The Taylor Review: a platform for progress?



Thompson P (2019) The Taylor Review: a platform for progress?. New Technology, Work and Employment, 34 (2), pp. 106-110.

First paragraph: This commentary on the Taylor Review focuses less on detailed exposition and critique of policy (see Bales et al., 2018), but rather raises some broader issues around framing, diagnoses and directions. In terms of framing, the Review is couched very much in the mainstream policy discourse of quality of work as measured by the standard indicators that are broadly compatible with the ILO and similar conceptions of fair income, security, voice, equality of opportunity and work–life balance. This is a universalist message of decent work, dignity and development, leading to mutual benefit of individual, firm and society. Such lists, stripped of context can appear naïve, but as we shall see later, they can offer opportunities for intervention by unions and other campaigners. A second theme of a balance of flexibilities in the labour market is more contentious. Taylor makes frequent reference to the supposed successes of the ‘dynamic’ labour market, talking of ‘the British way’. Given that Matthew Taylor himself was a policy architect of New Labour's latter years, this interpretation is unsurprising, but look beyond this standard formulation and you find a more critical strand that identifies lack of reciprocity for a growing number of workers. This ‘one‐sided flexibility’ theme is consistent with much employment relations research. Reference is made to issues of transferring risk to and exerting control over labour, though Taylor does not present it as systemic to the ‘British way’, but more like a deviation from it.

Output Type: Review

New Technology, Work and Employment: Volume 34, Issue 2

Publication date31/07/2019
Publication date online11/03/2019
Date accepted by journal11/03/2019
Item discussedGood Work: The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, Matthew Taylor, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, July 2017

People (1)


Professor Paul Thompson
Professor Paul Thompson

Emeritus Professor, Management, Work and Organisation