ECS 2009 - Methodology

The ECS 2009 is the second large-scale organisational survey carried out by Eurofound, following the European Survey on Working-Time and Work-Life Balance (ESWT) conducted in 21 EU countries in 2004-2005.


The survey objectives were to:

  • map, assess and quantify information on company policies and practices across Europe on an harmonised basis;
  • analyse relationships between company practices and their impact as well as analyse practices from the point of view of structures at company level, focusing in particular on social dialogue;
  • monitor trends;
  • contribute to the Europe 2020 stategy on the issue of company policies and practices with regard to their impact on quality of jobs, as well as the development of social dialogue in companies. The survey should allow for the development of homogeneous indicators on these issues for a European audience.

Design and methodology

The ECS 2009 was carried out in 30 countries: the 27 EU Member States, plus Croatia, Turkey and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). TNS Infratest Sozialforschung, Munich (Germany), in co-operation with a group of experts and national fieldwork institutes, was responsible for conducting the survey.

The survey was conducted by computer assisted telephone interviews (CATI). The companies to be interviewed were selected at random among those with 10 or more employees in each country. More information on sampling is available.

A management representative and, where possible, employee representative was interviewed in each company. The duration of the interviews was on average 20 minutes for management representatives and 15 minutes for employee representatives. The questionnaires are available.

The survey did not include the agriculture and fishing sector, private households and extra-territorial organisations. Public administration was covered in the sample.

A limited extension of the survey to collect additional information on the financial performance of private-sector companies was carried out in late 2009. This covered establishments in five countries – Finland, Germany, Poland. Spain and the UK – that represent different ‘welfare regimes’.

Quality assurance

For many years Eurofound has built up considerable expertise in conducting surveys and has developed best practices for quality assurance. The quality assurance framework  for the ECS 2009 consists of four main pillars:

  • Planning: systematic planning and mapping of the whole research process;
  • Consultation: consultation with experts, stakeholders and users of the survey in the development of the questionnaire, key survey concepts and methodological strategy;
  • Transparency: the entire research process will be transparent, both internally and externally;
  • Documentation: documenting every single step, decisions or occurrences in the course of the project, ensuring that every step can be easily traced back.

In order to ensure quality in the survey, and in accordance with Eurofound practices, it was deemed essential to involve from the outset experts and users of the survey, e.g. Eurofound stakeholders represented by members of the Governing Board in the tripartite Advisory Committee on ECS 2009.

The report Quality Assessment of the 2nd European Company Survey assesses the quality of the survey in all its stages, starting from the sampling design to the final dissemination of data.

For further information, please contact Sophia MacGoris, email: