- Said increasingly to characterize the industrial firms and economies of the post-industrial world, it assumes two forms. Functional flexibility (or post-fordism) means the adaptation of work organization, skills, and machinery, so as to cope with the constantly changing market and technological environment of the global economy of the late twentieth century. So-called flexible firms are also said to adopt numerical flexibility, using non-standard forms of employment to allow rapid changes in labour recruitment and discharge, in the face of product-market fluctuations. Only equivocal empirical evidence exists of flexible employment growth; likewise, that it is due to long-term change, rather than relatively short-term cyclical influences. See also fordism.
Dictionary of sociology. 2013.
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