Beyond Works Councils? Social Practices and Cultures of Employee Participation in a Regional High-tech Cluster

Jonas, Michael and Berner, Marion (2010) Beyond Works Councils? Social Practices and Cultures of Employee Participation in a Regional High-tech Cluster. European Societies, 12 (4), pp. 493-519. DOI: 10.1080/14616696.2010.483004

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The question of workplace participation opportunities and limitations in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has gained momentum in sociological debates in Germany over the last years. Against the background of fundamental changes in the German industrial relations system, sociological research on this topic has shifted its focus from indirect to direct participation. On this basis, the paper aims to analyse and discuss the panoply of participation practices in an economic cluster in the region of Dortmund, a town in the German Ruhr Valley. The paper starts with an introduction of the empirical case, the development of the high-technology microsystems cluster in Dortmund, and gives an overview of the relevant private enterprises on the basis of three different company types. We go on to discuss the practice-orientated approach of participation which we combine with relevant sociological research results about direct and indirect participation as well as human resource management in SMEs and the New Economy. After a short overview of the methodological and empirical background of our research, we discuss the existing practices and cultures belonging to and surrounding direct and indirect participation with regard to the three types of businesses in the Dortmund cluster. The correlation between participation practices and business types is, however, not sufficient to fully describe the situation. The concept of participation cultures is therefore used as an additional concept. (author's abstract)

Item Type: Article in Academic Journal
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2014 14:43
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2016 14:15
DOI: 10.1080/14616696.2010.483004
ISSN: 1461-6696

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