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Opening the black box: actors and interactions shaping European sectoral social dialogue

Bechter, B. and Weber, S. and Galetto, M. and Larsson, B. and Prosser, T. (2021) 'Opening the black box: actors and interactions shaping European sectoral social dialogue.', The European journal of industrial relations., 27 (3). pp. 269-288.


This article highlights the importance of organizational resources and individual capabilities for interactions and relationships among social partners in European sectoral social dialogue committees (SSDCs). We use an actor-centred approach to investigate work programme setting in the hospital and metalworking SSDCs. Our research reveals differences in how European social partner organizations coordinate and integrate members in SSDCs. In hospital, European Union (EU)-social partners build bridges that span otherwise separate actors or groups. The findings suggest that the absence of bridging efforts can lead to the dominance of a few actors. In metalworking, small cohesive groups are more effective in forming close networks and determining work programmes. While work programmes in hospital represent issues which are on national agendas, in metalworking, they focus mainly on EU policy areas.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Date accepted:15 February 2021
Date deposited:19 March 2021
Date of first online publication:16 March 2021
Date first made open access:19 March 2021

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