Works councils are seen as an instrument with which to represent employee interests to management, as a means for furthering industrial and societal democracy, but also of raising employee commitment, motivation and, ultimately, economic efficiency. The chapter deals particularly with the following questions: What forms of works council can be distinguished between empirically? How widespread are works councils and why do differences exist in the extent to which they are found in firms - within and between countries? What effects do works councils have on employees, firms and society? And what are the main limitations of current research? The chapter shows that the literature is dominated by mostly econometric studies from Germany on German works councils. It is argued that we need more studies applying different theories and methodologies comparing different countries and systematically taking the national context into account.
Werner Nienhüser and Chris Warhurst
This chapter outlines how employment relations are understood and how they are said to be changing. Following a detailed definition of ‘employment relations’, the authors present the different theoretical underpinnings of this field of study and how each might be more or less relevant in different country academic traditions. A detailed presentation is made of the convergence debate within the comparative employment relations field, exploring how things might be changing over time across countries. Consequently, this chapter includes a discussion of the ‘Uberisation’ of employment relations, when employment itself disappears.