This article explores why some dismissed workers adapt successfully to the changing structure of an economy, while others remain trapped in low-quality jobs and experience deskilling. The associated case study relies on in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 50 former employees of four bankrupt radio-electronics factories in Lithuania. It is found that workers with ‘inherited’ skills that are deep and technical are able to enter high-quality jobs when new firms emerge, recombining the physical, financial and human assets of destitute factories for new productive uses. However, if such economic opportunities are scarce, workers with inherited broad skill sets are relatively more successful in transitioning to services from manufacturing. Further, in line with the literature of the sociology of work, women and older workers are found to face more acute challenges in adapting to the economic shock associated with dismissal.
- human capital
- transitional economies
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Economics and Econometrics
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management