Gate Gourmet Forum Europe: A Case Study of a Voluntary European Works Council

Louise McFarley

Student thesis: Master thesis


In this thesis it is examined how home and host countries of an MNC are influencing the functioning its European works council. The research is conducted as a single-case study of the Forum Europe of Gate Gourmet. Lecher et al.’s (2001) typology on EWCs is applied as a theoretical framework to determine the type of the EWC being studied. The primary date for this research is collected through interviews with employee representatives of the EWC and with the management representative. These interviews have been qualitatively analyzed with the aim of establishing an understanding of how the internal and external factors of the EWC influence its functioning and how these factors are influenced by their country of origin. It is found that the differences in the country of origin factors are causing the EWC to be dominated by some employee representatives, which prevents is from creating an internal coherence. This research contributes to an understanding of the necessity of internal coherence as a prerequisite of an EWC’s ability to influence the outcome of transnational decisions made by the central management of an MNC. The research shows that for an EWC to become a strong partner vis-à-vis the central management in the social dialogue within the corporation, an internal coherence among the employee representatives must be developed. If an internal coherence is not developed, the EWC might not become more than a symbolic EWC which may be used by the central management for communicating information to the employees. It is suggested that the internal coherence should be developed through joint training of the employee representatives. Not only may the joint training develop the skills of the employee representative, it is also likely that there may be a spillover effect of the socialization between the EWC members at the joint training on the internal coherence of the EWC. By generating an internal coherence the country of origin differences of the employee representatives may be overcome.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages202