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Tillidsrepræsentantsystemet og de fleksible virksomhedsformer


  • Reinhard Lund


This paper deals with the role of the Danish shop steward system at five manufacturing firms which have introduced more flexible management systems during 1993-95. The firms have been part of the DISKO survey which covered 1900 Danish private firms (http: // www. business .auc. dk/ ike/ disko/). The analysis is based upon the survey as well as follow-up interviews with managers and shop stewards. In focus are questions about the shop stewards’ contribution to organisational development, agreement and disagreement between management and employees and their shop stewards regarding flexibility measures, and the shop stewards’ capability of taking care of the employees’ interests. The main results show that the shop stewards support the management regarding organisational development based upon the stewards’ detailed knowledge of their colleagues’ qualifications and attitudes and so the stewards help changes to start where the potential is present. Parallel to these activities the shop steward is an advocate of broad vocational training measures directed towards change itself as well as relevant tasks and the use of training methods which are accepted by the employees. The shop stewards’ activities are based upon an extensive agreement among the management, employees and shop stewards regarding cooperation at the workplace. Nevertheless, at certain points four of the five firms had experienced confrontations because of management’s initiatives directed towards more flexibility. These confrontations included the change towards wages by results and qualifications, because of disagreements on criteria and the extent of wage differentiation. Other points comprised job demarcations and reductions of the work force. In such cases the shop stewards tried to find solutions which secured a balance which could be accepted of the colleagues as well as the management, but also outright stop of further changes of job demarcations were part of the stewards’ actions. At the end of the paper these results are the basis for an evaluation of the strong and weak points of the shop steward system with regard to organisational change towards more flexible firms and they are compared with the results of two other Danish investigations and a european project on direct employee participation.

Suggested Citation

  • Reinhard Lund, 1999. "Tillidsrepræsentantsystemet og de fleksible virksomhedsformer," DRUID Working Papers 99-8, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:99-8

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    More about this item


    Shop stewards; employee representatives; flexibility; human resource management;

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General


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