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Understanding the present and future of work in the fissured workplace context

The fissuring of business structures fundamentally changes the nature of employment and work in industries and the economy as a whole. This article describes the core elements comprising fissuring, distinguishes them from the narrower concepts of contingent work and alternative work arrangements, and provides an estimate of its size. Work restructuring arising from fissuring alters wage determination inside and outside firms affected by it and provides an alternative explanation for a growing empirical literature on earnings inequality. The fissured workplace perspective requires different policies for the workplace and labor market than traditional approaches including those regarding worker rights and protections, employment responses to the business cycle, workforce education and training, and job and career mobility.