Since the early 1990s, corporate restructuring has increasingly been characterized by a concentration on ‘core’ activities at original company locations and the outsourcing of a range of business functions to external companies. These processes have resulted in the decomposition of sectors, companies, workplaces and jobs, with far-reaching consequences for employment levels, job security, job quality and work organization; they have also contributed to labour market segmentation (Marchington et al., 2005). Over time, governance and power relations within value chains have grown increasingly complex (Huws, 2006). Although most subcontractors and suppliers are small and medium-sized companies in a dependent position vis-à-vis the main contractors, large-scale, global service providers and suppliers who are able to negotiate the terms of their contracts with client companies have also emerged (Flecker et al., 2007).