Managing Change in an Era of Globalisation
Edited by Bernard Gazier and Frédéric Bruggeman
7. The Swedish model of restructuring Ola Bergström and Andreas Diedrich 1. INTRODUCTION The Swedish Model (the Rehn-Meidner Model) can be seen as a model to promote and accommodate structural change. The wage solidarity policy made pure wage competition unviable in the long term and acted to displace low productivity ﬁrms (Edin & Topel, 1997). The re-allocation of displaced labour to higher productivity ﬁrms was the initial rationale for the extensive active labour policy that is still a central feature of Swedish economic policy and has always been the main public policy response to redundancies. In this chapter we describe the historical development and the characteristics of the Swedish model of restructuring. We argue that in order to understand the practice of restructuring in Sweden it is important to acknowledge the central role of collective bargaining and the presence of job security councils that provide transfer services to dismissed workers. While there have been questions of the relevance of the Swedish model in the context of globalisation and the entry of Sweden into the European Union (Lindbeck, 1998), our analysis shows that the economic regression in the early 1990s triggered a renewal of some of its central features, in particular the re-centralisation of collective bargaining. However, there is a modiﬁcation in the way the model operates in practice, involving a shift away from the central role of public bodies towards a focus on collectively agreed measures for dealing with restructuring. Job security councils were created to provide transfer services...
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