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The European Works Council as a management tool to divide and conquer: corporate whipsawing in the steel sector

Aranea, Mona, González Begega, Sergio and Köhler, Holm-Detlev 2021. The European Works Council as a management tool to divide and conquer: corporate whipsawing in the steel sector. Economic and Industrial Democracy 42 (3) , pp. 873-891. 10.1177/0143831X18816796

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In large, highly internationalized companies, local sites of production have to contribute to the competitiveness of the corporation while decision-making is directed ever further away from their influence. The article examines how inter-plant competition, called management whipsawing, has changed at the transnational steel company ArcelorMittal over twelve years. We take an explicitly Gramscian perspective, as we study the role of coercion and consent in the staging of inter-plant competition. We base our analysis on forty-five qualitative interviews with company managers and employee representatives in Spain, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, carried out in two phases, from 2004 to 2006 and 2014 to 2016. We aim to understand how management can integrate central arenas for employee involvement into their strategies with regard to inter-plant competition. A central finding of our longitudinal case study is that the European Works Council (EWC) is essential in the construction of employee consent to labour competition.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Additional Information: Released with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License (CC BY-NC-ND)
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 0143-831X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 June 2019
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 07:21

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