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Impacts of Decentralisation – Erosion or Renewal? The Decisive Link between Workplace Representation and Company Size in German and Danish Industrial Relations

Author

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  • Anna Ilsøe
  • Jørgen Steen Madsen
  • Jesper Due

Abstract

In recent decades Germany and Denmark have constituted survival areas for the classical IR system in an era that has otherwise largely been characterised by the deregulation and disorganisation of industrial relations. From the mid-1990s onwards, however, it has to varying degrees been possible to observe erosive tendencies in these hitherto sturdy fortresses of “organ-ised decentralisation”. It is the main thesis of this article that the dualistic German system makes it more difficult for the German parties to adapt the bargaining system so that their overall coor-dination can be preserved even though the required decentralisation is introduced. This thesis is investigated through an extensive comparison of the drivers, contexts and outcomes of decen-tralisation in Danish and German industry over the last 10-15 years. The article concludes that the single-channel representation system and the more homogeneous composition of company sizes in Denmark are core explanations why Denmark exhibits fewer erosive trends than Germany and more signs of renewal in the development towards multi-level regulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Ilsøe & Jørgen Steen Madsen & Jesper Due, 2007. "Impacts of Decentralisation – Erosion or Renewal? The Decisive Link between Workplace Representation and Company Size in German and Danish Industrial Relations," Industrielle Beziehungen - Zeitschrift fuer Arbeit, Organisation und Management - The German Journal of Industrial Relations, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 14(3), pages 201-222.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:indbez:doi_10.1688/1862-0035_indb_2007_03_ilsoe
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    Keywords

    Danish and German Industrial Relations; Workplace Representation; Company Size; Decentralisation of Collective Bargaining; Multi-level Regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J82 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Labor Force Composition
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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