Managerial Perceptions of Works Councils’ Effectiveness in the Netherlands





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    •  All authors are affiliated to Utrecht School of Economics, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; while the first and third author are also affiliated to the Faculty of Applied Economics, Department of Management, University of Antwerp, Antwerp Centre of Evolutionary Demography (ACED), Antwerp, Belgium. E-mail:;; We would like to thank Robbert van het Kaar and Jan Kees Looise for providing the data, and Rob Alessi, Jan Cremers, Werner Nienhüser, four anonymous referees, and the editors of Industrial Relations for their helpful comments. Arjen van Witteloostuijn gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the Odysseus program of the Flemish Science Foundation (FWO).


Although works councils have, by and large, equally extensive legal rights in Germany and the Netherlands, this is the first econometric analysis that investigates the influence of Dutch works councils on firm performance. We use a nationwide Dutch dataset with information on management’s perceptions of the works council’s impact on their establishments’ efficiency and innovation. Inspired by the German study of Jirjahn and Smith (2006, Industrial Relations 45:650–80), we analyze which determinants influence management’s attitude toward employee participation in the Netherlands. Owing to the specifics of our data, we are able to additionally include variables that measure the interaction between management and worker representatives. We establish a preponderant influence emanating from the works council’s role attitude and management’s leadership style.