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The Same Yet Different: Worker Reports on Labour Practices and Outcomes in a Single Firm Across Countries


  • Richard B. Freeman
  • Douglas Kruse
  • Joseph Blasi


This paper examines cross-country differences in labour policies and practices and employee performance and attitudes toward work from a sample of nearly 30,000 employees in a large multinational manufacturing firm. The analysis shows: 1) large establishment and country differences in work practices, performance, and attitudes toward work across countries; 2) qualitatively similar responses of workers to work practices across countries; 3) a strong link between the establishment average of employee reports on the quality of labour-management relations and establishment average measures of employee performance 4) a positive relation between average employee performance and average employee-management relations at the country level, but no relation between country level performance in the firm and measures of the extent of national labour regulations or practices.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard B. Freeman & Douglas Kruse & Joseph Blasi, 2007. "The Same Yet Different: Worker Reports on Labour Practices and Outcomes in a Single Firm Across Countries," NBER Working Papers 13233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13233
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sewin Chan & Ann Huff Stevens, 2008. "What You Don't Know Can't Help You: Pension Knowledge and Retirement Decision-Making," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 253-266, May.
    2. Paul Osterman, 1994. "How Common is Workplace Transformation and Who Adopts it?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 173-188, January.
    3. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    4. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. John S. Heywood & Uwe Jirjahn, 2014. "Variable Pay, Industrial Relations and Foreign Ownership: Evidence from Germany," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 52(3), pages 521-552, September.
    2. Jirjahn, Uwe, 2017. "Foreign Ownership and Intra-Firm Union Density in Germany," GLO Discussion Paper Series 149, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    3. Edmans, Alex & Li, Lucius & Zhang, Chendi, 2014. "Employee Satisfaction, Labor Market Flexibility, and Stock Returns Around The World," CEPR Discussion Papers 10066, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Richard B. Freeman, 2008. "When Workers Share in Profits: Effort and Responses to Shirking," 'Angelo Costa' Lectures Serie, SIPI Spa, issue Lect. IX.
    5. Uwe Jirjahn & Steffen Mueller, 2014. "Non-union worker representation, foreign owners, and the performance of establishments," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 140-163, January.
    6. Dur, Robert & Non, Arjan & Roelfsema, Hein, 2010. "Reciprocity and incentive pay in the workplace," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 676-686, August.
    7. Heywood, John S. & Siebert, W. Stanley & Wei, Xiangdong, 2009. "Job Satisfaction and the Labor Market Institutions in Urban China," IZA Discussion Papers 4254, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Wang, Huashu & Pan, Lei & Heerink, Nico, 2013. "Working Conditions and Job Satisfaction of China's New Generation of Migrant Workers: Evidence from an Inland City," IZA Discussion Papers 7405, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Zhiming Cheng, 2014. "The Effects of Employee Involvement and Participation on Subjective Wellbeing: Evidence from Urban China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(2), pages 457-483, September.
    10. Mariya Aleksynska & Sandrine Cazes, 2016. "Composite indicators of labour market regulations in a comparative perspective," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-33, December.

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    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General

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