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Holding the Shop Together: German Industrial Relations in the Postwar Era Paperback – October 22, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0801478970 ISBN-10: 0801478979 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: ILR Press; 1 edition (October 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801478979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801478970
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Holding the Shop Together represents scholarship at its best; Stephen J. Silvia's immense erudition is visible and palpable in every sentence and every thought. This is far and away the best book on German trade unions and industrial relations bar none, in any language. Silvia tells a complex story and concludes that the fate of unions is decided by the political culture in which they operate."—Andrei Markovits, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies, University of Michigan, author of Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America

"Insiders have known for years that Stephen J. Silvia tracks the progress of the German industrial relations system more fairly and extensively than any other English-language labor expert. This new book marks the culmination of a stalwart career and constitutes the most up-to-date survey of the state of German labor-management relations currently available anywhere. Holding the Shop Together will be valuable both to those uninitiated in the German system as well as to old Germany hands and other experts in comparative political economy. The central, highly original argument that the changes to the system in the last several decades have been so extensive that they effectively constitute a second postwar German labor system will both illuminate and provoke debate."—Gary Herrigel, University of Chicago

"Stephen J. Silvia has a marvelous grasp of what makes the German system of industrial relations tick, along with the ongoing capacity of its actors to 'hold the shop together.' His book provides valuable insights for readers both in Germany and abroad. It is high time for this publication."—Michael Fichter, Freie Universitaet Berlin

About the Author

Stephen J. Silvia is Associate Professor in the School of International Service and Affiliate Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at American University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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This is a most insightful account of why German business - and its composites in history, politics, philosophy and society - is endlessly fascinating. We've heard of postwar Germany as an "economic miracle", the dominance of their "Mittlestand" (SME, small and medium sized enterprises) and to a much lesser extent the legal practice of "Mitbestimmung" (codetermination). What is not commonplace is how each of these is related to something much larger. Stephen Silvia does just that - via insights into German industrial relations (IR).

For readers steeped in Anglo-US perpectives on IR and/or business practices Stephen Silvia offers some remarkable and confronting insights. Here we begin to understand something perhaps unique about the nature of relationships in Germany (at least) between employers and employees, connections to the endlessly demanding enigma that is German history, and the role of the state - both before and after the horrors of WWII. No one word to sum up this work beyond "needed".

Silvia's insights reward those who wonder about what we might learn from studying how others have collectively made sense of employee and employer contests - and in ways that - again for those steeped in entrenched Anglo/US win/lose perspectives - have been of mutual benefit - and better yet, for society more broadly. Idealistic? Ask why we might even think that such an outcome must be "idealistic". Just look at where and why the GFC started and then how Germany was better placed than most not just to cope - but to lead (even if promblematically for others). This is a well planned and presented scholarly work that will reward close reading and reflection. It deserves a diverse audience - especially practitioners and policy wonks.
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