13 Dec 2022


Sustaining Transactional Collective Action at General Motor Europe

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Academic level: College

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Identity Work: Sustaining Transactional Collective Action at General Motor Europe by Ian Greer 

In this article, the author discusses the conditions under which transactional collective action can be initiated and sustained. Using a case study of General Motors Europe, the author notes that labor leaders had mobilized their workforce to negotiate with management at transactional level many times in the last one decade. The author attributes the use of this collective action to the whipsawing and application of threats over the closure of plants by the management of the organization. Effectively, the organization’s response placed employees in a unique position where they had to find amicable solutions to their needs or concerns. The article then selects a process of “identity work” that the unions used to sustain transactional worker cooperation. 

The author states that General Motors Europe’s response to the labor workforce and their strategies in dealing with the collective bargaining is as a result of the market liberalization that has shaped industrial Europe because of the formation of the European Union. The article posits that the case of General Motors Europe (GME) is an unexpected, but well developed instance of union-oriented transnational collective action and thus, the identity work of union leaders is critical in understanding how labor unions can sustain collective action. The study argues that transnational collective bargaining action persisted because it allowed union leaders to acquire ideas and motive. Further, it allowed the workers to make some gains. Therefore, transnational collective labor action enabled union leaders to frame their interests and identify workers’ problems. It also allowed the unions and their leaders to share norms and goals, strengthened social bonds, and built trust within the Union. Further, based on this model, it was easy to mobilize workers in a broader manner. 

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Greer, I. (2012).”Identity Work: Sustaining Transnational Collective Action at General Motors Europe.” Cornell University ILR School Retrieved from Cornell University ILR School Site: http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1984&context=articles 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Sustaining Transactional Collective Action at General Motor Europe.


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