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Industrial Relations in Small Companies

A Comparison: France, Sweden and Germany


Christian Dufour, Adelheid Hege, Sofia Murhem and Wolfgang Rudolph

Reference is often made to small companies, but little is known about them, especially regarding industrial relations. How can small companies be defined? Is their small size a sufficient feature for them to be considered the same? If they are different from each other, what makes them so? Is the distinction between them and other companies – big ones – relevant? In what way is life organised in such units, where employer and employees are in very close contact with each other? In order to answer these questions, the authors of this innovative book carried out surveys together in France, Sweden and Germany. They met employers, employees, union members and industrial relations specialists. Comparisons of these three national cases show that small companies do have common features that transcend frontiers. They do, however, also have national characteristics. They, therefore, warrant being analysed and understood in something other than merely negative terms. It thus appears that small companies are not so far off resembling big ones...
Contents: Christian Dufour/Adelheid Hege: Introduction: Victims of Common Knowledge - An International Comparison, the Quest for a Vague Object - Some Additional Methodological Difficulties - Specific Practices, Compared Practices? - Comparative Conclusions – Christian Dufour/Adelheid Hege: France: Small Companies, Quantitative Change and Industrial Relations - Small Companies and Their Players: Survey of Industrial Relations Regulation – Sofia Murhem: Sweden: Small Swedish Companies in a Wider Context - Small Swedish Companies from Within: Visiting the Players - Summary of the Main Results – Wolfgang Rudolph/Wolfram Wassermann: Germany: Small Companies Industrial Relations in Germany - Small Companies Seen from Within: How Employers and Employees Organise their Relations - «Different, but not Fundamentally Different». An Overview – Christian Dufour/Adelheid Hege: Conclusion: Small Companies. The Real Facts and a Fragile and Fragmented Notion - Small Companies and Industrial Relations - Internal Industrial Relations, the Interpretation of External Rules and the Production of Individual Company Standards.