A mix-method approach will be employed in the project, composed by: a country-level survey on a sample of medium-large enterprises (with at least 250 workers) in the five studied countries in order to learn about the business’ preferences toward social policies; qualitative interviews to business associations and corporations both at national and EU institutional level, as well as to their counterparts (trade unions) and to institutions; an analysis of the main documents produced by the main business associations, at the national level and at the EU institutional level. 

The survey will include five sections which will explore companies’:

  • preferences for the various social policies,
  • evaluation of the role of business associations in relation to social policies,
  • evaluation of the role of national governments in relation to social policies,
  • relationship with trade unions; and
  • characteristics (e.g. economic sector, skills’ composition, size, etc.).  

If the survey will focus on medium-large companies, the qualitative analysis will focus on the more general world of employer presentation, In particular, in relation to the qualitative interviews to business associations, as well as to their counterparts (trade unions) and to institutions, the analysis will be organized in each country with around 20 interviews. Also, we plan around 20 interviews for the EU level. The interviews will focus on the following topics (in relation to the four types of social policies): 

  • companies’ preferences for the various social policies;
  • business associations’ actions in order to strengthen their support and their discussion with their members (their mediatory role and cognitive construction of employers’ interest);
  • the main topics where it has been easier to reach an agreement among companies (belonging to different sectors);
  • the main policy actions undertaken in order to represent the companies’ preferences;
  • the relationship with other employers’ associations and sectoral associations;
  • the relationship with corporations not belonging to the employers’ associations;
  • the relationship with trade unions;
  • the relationship with national governments and the EU.