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Möten med marknaden. Tre svenska fackförbunds agerande under perioden 1945-1976

by Gråbacke, Carina, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
This is a study of how trade unions act when they are confronted with the consequences of innovations in their own sector of the economy. The framework in which this is studied, basically consists of Mancur Olson's distinction between encompassing/broad and narrow interest organizations, here represented by the peak organization of the blue-collar workers (LO) and the separate trade unions within LO, respectively. Furthermore, the framework also highlights that adjustment processes do not take place at the national level. It is never national economies that faces an innovation the adjustment takes place at the sector level, and at the firm level. As economic change never has been executed by rhetoric alone, it is at the sectoral level that change has to be addressed in a practical, rather than a theoretical, fashion. Three separate studies of trade union action and economic change have been carried out, focusing on the innovations introduced after World War II that had profound impact on the sectors concerned: the Textile Workers Union and the transformation of the textile industry from an almost self-sufficient status to a high level of import penetration; the Building Workers Union and the institutional innovations in the building industry that led to an increasingly politicized market; and the Retail Workers Union and the self-service concept together with the developments associated with it in the retail sector. Pivotal to the individual trade union was its ability to define the concept of rationalization/modernization in its own fashion. This made the concept rather fluid, and thus subject to the possibility of reinterpretations, if developments turned out to be different than envisioned. `Radicalization' was the result. In the course of less than a decade, all three unions were radicalized in their language and actions, as structural change was judged uncontrollable. This coincides with the general radicalization, which in this study is synonymous with a larger influence of the narrow interests, of the Swedish trade union movement. The study thus points at some possible explanations for this.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Göteborgs universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; History and philosophy subjects; History subjects; Economic history; trade unions; the textile industry; the building industry; the retail sector; encompassing and narrow interests; the politics of productivity; innovation; economic change; structural adjustment; rationalization; competition; regulation; deregulation; bargained economy; free trade; protectionism; labor market policy; public housing corporations; union controlled firms; radicalization; organization costs; opening hour regulation

ISBN:91-85196-53-3

Date of Publication:01/01/2002

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