The companies

The four companies operate in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, UK. All intended to modify the scale of their operations and, thereby alter and enhance employees’ contributions, by expanding into new areas to deal with market pressures, in particular the areas of Leicestershire, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.

Longhurst housing association (referred to as Longhurst):
The Longhurst Group is the parent of a group of companies that provide housing services (Longhurst Housing Association). The houses may be rented for a contracted time or sold. The staff comprises nearly a thousand Human Resource specialists, administrative/clerical staff, electricians, cleaners, builders, plumbers, architects and so on. The interviews were held in Boston where the head office is located.

Eden supported housing (referred to as Eden):
The company provides care and housing services to approximately a hundred and fifty people with learning and other disabilities as well as with health problems in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and parts of Yorkshire. Since its inception, the provision of care services has continued to grow. The company aims to expand by facilitating people living independently. This requires recruiting and training staff with the required skills. Most of the interviews were held in Newark.

Laurens patisserie (referred to as Laurens):
This company is the UK’s largest cake manufacturer. It produces cream cakes for supermarkets such as Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsburys. It also caters for smaller orders for private functions. The company needs to expand and integrate into its new parent company, the Bakkavor Group, with headquarters in Iceland. This Group specialises in freshly prepared foods with an approximate annual turnover of £1.6 billion and over forty factories in China and Europe. The interviews were held in Newark.

Prospects (referred to as Prospects):
The company provides educational support, career advice and counselling services to students in secondary schools. It provides support to community and youth projects, recruitment fairs and school inspection in the public, private and voluntary sectors. The annual turnover has grown since its start in 1995 to £42 million, partly by the acquisition of new businesses and contracts in the East Midlands, for example Connexions. Prospects’ Headquarters are in London, where the interviews were held.