Precarious Associational Power

Reflections on the Power Resources of Employers’ Associations Illustrated by the Example of the German Metal and Electrical Industry


  • Felix Syrovatka Free University of Berlin



This article examines the transformation of employers’ associations in the German metal and electrical industry from the perspective of the power resources approach. It argues that, as a result of changing economic conditions and the decline of trade union countervailing power, the institutional power resources of employers’ associations have been relativised, which in turn has led to a reassessment of employers’ associations by capital. Employers’ associations have responded by extending exclusive services to their members. Using the power resources approach, the article makes a concrete determination of the relationship between companies and employers’ associations. In doing so, the article contributes to a better understanding of the function, role and development of employers’ associations. At the same time, it contributes to the debate on the further development of the power resources approach and its extension to the analysis of employers’ power.