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The Swedish Model of Industrial Relations: Self-Regulation and Combined Centralisation-Decentralisation

  • Anders Kjellberg
  • Craig Phelan
Publishing year: 2009
Language: English
Pages: 155-198
Volume: 1
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing Group

Abstract english

The Swedish model of industrial relations is analyzed with respect to some closely related dimensions: collective agreements - legislation, cooperation - confrontation, self-regulation - state regulation and centralisation - decentralisation. Both the historical development and the present state of the model are discussed. In an analytical table the dimension self-regulation - state regulation is combined with the dimension centralisation - decentralisation. A distinction is made between self-regulation on the part of unions AND employers' associations (bipartite self-regulation) and on the other hand on the part of unions OR employers' associations (unilateral self-regulation). By that the four fields of the table are extended to six fields. The development in the last 10-15 years is described as a "new mix of self-regulation and state regulation and of centralisation and decentralisation".


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • arbetsliv
  • sociology
  • state regulation
  • centralisation
  • union movement
  • employer association
  • Saltsjöbaden
  • decentralisation
  • collective agreement
  • global
  • sociologi
  • industrial relations
  • a-kassa
  • trade unions
  • facklig organisationsgrad
  • blue-collar workers
  • union unemployment fund
  • SACO
  • Ghent system
  • fackförening
  • white-collar workers
  • LO
  • svenska modellen
  • fackförbund
  • industrial agreement
  • labour legislation
  • arbetsmarknad
  • co-determination
  • TCO
  • Swedish model
  • self-regulation
  • union density
  • department of sociology
  • sociologiska institutionen
  • centralised bargaining
  • solidaristic wage policy
  • employment protection


  • Union Density in a Global Perspective
  • ISBN: 978-3-03911-410-8
Anders Kjellberg
E-mail: anders [dot] kjellberg [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 88 47



Research projects

Labour Migration, Trade Unions and Employers (FAS/Forte). Anders Kjellberg and Olle Frödin.

Union Density in a Global Perspective Anders Kjellberg

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anders kjellberg's more detailed website in swedish

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Department of Sociology
Lund University
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Faculty of Social Sciences