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Dr. Sigurt Vitols Science Center Berlin (WZB). Participation: an asset of Corporate Governance in MNC’s. Does the SE provide an advantage for enterprises and investors?. Presentation prepared for the SEEurope Network Conference, 29-30 November 2004, Brussels. Key Questions for the Study.

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Dr sigurt vitols science center berlin wzb

Dr. Sigurt Vitols

Science Center Berlin (WZB)

Participation: an asset of Corporate Governance in MNC’s. Does the SE provide an advantage for enterprises and investors?

Presentation prepared for the SEEurope Network Conference,

29-30 November 2004, Brussels


Key questions for the study
Key Questions for the Study

  • Internationalization and company change

  • Resulting challenges for HRM

  • Workers’ Participation: The Management View

  • EWC + SE


Study design
Study Design

  • DJ Stoxx 600

  • Postal survey of 165 Companies w/ EWC

  • 63 Replies (38 % Response Rate)

  • 13 In-depth Interviews

  • Access to Lift.com Participants


Internationalization at company level
Internationalization at Company Level

  • Weakening of National HQ vis-a-vis Regional and/or Divisional HQ

  • Regional Production + Sales Strategies

  • Product + process standardization

  • Regional/divisional HRM upgraded

  • Increased Monitoring by Capital Markets + NGOs

  • Uneven Process


Examples of company change
Examples of Company Change

  • Centralization at GM Europe HQ/Detroit

  • BP European HQ in Paris

  • Devolution of responsibility to divisions (e.g. Degussa, Zeneca)

  • Centralization of risk management function in financial services


Challenges for european hrm
Challenges for European HRM

  • Understanding national cultural and legal differences

  • Harmonization of HRM policy which respects national differences

  • Create “real” corporate culture/identity

  • Encourage cross-border mobility of employees

  • Develop truly international management cadre

  • Implementing European legislation (e.g. timely info for EWC)

  • “Think globally and act locally”

  • Increase local control/monitoring w/o increasing bureaucracy

  • CSR/Sustainability/Code Implementation


European employee participation
European Employee Participation

  • 2/3 managers see EWCs positively + have plans for improvement

  • Better communication, acceptance, decisions

  • Decrease in decision speed

  • No “country of origin” effect

  • However: significant minority negative

  • Near-consensus: no negotiating rights, no strengthened Directive


Some benefits of ewcs
Some Benefits of EWCs

  • Upgrading of HR function

  • Discussion of new topics: strategy, finances, health + safety, training

  • From information to consultation

  • Agreements/statements on:

    • Health and safety

    • Sustainable development

    • Social + ethical charters


Enlightened managers ewc future role
Enlightened Managers: EWC future role

  • More confident information conduit

  • More informed consultative body able to act as a genuine interlocutor

  • A serious and active partner

  • A key role in European social dialogue

  • A brainstorming group

  • A platform for a constructive social dialogue and wide-ranging communication


Adoption of se wait and see
Adoption of SE: Wait and See?

  • 8 %: likely to adopt

  • 12 %: “unthinkable”

  • 80 %: “Might be considered but unlikely that it would be adopted”

  • Key issues: taxation, simplification of corporate structure, financial reporting + transparency, employee representation


Participation se possible advantages
Participation + SE: Possible Advantages

  • Upgrading of HRM function

  • Improvement in employee communication + motivation, implementation of change

  • Independent force monitoring management

  • „New“ issues: CSR, transparency, pension funds

  • Role for trade unions?