Social dialogue and HR practices in European global companies
- While company management is increasingly organised at the global level, labour relations remain dominated by the national level in terms of power, organisation and resources.
- Both human resource management (HRM) functions and social dialogue are under pressure from a variety of trends and dynamics. The continuing advancement of technological change, for example, will have an impact on how MNCs organise both their business and their HRM function.
- Aside from the legal implementation of the European Works Council (EWC) Directive, sharing practices related to the involvement of EWCs in corporate decisions has proven to be valuable and has made a positive contribution to company operations and culture across the EU.
- Transnational social dialogue in MNCs must play a constructive role in managing the transition towards a low-carbon, high-tech economy. In doing so, it will make a positive contribution to the development of EU social dialogue.
- The positive interaction between HRM policies and worker representation structures should help companies and sectors restructure and adapt accordingly, dealing with the risk of increasing wage inequality and polarisation in working conditions.
This study examines the interaction between social dialogue practices and human resources management (HRM) policies in European multinational companies (MNCs). It looks at the changing role of HRM and its interaction with European Works Councils (EWCs), which can act as a link between different levels of social dialogue. Both HRM functions and social dialogue are under pressure from a variety of trends and dynamics – not least, ongoing technological change. Sharing practices related to the involvement of EWCs in corporate decisions has made a valuable contribution to company operation and culture across the EU. The positive interaction between HRM policies and worker representation structures should help companies and sectors restructure and adapt accordingly, including dealing with the risk of increasing wage inequality and polarisation in working conditions.
Full reportNumber of Pages:52Reference No:EF19009ISBN:978-92-897-2073-1Catalogue:TJ-03-20-371-EN-NDOI:10.2806/525066Topics:Small and medium-sized enterprises; Social dialogue; Participation at work; Collective bargaining; Agreements; Employee representation; Industrial relations; Labour and social regulationCite this publication as:Eurofound (2020), Social dialogue and HR practices in European global companies, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.
Executive summaryReference No:EF19009EN1Catalogue info
Social dialogue and HR practices in European global companiesAuthors:Eurofound
Following a request from the European Parliament, Eurofound has examined how social dialogue functions in multinational companies (MNCs), taking into account the experiences of European Works Councils (EWCs) and European framework agreements. The overall aim of this research is to better understand the multi-level forms of social dialogue between the cross-border and national and local levels within MNCs, focusing on the transfer and articulation mechanisms used in decision-making and in the implementation of both human resources management (HRM) practices and social dialogue outcomes. The research is based on case studies and focus groups with experts.
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Tables and graphs
- Table 1: Overview of the MNCs selected for the case studies
- Table 2: Employment by world region, and Europe’s share of total employment, 2008 and 2018
- Table 3: Promotion of social dialogue in the anticipation and/or management of restructuring activities
- Table 4: Cases of restructuring involving ABB, Danfoss, UniCredit and Unilever
- Table 5: The influence of sectoral and company-specific factors
- Table 6: The impact of subsidiary location on social dialogue
- Table 7: Organisational models of MNCs
- Table 8: HRM factors, trends and practices in MNCs and their interaction with social dialogue outcomes
- Table 9: Impact of HRM factors, trends and practices on social dialogue
- Table 10: Organisational models of EWCs in the multinational companies studied
- Table 11: Number of TCAs addressing various topics
- Table 12: Main links between TCAs and HRM
Figure 1: Interaction of social dialogue and HRM policies and practices
Research carried out prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020, and published subsequently, may include data relating to the 28 EU Member States. Following this date, research only takes into account the 27 EU Member States (EU28 minus the UK), unless specified otherwise.
This report presents the results of research conducted prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe in February 2020. For this reason, the results do not take account of the outbreak.