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Multinationals' heaven? Uncovering and understanding worker responses to multinational companies in post-communist Central Europe

Guglielmo Meardi
International Journal of Human Resource Management, 17, 8, 1366-1378

Abstract

The article critically discusses the view that the new EU member states, due to their weakly organized industrial relations, provide a permissive environment allowing multinational companies to unilaterally implement their human resource management strategies. After describing the labour cost motivations of foreign investors and the weakness of organized labour in the region, the paper presents empirical evidence from case studies in the automotive sector in Poland, Hungary and Slovenia. All case studies confirm the existence of nationally specific, mostly informal forms of employee resistance limiting employer freedom, as well as some appearance of cross-border forms of resistance. Conclusions are drawn with regard to current debates on social dumping and Europeanization of industrial relations, stressing the value of bottom-up, shopfloor-sensitive approaches.