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Cultural Obstacles in Transnational Trade Union Cooperation in Europe

Journal article
Authors Bengt Larsson
Published in Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies
Volume 10
Issue 1
Pages 3-18
ISSN 2245-0157
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Centre for European Research (CERGU)
Pages 3-18
Language en
Keywords Industrial relations, trade unions, culture, cooperation, social dialogue
Subject categories Sociology


This article focuses on cultural difficulties in trade union cooperation and transnationalization in Europe. The aim is to understand cultural differences that are seen as obstacles to cooperation by trade union representatives with transnational work experience from the ETUC and ETUFs. The theoretical inspiration for this work comes from the sociological variant of neo-institutionalism and organization theory, as well as from existing approaches in industrial relations and trade union research. The empirical analysis is based on 38 interviews with 46 representatives from trade unions from nine European countries. The findings point to problems arising because of language and translation issues, differences in cultural conceptions, values and everyday practices, and differences in trade union traditions, ideologies and identities.

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