Research on Internal Labor Markets (ILMs) has had enormous influence on social sciences
since the seminal work by Peter Doeringer and Michael Piore, thirty years ago. This
article discusses the past and current contribution of the ILM concept to the development
of labor economics, organization theory and human resource management and argues
that research on ILMs remains important, despite the changes occurred in the economy.
Therefore, a renovated effort of theoretical and field studies is required and desirable
in order to reach a better understanding of the efficiency and equity issues the
knowledge economy poses to the employment relation. In fact, the emergence of a ``new
employment contract'', characterized by less sticky a relation between employer and
employees asks for a major re-conceptualization of ILMs that cannot be limited to
a diverse, more detailed classification, or to an update of their possible variants.
Such re-conceptualization could be linked with the ``new organizational forms literature'',
i.e. with that body of research that models organizations as hybrids or networks.