Traditional approaches in the wide field of employment relations focused on a small and clearly delineated set of actors, such as trade unions and employers’ organizations, operating within the constraints given by formal, nationally confined institutions. It is becoming increasingly clear that traditional approaches are insufficiently able to account for employment relations processes and outcomes in a world wherein formal institutions are being rapidly transformed and partially dissolved, national boundaries become porous, and the sheer number of actors involved is increasing substantially. A shift in perspective is necessary, past the nationally bounded actor-institution dichotomy, towards an understanding of employment relations as fundamentally mediated by complex and emergent networks that connect a multitude of actors within and between countries.
This volume provides a seminal starting point for such a paradigm shift by applying theories and methodologies from social network analysis to the study of employment relations. It develops a theoretical toolkit of mechanisms that operate within networks and shape employment relations processes and outcomes, such as wages, labour market policies and labour conflicts. It brings together insights from various projects that investigate the structure, functioning and impact of networks in employment relations through quantitative and qualitative methods. It will be of particular interest to students and scholars of employment relations across business and management, economics, political science, and sociology disciplines, as well as those interested in social networks. Managers, trade unions, employers’ organizations and state authorities at national and international levels will find it helpful in understanding how networks shape their world.