Do German Employers Support Board-Level Codetermination? The Paradox of Individual Support and Collective Opposition
Socio-Economic Review, 2012
Posted: 13 Dec 2012 Last revised: 14 Dec 2012
Date Written: August 17, 2011
Existing studies on employers’ preferences towards institutions of class cooperation suggest that certain types of employers support these institutions because they provide economic benefits. To test this thesis, this paper examines attitudes of German employers towards board-level codetermination. It compares firms’ attitudes at the individual and the collective level: individual firms’ attitudes are analyzed using survey data and media statements from individual executives; collective attitudes are analyzed using policy statements from the national business federations. The paper finds considerable support for board-level codetermination among individual firms but continued opposition from the federations.
The paper suggests that this difference arises from the federations strategically over-representing dissatisfied members. The promotion of voluntary arrangements allows the federations to campaign against board-level codetermination without alienating the satisfied members. The paper highlights the need to complement a micro-foundational analysis of preference formation with an analysis of intra-associational processes of preference aggregation.
Keywords: codetermination, employers, Germany, preferences, power
JEL Classification: P48, J53, J58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation