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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
Publication/Series: Trade Unionism since 1945: Towards a Global History : Volume 1: Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East
Volume: 1
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing Group
Additional info: Anders Kjellbergs hemsida This book is one of two volumes on the history of trade unionism from a global perspective. It contains chapters on a number of countries in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It is publihed as volume 1 in the series Trade Unions Past, Present and Future. Mer information om boken ERRATA: The Swedish Mediation Office (Mediation Institute) was founded in the year 2000 (not in 2001 as mentioned at pp. 156, 164 and 185).

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

Google Scholar Citations

Department of Sociology
Lund University
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Faculty of Social Sciences