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Vertrauen als Legitimation fuer die Betriebsratsarbeit (Trust as a Source of Legitimacy for Works Councils)


  • Ursula Rami
  • Andreas Hunger


In vielen Betrieben nimmt man eine Verschiebung der Betriebsratsfunktion von der konventionellen Interessenvertretung (‘Schutz’) hin zu einem Co-Management (‘Gestaltung’) wahr. Die Frage der Legitimation bleibt dabei weiterhin aktuell. Neben periodischen Wahlen kann durch die Miteinbeziehung des (Waehler-)Vertrauens eine kontinuierliche Legitimation erfasst werden. Vertrauen kommt innerhalb der Beziehungen zwischen Betriebsrat und Belegschaft eine wesentliche Stabilisierungsfunktion zu. Diese Sicht wurde in bisherigen Betriebsratsstudien nur wenig beruecksichtigt. Unter Miteinbeziehung mehrerer Vertrauenstheorien wurde eine quantitative Studie konzipiert. Durch ein theoretisches Sampling wurden zwei Tochterbetriebe der Voestalpine AG fuer eine Befragung ausgewaehlt. Neben der Unternehmensgeschichte, der Unternehmensbranche, der Unternehmenskultur und betriebsspezifischen Gegebenheiten seitens der Betriebsratsgremien nimmt der Aspekt des Vertrauens in den Betriebsrat einen wesentlichen Einfluss auf die Wahrnehmung der Betriebsratsarbeit. Dieses Vertrauen bedarf der Transparenz und der Praesenz des Betriebsrats. Wissenschaftlich gesehen bewaehrt sich der Begriff ‘Vertrauen’ als zentrales theoretisches Konzept bei Betriebsratsthemen, wenngleich er naeher an die alltagsweltlichen Bedeutungsfelder herangefuehrt werden sollte. (In many companies there has been a noticeable shift in the function of works councils from more conventional interest representation (‘protection’) towards co-management (‘shaping’). Nevertheless, the question of legitimacy remains an issue. Besides recurrent elections, continuous legitimacy can be created through the trust of the electorate. Trust is important to stabilise the relationship between the works council and employees. However, this need has been downplayed so far in studies of works councils. Partially inspired by different theories of trust, we designed a quantitative study on the subject. Through theoretical sampling we selected two subsidiaries of the Voestalpine AG for the survey. Besides the history of the company, the relevant sector, the entrepreneurial culture and characteristics specific to the workplace, trust in the work council is important to how its work is perceived. This trust requires transparency and the presence of the works council. From a scientific point of view ‘trust’ is confirmed as a pivotal theoretical concept, even though it should be brought closer to its meaning in daily life.)

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  • Ursula Rami & Andreas Hunger, 2011. "Vertrauen als Legitimation fuer die Betriebsratsarbeit (Trust as a Source of Legitimacy for Works Councils)," Industrielle Beziehungen - Zeitschrift fuer Arbeit, Organisation und Management - The German Journal of Industrial Relations, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 18(3), pages 167-189.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:indbez:doi_10.1688/1862-0035_indb_2011_03_rami

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    More about this item


    trust; works councils; legitimacy; co-determination;

    JEL classification:

    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J83 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Workers' Rights
    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
    • P00 - Economic Systems - - General - - - General


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