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The Marco Biagi Foundation is active in national and international research in
labour and employment relations with its own research team and with the
support of the academic staff of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. To
this end it sets up partnerships with companies and institutions, takes part in the
European and national calls for proposals, and carries out the planning,
coordination and management of research projects.


One of the main aims of the Foundation is to bring higher education closer to the
world of work and business by providing access to the academic skills within the
university as well as serving as a meeting point between culture and university
research, promoting the needs of business and society.


> Find out our research team


Collective bargaining

This research strand is dedicated to the investigation of collective bargaining dynamics, in terms of institutional structures and contents, at national, transnational and comparative levels. Particular attention is paid to the development of interdisciplinary methods of analysis, the evaluation of collective agreements and the role of decentralized bargaining in legal, organizational and economic terms.


  • Mapping of collective bargaining: actors, relationships between levels, evolution of provisions, effectiveness and applicability;
  • Methods for analyzing collective agreements;
  • The application of collective agreements, interpretation and benchmarking;
  • Functions and dynamics of decentralized bargaining;
  • Collective bargaining, corporate welfare and bilateral bodies;
  • Collective bargaining and the transformation of work;
  • Collective bargaining and public policies: design and evaluation.
Work and business

The research strand investigates the dynamics of business and work by means of multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary analytical tools, with the aim of developing an integrated vision to be applied to research into phenomena requiring in-depth study, including emerging phenomena, as well as the design and evaluation of public policies.


  • Value chains, supply chains, vertical and horizontal integration, mechanisms of coordination between companies: legal institutions, models and organizational structures.
  • Private procurement, posting, subcontracting, industrial clusters, network contracts.
  • Typical and atypical employment contracts, working hours, wages, function and place of work, subordination and self-employment.
  • Management of production fluctuations, crises and business restructuring.
  • Staff turnover, vacancies, migratory flows and unemployment.
  • Quality of work, sustainability, good practices and voluntary certification.
  • Labour policies and public policies, design and evaluation, regulation, social insurance, social safety net measures, flexicurity.
Performance management

This research strand is dedicated to the study of the characteristics and development of systems and practices of work performance (performance management) evaluation used by companies adopting an interdisciplinary approach with a view to understanding the digital transformation of work and organization at different levels of analysis. It includes organizational design, the spatial and temporal configuration of work performance, trends in ways of working and work management in organizations going through digital transformation.


  • Performance management: characteristics, purpose, function and evaluation of good practices.
  • Performance appraisal, pay dynamics and gender impact.
  • Performance management and work-related stress.
  • Performance appraisal / management and innovation at work.
  • Perceived equity of performance management systems.
  • Performance management and managerial / leadership action.
  • Performance management and human resources development.
  • Role of the collective dimension in the evaluation and management of work performance.
Transnational Industrial Relations

The research strand is dedicated to the study of industrial relations as a regulatory method and the shared governance of labour relations. In particular, the analysis focuses on the effects of the supranational integration of legal systems (European Union, Council of Europe) on national industrial relations systems, the role of multinationals as autonomous centres for the governance of labour relations, and the comparison between national systems in connection with the transnational mobility of the enterprise.


  • Industrial relations instruments and practices (collective bargaining, information and consultation, industrial action) as fundamental workers' rights: the European Convention on Human Rights and Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.
  • Employers’ representation bodies, functioning and provisions of collective bargaining, employee participation in European and non-European countries.
  • The European regulation of information, consultation, participation and workers’ rights and implementation in the Member States: European Works Councils, European public limited liability companies (Societas Europaea or SE), transnational mergers.
  • Industrial relations and transnational enterprise: European and global framework agreements.
Health and safety at work

The research strand deals with health and safety in the workplace in relation to work organization within and across organizational boundaries, and in relation to the tools of protection of regulations, with particular attention to emerging risks and organizational structures, such as work-related stress and contract work, as well as their impact on the insurance system. The research strand is developed through research and intervention/research projects in collaboration with private and public companies of all sizes and aimed at the joint planning, monitoring and evaluation of preventive measures.


Health and safety at work: organizational choices that give rise to health and safety risks (physical, social and mental well-being), also in light of the digital transformation of work in various sectors of the economy.

  • Evaluation of work processes with a view to dealing with risks relating to work-related stress and improving organizational effectiveness, using interdisciplinary approaches, qualitative and quantitative techniques of objective and subjective data analysis, participatory approaches to the prevention of risks at their origin, the identification and maintenance over time of a personalized programme of organizational measures for primary prevention as required by legal provisions.
  • Specific risks of contract workers: theoretical conceptualization and modelling, methods of empirical and experimental analysis of health and safety in tenders, contract work and accidents, contract work and occupational diseases, risk assessment, design and evaluation of preventive measures in contracting companies, assessment of the differential impact of occupational health and safety policies on contract workers.
  • Risk assessment, design and evaluation of preventive measures for health and safety at work.
  • Occupational health and safety systems, accident and occupational disease insurance, design and assessment of occupational health and safety policies.
The digital transformation of employment

This research strand uses interdisciplinary tools to cast light on how the major technological transformations of recent years - in particular Industry 4.0 and the advent of "digital platforms" - have changed the scenarios of work organization, giving rise to new problems and the need for the regulation of the platform economy and worker protection.



  • Management of human resources, digital technologies for organizing and monitoring work performance and management prerogative.
  • Classification of employment relations, algorithms and protection of workers (confidentiality, non-discrimination).
  • Workplace safety, risk prevention and social security provisions in the digital economy.
  • Digital transformation of the enterprise and management of employment dynamics.
  • The impact of the digital transformation on the identity and representation of employment and industrial relations.
Company-level welfare

This research strand examines contractual and organizational measures aimed at improving worker well-being and protection against social risks. Particular attention is paid to work-life balance policies in connection with company productivity incentive programmes.


  • Company-level welfare and labour regulation models, including worker well-being, efficiency and freedom of choice.
  • Analysis of the connections between company-level welfare and flexibility at work: flexitime, leave, smart working.
  • Fiscal discipline of company-level welfare: allocation of assets, personal services and incentives for business productivity.
  • The role and provisions of collective bargaining (also in a comparative perspective) in terms of welfare and labour productivity.
  • Comparison of company-level welfare models and evaluation of good practices.


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Industry 4.0

4th international workshop of the project iRel. Smarter Industrial Relations to Address New Technological Challenges in the World of Work | Webinar on 22 april 2021, 9.30 am (via Zoom)

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