Title: Context, enactment and contribution of employee voice in the boardroom: evidence from large German companies

Authors: Thomas Steger

Addresses: Faculty of Business, Economics and Management Information Systems, University of Regensburg, Universitatsstr, 31, Regensburg 93053, Germany

Abstract: Corporate governance literature to date has tended to neglect employees and their impact, particularly at the level of company boards. Moreover, most research relating to boards has adopted a |black box| approach and a distinctively quantitative methodology. Given these deficits, this paper aims to provide a comprehensive picture of employee voice in major German company boardrooms based on a qualitative analysis of interviews with directors from different board actor groups. It will be shown that board processes in the context of German parity codetermination are akin to political games, in which power structures, handling of information and consensus finding play a decisive role. Moreover, the importance of path dependency to understand and interpret those processes will be highlighted.

Keywords: employee codetermination; employee voice; supervisory boards; Germany; conflict resolution; large firms; corporate governance; company boardrooms; power structures; information handling; consensus.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBGE.2011.039965

International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, 2011 Vol.6 No.2, pp.111 - 134

Published online: 08 May 2011 *

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