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The transformation of corporate organization in Europe: An overview


  • Streeck, Wolfgang


Very large firms, the rising significance of small and medium-sized enterprises notwithstanding, still account for most of the employment and wealth creation in Europe and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. They also to a large extent determine the political institutions that regulate the relationship between economy and society, in particular the status of workers and the way in which the public interest is brought to bear on the economy. This overview on the current transformation of corporate organization in Europe begins by asking whether there is in fact a European model of the large firm, despite the considerable differences that exist between European countries, and to what extent European integration is likely to bring about convergence on a more uniform pattern. Next, it reviews the changes in the organization of large European firms and in corporate governance in Europe during the 1990s, which took place in response to the evolution of two of the major task environments of firms, product markets and financial markets. Third, the paper discusses the consequences of corporate transformation for the social embeddedness of large European firms, especially the challenges posed by the ongoing changes in corporate organization to European systems of industrial citizenship of workers and to the capacity of European states and governments to hold large firms socially accountable. In conclusion, the paper emphasizes the growing autonomy of large firms as strategic actors and comments on the problems of corporate adjustment under high and endemic uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Streeck, Wolfgang, 2001. "The transformation of corporate organization in Europe: An overview," MPIfG Working Paper 01/8, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgw:018

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " A Survey of Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 737-783, June.
    2. Marco Becht & Ailsa Roell, 1999. "Blockholdings in Europe: an international comparison," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13316, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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    Cited by:

    1. John T. Addison & Alex Bryson & Paulino Teixeira & André Pahnke & Lutz Bellmann, 2011. "The Demise of a Model? The State of Collective Bargaining and Worker Representation in Germany," GEMF Working Papers 2011-09, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
    2. Hilary Bates & Nick Oliver & Matthias Holweg & Michael Lewis, 2004. "Motor vehicle recalls: trends, patterns and emerging issues," Working Papers wp295, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    3. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Alex Bryson & André Pahnke, 2013. "Collective Agreement Status and Survivability: Change and Persistence in the German Model," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 27(3), pages 288-309, September.
    4. Gregory Jackson & Martin Hopner & Antje Kurdelbusch, 2004. "Corporate Governance and Employees in Germany: Changing Linkages, Complementarities, and Tensions," Discussion papers 04008, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    5. Casson, Peter D. & Martin, Roderick & Nisar, Tahir M., 2008. "The financing decisions of innovative firms," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 208-221, June.
    6. Addison, John T. & Teixeira, Paulino & Bryson, Alex & Pahnke, André, 2011. "The Structure of Collective Bargaining and Worker Representation: Change and Persistence in the German Model," IZA Discussion Papers 5987, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Virginia Doellgast & Ian Greer, 2007. "Vertical Disintegration and the Disorganization of German Industrial Relations-super-1," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(1), pages 55-76, March.
    8. Schnyder, G., 2010. "Varieties of Insider Corporate Governance: Centre-Right Preferences and the Determinants of Reform in the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland," Working Papers wp406, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    9. Christel Lane, 2003. "Changes in corporate governance of German corporations: convergence to the Anglo-American model?," Working Papers wp259, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    10. Benjamin Werner, 2016. "Why is the Court of Justice of the European Union not more Contested? Three Mechanisms of Opposition Abatement," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(6), pages 1449-1464, November.
    11. Beyer, Jürgen, 2002. "Deutschland AG a. D.: Deutsche Bank, Allianz und das Verflechtungszentrum großer deutscher Unternehmen," MPIfG Working Paper 02/4, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.

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