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Employee Participation in Europe
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Employee Participation in Europe



July 1995 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Employee Participation in Europe covers both the internal dynamics of workplace participation within individual European nations and the transnational policies and problems of participation at the European Union level. Combining historical, sociological, and comparative analysis, the author presents an understanding of participation's role in contemporary industrial relations. Knudsen shows how participation--while widely approved as an ideal--involves varying interests and rationales on the actors involved: employees and governments. The ways in which participation has been introduced and the differences in its practice are illustrated by detailed analysis of participatory institutions in Germany, the UK, Spain, and Denmark. This comparative approach clarifies the ways in which participation is embedded in national industrial relations systems and cultures. The author also addresses two major influences on the changing context of participation in contemporary industrial relations: the European Union and the growing importance of information technology. This broad-ranging review will be essential reading for all scholars of industrial relations, human resource management, sociology of work and employment, and related disciplines.
 
Introduction
 
Employee Participation
Concept and Context

 
 
Germany
Participation Based on Strong Legal Rights

 
 
Britain
Participation if the Employer Will

 
 
Spain
Participation within an Adversarial Setting

 
 
Denmark
Participation as Cooperation

 
 
European Participation
Diverse Solutions to Common Problems

 
 
The European Union
The Long March towards Common Regulations

 
 
New Technology
A Compelling Reason for More Participation?

 
 
Conclusions and Perspectives

`Knudsen's book is of use because he is concerned to show that the advent of interest in this area still has to deal with competing regulatory traditions in Western Europe which he labels as follows: strong legal rights (Germany), employer led legal rights (Britain), adversarial settings (Spain), co-operative contexts (Denmark).... the case is well made that the diversity of industrial relations systems are still a crucial factor in determining the nature of worker involvement.... catalogue[s] the way in which employee involvement and participation are increasingly becoming a site of struggle between distinct interests at work in a thorough and well-documented manner' - Industrial Relations Journal

`The book provides a welcome extension to the debate on participation, particularly in the comparative method of analysis' - Employment Bulletin and Industrial Relations Digest

`An outstanding feature of this book is the sober treatment of the parties' position on participation and its factual content of a very high quality built on an extended number of valuable references comprising official documents and research reports and the author's shorter or longer periods of study visits to the other three countries. The book is clearly written with conclusions at the end of each chapter.... All in all the book is to be recommended to all those industrial relations actors who have responsibility for taking positions on the issue of participation because it shows its broad nature, its functions and dynamics and thereby gives a better foundation for choosing one's standpoint. Add to this its factual information and the book should also be recommended to students of European industrial and personnel relations and related disciplines' - Transfer

`Knudsen's book provides a concise and well-written overview of recent European developments in employee participation, as well as useful insights into the less well-known examples of Denmark and Spain' - The Journal of Industrial Relations

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Herman Knudsen