Who & Why

We selected five Member States according to meso- and macro- independent variables detailed in “What and How”: these countries have been chosen as representatives of the larger industrial relations cluster to which they belong. Case selection is based on a most-different-cases selection strategy, aiming to select cases which present a variance in the dimensions listed in “What and How” (our ‘independent variables’). This research strategy should allow for a certain degree of generalisation of the findings beyond the selected Member States, and the identification of targeted strategies for improving the effectiveness of involvement in each Member State.

The countries studied in the project are: Italy, the Slovak Republic, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands. They belong to different categories, according to the variables a,b,c:

  1. Countries belonging to the macro-corporatist model of coordination by firms (with many companies joining Employer Associations – EAs) within an organised corporatism IR model (Denmark); the sectoral model (with a minority of companies joining EAs) within a social partnership model of IR (Germany) or a state-centred one (Italy); the pluralist one (with very few companies members of EAs) within a a transitional IR model (the Slovak Republic); a mixed one (with many companies joining EAs) within a social partnership model of IR (the Netherlands).
  2. One country has a social-democratic welfare state (Denmark), another has a corporatist – conservative one (Germany), the Netherlands shows a mix between the previous two, Italy is characterised by a Southern European model and the Slovak Republic belongs to the CEE cluster.
  3. the characteristics of each state economy and labour market (in terms of economic growth, structure and unemployment) are also quite diversified among the countries chosen (as it can be seen in the table).

Summary table for case selection 

  Countries Labour market coordination by firms Share of companies belonging to EAs* Industrial relations system  The welfare state model  The state of the economy*   The economic structure 
Denmark Macro- corporatist 59% a 81%b Organised corporatism Social democratic 2000-07: 1.6 2008-16: -0.1 Post-industrial model based on smart growth and public sector 
Netherlands Mix macro-c. 55%a Social Mix 2000-07: 1.8 Post-industrial model based on 
 / sectoral 76%b Partnership conservative – social dem. 2008-16: 0.2 smart growth and public sector 
 Germany  Sectoral 23%a 58%b Social Partnership Corporatist conservative 2000-07: 1.6 2008-16: 1.3 Traditional balanced model with a strong smart growth sector 
Italy Sectoral 37%a 80%b State-centred Southern European 2000-07: 1.2 2008-16: -1.2 Consumption and manufacturing 
Slovak Republic Pluralist 12%a 32%b Mixed- Transitional CEE 2000-07: 6.2 2008-16: 3.0 Manufacturing and consumption 

a Share of companies with at least 10 employees belonging to employers’ associations in the country (on the total number of companies with at least 10 employees) (Eurofound European Companies’ social survey) 

b Share of companies with at least 250 employees belonging to employers’ associations in the country (on the total number of companies with at least 250 employees) (Eurofound European Companies’ social survey) 

Sources: * World-Bank average yearly GDP per-capita growth (%); ** Eurostat average yearly unemployment rate; Esping- Andersen (1990); Ferrera (1996; Visser (2011).