Pay determination has in recent years been characterized by two major trends in industrial relations: decentralization of bargaining and a shift to variable pay. The aim of this comparative study is partly to analyse how differences in institutional and s ectoral conditions influence the way in which employers try to resolve their conflicting strategic goals with regard to improving performance though incentive-based variable pay, maintaining control over total cost growth, and meeting employee/union deman ds for social justice and participation. The second question refers to the interaction of variable pay systems and collective bargaining. - To what degreee do variable pay systems account for a decline in collective bargaining or changes in the bargaining system's actual grip on pay (i.e. its viability and governance capacity)?
The project involves research institutes in Austria, Norway and the UK, countries that differ in institutional dimensions assumed to influence/shape the management of variable pay systems in the company. Applying a cross-national and cross-sectoral design, the empirical analyses will build on company case-studies based on qualitative interviews with management, employee and union representatives, complemented by documentary eviden ce as well as interviews with the associations of emplyers and unions in two selected sectors: Mechanical engineering and financial services.