Employee participation in multinational enterprises. The effects of globalisation on Dutch work councils

Jan C. Looise, Michiel Drucker

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The internationalisation of enterprises is expected to undermine national systems of employee representation. This paper assesses the extent to which this expectation can be confirmed. Using a survey of Dutch works councils, we compare national, Dutch multinational and foreign multinational firms. Using another survey, we then assess the role of European works councils within Dutch MNEs. The results of the first survey show that the influence of works councils in multinational firms, especially with respect to strategic policy, but also, to a lesser extent, regarding organisational and personnel issues is decreasing. From the second survey, we learn that European works councils have so far not compensated for this decrease in influence. We conclude that the undermining of employee representation at the national level can only be counteracted by a combination of further regulations at the European level, a change in (top) management attitudes in European MNEs and the close co-operation of employee representatives within the respective countries and at the different levels.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)29-52
Number of pages24
JournalEmployee relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • IR-58952
  • METIS-124598

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