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Content archived on 2024-04-16



The emergence of Eurocompanies, characterized by integrated production, marketing and distribution activities across the Member States of the European Community, has implications for the management of labour which are as yet unclear. This is because trends towards both centralization and decentralization are evident in the organization and management of companies operating on a European scale.

A joint research network has drawn on research at the level of individual Member States on the implications of companies differing business strategies, management structures and forms of production organization for their labour management policies to address a range of questions arising at a European level.

The research issues discussed were the importance of product strategies, national industrial relations systems and implications for cross border employer and trade union organization. Some additional considerations, such as the importance of regional economies and the degree of functional autonomy of the personnel function, were introduced by the participants. The research revealed differences in perspective over some of the core trends occurring in labour management: the extent to which decentralization of labour management was contingent on, or autonomous from, the decentralization of strategic business functions; whether changes occurring in labour management can be adequately captured by overarching models. Necessarily the process of drawing up a joint position paper on the research themes involves an attempt at integrating the different perspectives adopted in the research of the participants. Some initial ideas on how this might be achieved were discussed, and this constitutes the current phase of the participants collaborative work.
The production, marketing and distribution activities of large companies are becoming increasingly integrated across the Member States of the European Community. The implications of this Europeanisation process for the management of labour are as yet unclear. How important are labour relations considerations in business policy decisions on the location of production and investment? Will companies try to co-ordinate labour relations policies across borders? Will approaches vary between companies and for different categories of employee? Do companies adapt their approach according to different national systems of labour relations? What are the responses of trade unions and employers associations? The joint research network would bring together researchers interested in these issues from different Member States, with the aim of finding common perspectives which could form the basis of a subsequent joint research project.


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University of Warwick
EU contribution
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Gibbet Hill Road
CV4 7AL Coventry
United Kingdom

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Participants (3)