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What determines the presence of works councils in Polish companies?

Katarzyna Skorupińska-Cieślak (Faculty of Economics and Sociology, University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 30 May 2018

Issue publication date: 8 August 2018




The purpose of this paper is to analyze the factors influencing the presence of works councils in Polish companies. The study also considers the incidence of councils in organizations and management’s attitude towards these institutions of employee participation.


Based on a sample of 402 Polish private companies, the probit model was calculated to identify the determinants of a works councils’ presence. The coverage of active councils was evaluated on the MRPiPS database and the GUS database.


The data show that the coverage of works councils in Polish organizations fell suddenly after the introduction of the amendment of the Act from 2009. Moreover, trade union density has a strong positive influence on the occurrence of works councils in companies. Councils are also more likely to be found in older foreign-owned companies in which forms of direct participation are used. Additionally, a higher share of shift workers in companies is associated with a higher probability of works councils’ presence.

Research limitations/implications

There are some difficulties with obtaining a precise analysis of the coverage of works councils in Poland.

Practical implications

Polish findings may be useful for other countries of Central and Eastern Europe with similar characteristics of industrial relations and similarly short traditions of works councils.


This paper extends the previous research on the operation of works councils in Polish industrial relations by providing an econometric analysis of the determinants of councils’ presence in companies. Such an analysis has been conducted in Poland for the first time.



The paper was supported by the Polish National Science Centre (Narodowe Centrum Nauki) under Decision No. DEC-2013/11/B/HS4/00474. The author would like to thank Szymon Wójcik for his useful comments on the earlier version of this paper.


Skorupińska-Cieślak, K. (2018), "What determines the presence of works councils in Polish companies?", Employee Relations, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 787-800.



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