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Functional Changes in the Trade Unions. From Intermediary to Fractal Organization?

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  • Klaus Doerre
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    Abstract

    This contribution deals with developments in German Trade Unionism since the world economic crisis of 2008/09. Internationally, the crisis management of the German metalworker’s union IG Metall is held in high esteem and regarded as a role model. It seems as if social integrative corporatism has emerged triumphant from the crisis. However, appearances are deceptive. It is argued here that we are once again witnessing a functional change in trade unionism. Corporatism is acquiring a new meaning; it must not be equated with corporatism in the era of prosperous post-war capitalism. In societies marked by divided labour markets and expanding precariousness, corporatism generates different outcomes. Trade Unions run the risk of degenerating into mere representatives of pressure groups, aligning themselves with factions of the political and economic élite in order to further special interests. The concept of trade unions as intermediary organisations is no longer sufficient to explain this functional change.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Rainer Hampp Verlag in its journal International Journal of Action Research.

    Volume (Year): 7 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 8-48

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    Handle: RePEc:rai:ijares:doi_10.1688/1861-9916_ijar_2011_01_doerre

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    Keywords: Germany; trade unions; trade union functions; corporatism; crisis;

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