Enhancing the extent to which a company is able to adjust the deployment of human and financial resources to the constantly changing requirements made by the environment and starting from the different production processes.
In the commercial world, developments in the market, such as globalization, economic integration, the removal of trade barriers and the consolidation of competitiveness have induced firms to raise the pressure on flexible labour relations in order to lower costs. In the case of labour resources, a modern flexible firm may have: 1. A core group of workers sufficient for the basic range of tasks and production needs and usually with a high level of "generic" technical knowledge combined with social skills (team work) and problem-capacity (providing functional flexibility); 2. Backed by groups of workers, from both inside and outside the firm, that are flexibly employable (providing numerical flexibility) to meet production fluctuations; and 3. A variety of workers and services it calls on for specific partial tasks, such as outworkers, self-employed workers, short-term contract staff, agency temporaries and sub-contractors. In this way the firm reduces investment costs, shoulders the fluctuations of its own production on firms and workers in the "supplier economy" outside the firm and avoids overhead costs related to normal employment. It can also skirt round the stipulations of the collective labour legislation and reduce trade union influence in the firm.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.