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Understanding the Effects of Works Councils on Organizational Performance. A Theoretical Model and Results from Initial Case Studies from the Netherlands

Listed author(s):
  • Jan Ekke Wigboldus


    (SBI training/consultancy)

  • Jan Kees Looise


    (University of Twente, School of Management and Governance)

  • Andr\351 Nijhof


    (Nyenrode Business Universiteit, European Institute for Business Ethics)

Registered author(s):

    In this article, we present a conceptual model to understand the effects of works councils on organizational performance. The model is based on economic and HRM literature on employee participation and organizational performance, as well as on German and Dutch research into the economic and other effects of works councils. The model has been operationalized through a research approach and applied for the first time using in-depth case studies in a large insurance company in the Netherlands. In this paper we present the results of these case studies and the consequences for the model and the research approach. The findings show that works councils not only affect performance through changing employee attitudes and behavior \u2013 in a not dissimilar way to HRM \u2013 but also in a direct way by adding asymmetric information to the decision-making process and in an indirect way through influencing management attitudes and behavior. Thus the works council - performance relationship differs substantially from the HRM - performance relationship. The influence of the three potential mechanisms will depend to an extent on the characteristics of the works council and the organizational context. Further research is needed to determine how contextual conditions influence the positive effects of works councils on organizational performance.

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    Article provided by Rainer Hampp Verlag in its journal Management Revue - The international Review of Management Studies.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 307-323

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    Handle: RePEc:rai:mamere:doi_10.1688/1861-9908_mrev_2008_4_wigboldus
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    Order Information: Postal: Rainer Hampp Verlag, Journals, Vorderer Lech 35, 86150 Augsburg, Germany. A subscripton is required to access pdf files. Pay per article is available at
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