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System of socio-political organization in which economic and social interests, including employees and employers, are represented directly within the political system by means of organized groupings or "corporations". The term may also be used in a pejorative sense to mean the behaviour of powerful interest groups which defend their members' interests without consideration of the general public good. As a political and social system, corporatism reached the height of its influence earlier in the century in certain European countries: in Spain, it shaped the structure of labour relations during Primo de Rivera's dictatorship and Franco's regime. Corporatist systems in this sense have now virtually disappeared, but in circumstances of economic crisis and social unrest there are clear signs both of the re-awakening of the corporatist spirit and of the growing involvement of representatives of producer groups (mainly the trade unions and employers' associations) in economic and social policy and in Government decisions regarding labour relations. These new trends are now called social concertation , neo-corporatism or neo-contractualism. See social dialogue , national syndicalism , National Corporatist Organization .

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.

Page last updated: 14 August, 2009