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The future of the German industrial relations model

The future of the German industrial relations model The paper examines recent evidence on the erosion of the German industrial relations model. Although its coverage has declined, much of this has occurred in smaller and newer establishments, and compared with Britain, it has remained solid in the areas of Germany’s traditional industrial strength. This is explained by the nature of high performance work systems that involve flexible working and on-the-job problem-solving. Both countries have modernised their work systems in recent decades, with German industrial firms maintaining higher degrees of worker autonomy and learning and British ones relying more on managerial control. The survival of the German model in this sector, as compared with services, is attributed to the role of such work systems in the high end of international competition. A model is developed to explain why stable cooperation within these work relationships is enhanced by means of a strong institutional framework. It is then used to explain why employers in the sectors using these systems have continued to work within these institutions. It is argued that employers’ increased focus on the match between commercial needs and workplace institutions has contributed to the growing segmentation within German industrial relations which has been widely documented, and represents a departure from the classical post-war German model. The article finishes by asking how far this can go before damaging social and political cohesion. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal for Labour Market Research Springer Journals

The future of the German industrial relations model

Journal for Labour Market Research , Volume 48 (2) – Aug 19, 2015

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References (66)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung
Subject
Economics / Management Science; Labor Economics; Sociology, general; Human Resource Management; Economic Policy; Regional/Spatial Science; Population Economics
ISSN
1614-3485
eISSN
1867-8343
DOI
10.1007/s12651-015-0188-3
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The paper examines recent evidence on the erosion of the German industrial relations model. Although its coverage has declined, much of this has occurred in smaller and newer establishments, and compared with Britain, it has remained solid in the areas of Germany’s traditional industrial strength. This is explained by the nature of high performance work systems that involve flexible working and on-the-job problem-solving. Both countries have modernised their work systems in recent decades, with German industrial firms maintaining higher degrees of worker autonomy and learning and British ones relying more on managerial control. The survival of the German model in this sector, as compared with services, is attributed to the role of such work systems in the high end of international competition. A model is developed to explain why stable cooperation within these work relationships is enhanced by means of a strong institutional framework. It is then used to explain why employers in the sectors using these systems have continued to work within these institutions. It is argued that employers’ increased focus on the match between commercial needs and workplace institutions has contributed to the growing segmentation within German industrial relations which has been widely documented, and represents a departure from the classical post-war German model. The article finishes by asking how far this can go before damaging social and political cohesion.

Journal

Journal for Labour Market ResearchSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 19, 2015

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