Project Information

Transnational employee representation in European Companies

Background and objectives

Against the background of the increasing internationalization of companies and production processes, the question of the origin and functioning of transnational employee representation in multinational companies is gaining importance.

With the European Company (Societas Europaea, SE), companies in the European Economic Area can, for the first time, use a supranational legal company form in order to organize their cross-border business. The implementation of the European Company was accompanied by decades of highly controversial discussions, particularly on the issue of employee participation. An agreement between the EU Member States could only be reached through a negotiated solution, which includes that employee involvement in SEs will be negotiated between management and employee representatives. Employee involvement in the SE may include information and consultation in cross-border matters (so-called SE Works Council) as well as participation in the SE supervisory or administrative boards. This newly created institutional structure of SE Works Councils on the one hand and board-level employee representation on the other raises the question of interaction and articulation between these action fields of employee representation.

Against this background, the project examines how information, consultation and board-level employee representation are interlinked and what implications these linkages have for the representation of employees' interests across national borders in European Companies (SEs). The project addresses the following questions:

  • What patterns of interest articulation exist between SE Works Councils and board-level employee representatives?
  • Which factors influence the development of particular articulation patterns? What role does the international composition of the bodies play?
  • How does the horizontal articulation between SE Works Councils and co-determined supervisory boards affect the representation of employees' interests in multinational companies? What impact does the articulation have on the outcomes of employee representation?


A mix of qualitative and quantitative methods characterizes the project. On the one hand, a standardized survey of employee representatives in SE supervisory or administrative boards is carried out. On the other hand, the interplay between the two action fields is examined in more detail on the basis of company case studies.



Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm: Horizontale Europäisierung: Koordination und Integration von Arbeitnehmer:inneninteressen in multinationalen Unternehmen. 41. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie "Polarisierte Welten", 26.–30.09.2022, Universität Bielefeld, 29.09.2022  Weitere Informationen

Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm: SE Works Councils and board-level employee representation: Experience from Germany. How do EWCs and board-level employee representatives cooperate? ETUI, 24.02.2022

Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm, Jennifer Kaczynska: Experimenting with Articulation: Linking Transnational Information and Consultation and Board-Level Employee Representation in European Companies (SE) . 32nd SASE Annual Meeting, Virtual Conference, July 18-21, 2020, 20.07.2020  Weitere Informationen

Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm: Soziologische Theorien zur Erwerbsregulierung:. Regulating Working Standards, Köln, Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, 29.10.2019

Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm: Employee representation in European Companies (SEs): Links between SEWCs and board-level employee representation. WP Europe Network Meeting, European Trade Union Institute (ETUI). Brussels, 24.09.2019

Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm, Berndt Keller: The European Company (SE): Original expectations and deficiencies of implementation, some political remedies and the lasting political stalemate. ILERA European Congress 2019: Perspectives of Employment Relations in Europe. In Kooperation mit: International Industrial Relations Association – Sektion der Bundesrepublik Deutschland e.V., Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, 06.09.2019  Weitere Informationen

Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm, Jennifer Kaczynska: Interest articulation in SEs: Board-level employee representatives and their link with SEWCs. ILERA European Congress 2019: Perspectives of Employment Relations in Europe. In Kooperation mit: International Industrial Relations Association – Sektion der Bundesrepublik Deutschland e.V., Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, 05.09.2019  Weitere Informationen

Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm: Current problems of workers’ representation in Germany. Workers’ Representation in Europe: are there specific Central and Eastern European perspectives?, Lodz, Department of European and Collective Labour Law, Faculty of Law and Administration, Lodz, European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), 28.03.2019

Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm: Board-level employee representation in European Companies (SEs): new prospects for transnational labour voice? Industrial Relations in Europe Conference "Employment relations in the 21st century: Challenges for theory and research in a changing world of work". Centre for Sociological Research (CeSO) and Institute for Labour Law, KU Leuven, Leuven, Netherlands, 11.09.2018

Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm: Europeanization of Co-Determination: The experience of employee representatives in international boards of European companies (SE) . What does Co-Determination do? What can we learn from research? 2nd Biennial Conference. Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Hans-Böckler-Stiftung (HBS), Berlin, 11.06.2018  Weitere Informationen

Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm: Arbeitnehmermitbestimmung in Europa. Europatag 2018. Louis-Baare-Berufskolleg, Bochum, 30.05.2018

Project data

Term of the project:
01.04.2018 - 31.07.2020

Reseach department:
Working-Time and Work Organisation

Project management:
Dr. Sophie Rosenbohm

Project team:
Jennifer Kaczynska