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What Do Workers Want? The Representation Gap at the EU Establishment as Perceived by Their Workplace Representatives

Workplace Productivity and Management Practices

ISBN: 978-1-80117-675-0, eISBN: 978-1-80117-674-3

Publication date: 7 December 2021


Using data from the 2013 European Company Survey, this chapter operationalizes the representation gap as the desire for greater employee involvement in decision-making expressed by the representative of the leading employee representative body at the workplace. According to this measure, there is evidence of a substantial shortfall in employee involvement in the European Union, not dissimilar to that reported for the United States. The chapter proceeds to investigate how the size of this representation gap varies by type of representative structure, information provided by management, the resource base available to the representatives, and the status of trust between the parties. Perceived deficits are found to be smaller where workplace representation is via works councils rather than union bodies. Furthermore, the desire for greater involvement is reduced where information provided the employee representative on a range of establishment issues is judged satisfactory. A higher frequency of meetings with management also appears to mitigate the expressed desire for greater involvement. Each of these results is robust to estimation over different country clusters. However, unlike the other arguments, the conclusion that shortfalls in employee involvement representation are smaller under works councils than union bodies is nullified where trust in management is lacking.



Addison, J.T. and Teixeira, P. (2021), "What Do Workers Want? The Representation Gap at the EU Establishment as Perceived by Their Workplace Representatives", Polachek, S.W., Tatsiramos, K., Russo, G. and van Houten, G. (Ed.) Workplace Productivity and Management Practices (Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 49), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 1-39.



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