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Anticipating Plant Closures in the U.S. Context: The Role of Voluntary and Mandated Information Disclosure and Advance Notification

(http://faculty.washington.edu/krumme/papers/warnabs.html)

GŁnter Krumme
Department of Geography,
University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA


Abstract. Recent discussions of the pros and cons of advance information in the context of the 1988 Plant Closing Bill ("Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act" [WARN Act]) have drawn attention to important information asymmetries in economic and social relations involving not only employers and employees but also other "stakeholder" and whole communities. This paper places the often rather narrowly defined issue addressed by the WARN Act into a larger Information and adjustment framework for the assessment of corporate secrecy and disclosure strategies in the local employment context.

Flexibility needs are cited as a prime basis for employers' animosity towards advance notices. Yet, alternative means of improving job security for individuals and communities may also impair flexibilities. Stakeholders' need for specific notification is affected by their ability or inability to monitor general corporate and industry developments and thereby anticipate and prepare for consequential events such as plant closures. After first developing some broad corporate and stakeholder information perspectives, a propagation model is presented which attempts to articulate important linkages between complex and turbulent corporate environments and the corporate retrenchment and plant closure context faced by local stakeholders.


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