Works Councils:

Rebecca Gumbrell‐McCormick and Richard Hyman

in The Oxford Handbook of Participation in Organizations

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199207268
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

Works Councils:

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  • Business and Management
  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
  • Business Ethics



This article focuses on works councils, adopting the definition of Rogers and Streeck. It is concerned with countries with generalized systems of representation – where participation structures exist largely independently of management wishes – and not with those where representative bodies may be established voluntarily through localized management initiatives. The article also limits attention to bodies with the capacity to discuss a broad agenda of employment- and work-related issues; this means, for example, that the statutory health and safety committees, which exist in many countries without works councils, are ignored. On this definition, works councils are almost exclusively a phenomenon of continental Western Europe, and the article discusses why this is the case. Its focus is specifically on national institutions; it does not examine the one instance of mandatory supranational structures: European Works Councils. Nor does the article consider board-level employee representation.

Keywords: works councils; generalized systems; participation structures; work-related issues; national institutions

Article.  12315 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business Ethics

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