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Institutions matter: the case of union solidarity in Hungary and East Germany

Frege, Carola M. and Toth, Andras (1999) Institutions matter: the case of union solidarity in Hungary and East Germany. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 37 (1). pp. 117-140. ISSN 0007-1080

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-8543.00121


This study examines the extent of union solidarity in two post-communist countries, Hungary and east Germany. It tests the hypothesis that post-communist union members are sceptical and unsupportive of their new interest representation owing to a legacy of disappointing experiences with their former communist unions. A survey of the union members, the first of its kind, in the Hungarian and east German clothing industry revealed strong differences between members' attitudes in both countries: east Germans were highly committed and supportive of their new union and works councils, whereas Hungarians lacked support for their institutions. The study points to the complexities of former and current attitudes and rejects the generic use of a communist legacy thesis. Instead, it links members' attitudes to the different institutional context of interest representation in the two countries. It argues that the dual system of interest representation in Germany facilitates members' trust in their new institutions, whereas the decentralized, overlapping institutions on Hungarian shop-floors impede union solidarity.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1999 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/London School of Economics
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2010 15:41
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 00:44

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