Introducing governance and employment relations in Eastern and Central Europe

Zsolt, Bedo and Demirbag, Mehmet and Wood, Geoffrey (2011) Introducing governance and employment relations in Eastern and Central Europe. Employee Relations, 33 (4). pp. 309-315. ISSN 0142-5455

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Abstract

This article seeks to explore some of the principal issues and debates on the relationship between institutions, firm level governance and employment relations outcomes in Eastern and Central Europe. This paper particularly focuses on the countries that are encompassed by the papers covering the special issue. Introducing new and meaningful forms of labour regulation becomes very much more difficult in times of economic crisis. This means that the regulation of employment relations is likely to be diminished, or, as is probably more likely in the case of the bulk of countries in the region, a situation of “muddling on” is likely to persist. Firm level employment relations practices are likely to be persistently diverse, both within and between countries. Key areas of division are in terms of country clusters, which range from proto-social democratic through to “wild capitalist”, distinguished by variations in terms of firm size, and between the formal and informal economies. This study highlights the extent to which institutional variations and change may mould the choices made at firm level. There is a tendency to conflate the region into a loose transitional category. This paper highlights the divergent paths followed by the countries in the region, and the extent to which this has been associated by diversity in employment relations both within and between countries.