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Ungewissheit als Grenze von Interessenbargaining in industriellen Beziehungen (How Uncertainty Acts as a Boundary to Interest Bargaining in Industrial Relations)

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  • Martin Schroeder

Abstract

Die Literatur ueber betriebliche Buendnisse und Konzessionsverhandlungen setzt voraus, dass Geschaeftsleitungen wissen, wie sie ihre Interessen verfolgen koennen und dazu Zugestaendnisse von Arbeitnehmervertretern verlangen. Wirtschaftliche Entscheidungen finden jedoch unter Ungewissheit statt: Eine Geschaeftsleitung weiss beispielsweise nicht, ob sich eine Verlagerungsandrohung als wirtschaftlich rational erweisen wird. Ob Arbeitnehmervertreter sich gegenueber einer Verlagerung zu Konzessionen bereit erklaeren, haengt somit nicht direkt von objektiven Wirtschaftsdaten oder Machtverhaeltnissen ab, sondern von deren Interpretation. Wie eine Situation interpretiert wird, haengt wiederum davon ab, welche wirtschaftlichen, aber auch anderen, Argumente die Verhandlungspartner als angemessen anerkennen. Anders als oft impliziert, findet darum nicht nur ein „bargaining“ zwischen dem statt, wovon die Geschaeftsleitung weiss, dass es ihr Interesse maximiert und dem, wovon die Arbeitnehmervertreter wissen, dass es ihr Interesse maximiert. Thema der Verhandlungen ist auch, was ueberhaupt als interessenfoerderlich zu gelten hat. Am Beispiel von zwei Unternehmen veranschaulicht dieser Artikel dies, in dem er zeigt, wie zwei Geschaeftsleitungen eine aehnliche wirtschaftliche Entscheidung einmal als rational und einmal als irrational konstruierten. (The literature about concession bargaining implies that the management of a company knows how to pursue its interests optimally and that it demands corresponding concessions from labor representatives. However, economic decisions are made under conditions of uncertainty. Management cannot usually calculate how optimally to pursue its interests: it is impossible to calculate whether a relocation will be successful, to cite a well-documented example. Whether one side or the other makes concessions is therefore not a question of objective economic data or power relations, but of their interpretation. How a situation is interpreted in turn depends on what arguments are accepted as appropriate. In contrast to the conventional assumptions in the literature, I stress that rather than simply bargaining about well-defined and fixed interests, management and labor also discuss and redefine what they consider to be in their own and their opponents’ interest. To illustrate this point I cite two companies that chose opposite strategies under similar economic circumstances and justified their actions in each case as being economically rational.)

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Schroeder, 2010. "Ungewissheit als Grenze von Interessenbargaining in industriellen Beziehungen (How Uncertainty Acts as a Boundary to Interest Bargaining in Industrial Relations)," Industrielle Beziehungen - Zeitschrift fuer Arbeit, Organisation und Management - The German Journal of Industrial Relations, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 17(3), pages 261-283.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:indbez:doi_10.1688/1862-0035_indb_2010_03_schroeder
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    Keywords

    uncertainty; relocation; offshoring; moral arguments; concession bargaining;

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • 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

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