Company Internationalization and European Works Councils in the Automotive Sector
Chapter 3: Theoretical and methodological framework
23 Chapter 3: Theoretical and methodological framework The core of this study consists of a relatively innovative perspective on EWCs that draws on approaches within transnationalisation research and comparative (international) organisational research. In this, EWCs are understood as non-profit organisations established on the basis of a unitary European institutional foundation and distributed across a number of nation-states, existing and acting both within companies operating across the EU as well as externally upon them. Whereas works councils (both at workplace and company level) can conventionally be viewed as sub-units or sub-organisations of a firm’s organisation, subject to a unitary national legislative framework and institutional setting, matters are considerably more com- plex in the case of EWCs as these are established on the basis of a European provi- sion that is only effective after being transposed into a multiplicity of national laws. From a formal legal point-of-view, an EWC is a European non-profit organisation in the sense of having clear membership rules, a given structure and clear aims in terms of employee representation and the establishment of dialogue with the central management of European companies. Although internationally-operating companies, understood as ‘corporate actors’, must also coordinate spatially distributed operations that function on the basis of diverse statutory regulations in heterogeneous institutional and cultural settings, in contrast to EWCs, understood as non-profit ‘collective actors’ and interest or- ganisations, firms are driven by the contrasting logic of for-profit organisations.35 The problem of mobilisation (the ‘transformation problem’) and the issue of bal- ancing of interests, as...
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