Project Information

Implementing global framework agreements

Background and Objectives

As far as labour standards are concerned, the persistent realities of multinational corporations (MNC) and transnational value chains bring about regulatory demands, because MNCs’ relocation strategies exert pressures on national and local industrial relations. Currently, the most important company-related form of regulation of transnational labour standards is global framework agreements (GFAs) negotiated between MNCs and global union federations. As far as the sustainability of GFA-related processes on the global and the local level are concerned, however, the extant research on the substantive content, the dissemination and the implementation of GFAs points in different and sometimes even contradictory directions. The project goal, therefore, is to provide a qualitative analysis of the GFA-related articulation and implementation processes. Here, GFAs are regarded as being part of a more encompassing social practice of regulating work and employment relations across borders. These transnational work and employment relations are constituted in polycentric multi-level systems which emerge around the MNCs and their transnational value creation networks. The interdisciplinary project combines views from organization studies and the sociology of work in order to engage with three guiding questions about the articulation and implementation process:

(1) the question of how globally negotiated norms may be implemented nationally and locally;

(2) the question of what patterns of local, national und transnational actors’ interest articulation take shape in the respective implementation and negotiation processes; and

(3) the question of how management contributes to GFA implementation within the complex interplay of corporate hierarchy and value creation networks.

Methods

The project follows a comparative research design in which case studies of eight MNCs are conducted. Case selection is based on a theoretical sampling that prioritizes criteria such as the substantive content of implementation initiatives and the procedural rules deployed in the social dialogue around the GFAs. Primary data collection deploys predominantly semi-structured interviewing of the key actors involved, partially supported by participant observation. From a practitioners’ viewpoint, the comparative design also aims at identifying and exploring potentially successful patterns of rules and practices in this area of transnational regulation of work and employment relations.

The project is carried out in cooperation with the FU Berlin (Chair of Personnel Policy, Prof. Gregory Jackson, PhD, PD Dr. Markus Helfen).

Lectures

Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm, Christine Üyük: Solidarity and Solidarity Actions in Multinational Companies. „Assessing solidarity“. Online Workshop ausgerichtet von der Universität Bremen und dem Zentrum für Arbeit und Politik (ZAP)., 08.10.2021

Christine Üyük: Transnational Workers’ Mobilization and Their Conditions. 19th ILERA World Congress, Lund, Sweden, 21-24 Juni 2021 (Online), 23.06.2021  Weitere Informationen

Project data

Term of the project:
01.03.2020 - 31.10.2022

Reseach department:
Working-Time and Work Organisation

Project management:
Prof. Dr. Thomas Haipeter

Project team:
Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm, Christine Üyük

Funding:
Hans-Böckler-Stiftung