Components of the ER systems of Germany and the UK-Compare and contrast the key components of the ER systems of Germany and the UK, focusing on employee relations/HR and industrial relations

1. Using a theoretical framework from this semester, compare the key
components of the ER systems of Germany and the UK.

• Choose a theoretical framework that was used prominently such as Varieties of Capitalism (VoC). In this example,
define what VoC is and briefly discuss its significance and shortcomings
in the study of employment relations. Identify which country is the CME
and which is the LME and state why.

• Compare and contrast the key components of the ER systems of Germany
and the UK, focusing on employee relations/HR (the nature of employee
participation in the decision making process within enterprises) and
industrial relations (the nature of trade unions and employer
organizations, collective bargaining and pay setting, and employment

• Analyse the key differences and similarities between the two ER regimes
and conclude with what works better and if there is any scope for
improving the two ER regimes based on the analysis you have done on
each country

Convergence and divergence
Look at Marion Festing’s article on whether German HRM is converging
with the US or not.
2. Using examples of MNCs from this semester, explain the relationship
between home country policies and those applied in host foreign
Consider the MNCs used in our case studies and pick a couple which best
illustrate how an MNC’s home country policies can differ (or be similar with)
from those used in foreign countries where they also operate. (GMH as an LME
country of origin moving to CME such as Germany, also US Chrysler and
Italian Fiat; China, WalMart in the USA and China, etc.)
• Explain why you chose a particular MNC by highlighting the stark difference
in how they interact with workers and the state. How are their outcomes
different in these two jurisdictions? How are their ER processes and outcomes
similar or different in these two countries?
3. ILO Conventions and International Framework Agreements (IFAs)
are supposed to protect workers’ rights in countries which sign up to
these. What is the reality underpinning Conventions and IFAs? What
do you recommend should be done to improve worker protections
under Conventions and IFAs given the exploitation of workers in
MNCs supply chains?
Begin your discussion by defining what the ILO and IFAs are. Outline the roles
they play in safeguarding the rights of workers globally
• Recall our discussion in class: Do ILO Conventions and IFAs actually do
their part in protecting workers? What are they doing right? How can they
better ensure that workers’ rights and entitlements are observed?
• Remember that ratifying ILO Conventions are voluntary. What does this
mean for workers in countries which opt/do not opt to become party to
certain international labour instruments? In countries which ratify ILO
Conventions, what can you say about how well their legal regimes carry
out their obligations? Are there any issues on monitoring for compliance
and enforcement? How can these issues be resolved?
• Also remember that there are only a handful of IFAs executed between
MNCs and global workers’ organizations, and that their provisions are
observed primarily on a best-effort basis.
4. Choose any two countries covered this semester, including the
presentation/essay country of your choice (but not Germany or the
UK) and explain the national contexts, including the role of the state
(i.e. government), the nature of trade unions across the two nations,
and collective bargaining across the two nations.
When deciding on which two countries to analyse, explain why you chose those
countries and why they are highly relevant in this discussion.
• Be as detailed as possible when explaining the countries’ national
contexts. Focus on the role of the state (labour legislation, labour
institutions and processes that affect employment relations such as the
regulation of unions, the promotion of collective bargaining and the use
of CBAs, availability of dispute resolution mechanisms), the state of trade
unionism (Are they recognised by both the state and employers’
organizations? What can you say about the levels of membership? How is
this impacting the way workers’ rights and entitlements are established
and protected?), and the existence of employers’ organizations (How
would you describe the nature and level of their interactions with trade
unions and the government?). Do the three industrial relations actors
interact well with each other?
• Do the levels of trade union membership in these countries result in an
increase or a decrease in collective bargaining? What is the impact of the
existing collective bargaining agreements on pay and working
• Compare the two countries and in your conclusion, and make sure that
you support the argument that you set out in the introductory part of your
5. Should MNCs be forced to comply within minimum labour standards
in all countries in which they operate? Why/why not? Illustrate your
answer with some examples of MNCs studied this semester.
Based on our case studies, we have come to the conclusion that MNCs must be
able to at least comply with the legally established minimum labour standards in
all countries in which they operate. This ensures that they do not end up in
expensive labour conflicts with both workers and the government
• Define what labour standards are and why it is important for governments
to establish their minimum levels them and for employers to observe
• Complying with minimum standards ensure that employees legal rights
and entitlements are met. Look into how well Samsung operates in South
Korea and what problems they ran into in China
• You can also incorporate into your discussion the reputational damage
MNCs suffer as a result of their noncompliance with minimum labour
standards in the countries they operate
6. How can MNCs from one type of market economy adapt to operating
in another type of market economy? What does this tell you about
differences between these two types of employment relations

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