capabilities in French firms.


Contact (Céreq): Josiane Vero

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