Paradoxes of internationalization

British and German trade unions at Ford and General Motors 1967–2000

By Thomas Fetzer

Paradoxes of internationalization

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8097-5
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £70.00
  • Published Date: September 2012
  • BIC Category: Politics, Political science & theory, Political parties, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties, Society & social sciences / Political science & theory
  • Series: Critical Labour Movement Studies


Paradoxes of internationalization deals with British and German trade union responses to the internationalization of corporate structures and strategies at Ford and General Motors between the late 1960s and the early twenty-first century. The book is based on research in numerous archives in Britain, Germany and the United States.

The book points to the paradoxical effects of internationalization processes. First, it demonstrates how internationalization reinforced trade unions' national identities and allegiances. Second, the book highlights that internationalization made domestic trade union practices more similar in some respects, while it simultaneously contributed to the re-creation of diversity between and within the two countries. Third, the book shows that investment competition was paradoxically the most important precondition for the emergence of cross-border cooperation initiatives.

The book will be of interest to academics and students in a range of disciplines from comparative industrial relations, to international political economy, business studies and transnational history.


"This is a fascinating study of the transition in Britian and German unions as they responded to the increased competition for investment in the European automobile industry"

(Wayne Lewchuk; Labour/Le Travail, Volume 73 Spring 2014)


Thomas Fetzer is Assistant Professor in European Studies at Central European University, Budapest.



1. German and British Trade Unions at Ford and General Motors: the local and national contexts

2. Geocentric Internationalization: A new challenge for German and British trade unions at Ford and General Motors

3. Internationalization and the paradox of economic nationalism

4. Internationalization and the paradox of domestic trade union practices

5. Internationalization and the paradox of cross-border trade union cooperation


Sign up to our newsletter
and receive 20% off all future book orders