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Works councils in family businesses in Germany: Why are there so few?

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  • Schlömer-Laufen, Nadine
  • Kay, Rosemarie
  • Holz, Michael

Abstract

Works councils are an inherent part of the German economic and social system. An analysis of the prevalence of works councils in Germany reveals that they are not uniformly distributed across all types of businesses. Works councils occur less frequently in owner-managed businesses - regardless of their size - than in companies run by employed managers. The reasons for this low prevalence are still largely unknown as there has been practically no discussion of this phenomenon in the literature so far. This paper delivers first answers to this question by conducting an exploratory study. Based on a literature analysis and an empirical analysis of a secondary dataset, we found some explanations why works councils are so rarely established in family businesses. These explanations refer to special characteristics of the owner-manager (i. e. eagerness for independence) as well as to special characteristics of family businesses as a whole (i. e. performance and organizational changes).

Suggested Citation

  • Schlömer-Laufen, Nadine & Kay, Rosemarie & Holz, Michael, 2014. "Works councils in family businesses in Germany: Why are there so few?," Working Papers 03/14, Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) Bonn.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifmwps:0314
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    Cited by:

    1. Arnd Kölling & Claus Schnabel, 2022. "Owners, external managers and industrial relations in German establishments," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 60(2), pages 424-443, June.
    2. Hans-Dieter Gerner & Holger Reinemann & Andreas Dutzi & Daniel Ludwig, 2019. "Voraussetzungen und Effekte betrieblicher Interessenvertretung in eigentümergeführten Unternehmen," ZfKE – Zeitschrift für KMU und Entrepreneurship, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 67(2), pages 113-144.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    works councils; family business; exploratory study;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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