Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration

No 2005:11:
Exploring Union Organising During Corporate Mergers

Peter Hyllman and Oskar Gunnarsson

Abstract: This paper explores local union organising in the context of corporate mergers which have become increasingly common. Through a multiple case study of 14 cases between 1995 and 2002, we find that unions in eleven cases organise themselves unilaterally, locally and mainly around strategic and advisory activities during corporate mergers. Thus, unions seem reluctant to adapt their own formal structures to the corporate changes. Our study reveals that most unions are dissatisfied with the effects of the corporate merger as a result of loosing formal representation as well as perceived influence. In three of our cases, unions have been able to maintain or increase formal representation as well as perceived influence and are consequently satisfied with the merger. In each of these three cases, the unions chose to cooperate and integrative forms of organising. One preliminary conclusion of this study is that unions suffer from corporate mergers partly as a result of organising ineffectively during these mergers. As national and institutional differences are found insufficient to fully explain these findings, further studies are needed to explain why unions organise themselves in any given way during corporate mergers.

Keywords: Union; transnational corporation; industrial relations; co-determination; corporate democracy; (follow links to similar papers)

12 pages, October 20, 2005

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