Qualitative Sozialforschung




Comparing Interest Representation of Own-Account-Workers

Research Project

The central aim of this research project is to examine the field of interest representation for self-employed people who work without employees. As to the quantity, the meaning of ownaccount-workers has strongly increased during the past decades. In 2014 2.34 million peoplewere self-employed without engaging staff. Especially within the sectors of knowledge-intensive services and liberal professions („Freie Berufe“) (e.g. media, education, counselling, itservices) the relevance of working on one’s own account has grown. Regarding the field of interest representation, own-account-workers find a wide range of organisations and networks with varying claims and interests. These are often competitors in the field of interest representation or operate independently from each. And in many other cases the institutions seek for opportunities for cooperation.

The overview of political positions concerning own-account-workers includes chambers (of craft and of commerce), professional associations, associations for self-employed, initiatives of unions and open networks. Considering the heterogeneity of self-employed work, we focus our research on certain professions which are situated both in traditional and in new occupational fields: Crafts, it-services, care-services, architecture and journalism. We want to compare the relevance of own-account-work within the policy of each organisation. Doing that, we aim to analyse measures and strategies pursued in each institution in order to better the situation of own-account-workers. Further, we strive to examine the relation between associations within the field of interest representation. The empirical approach consist of three methodical techniques:
(1) Based on internet enquiries documents from organisations and networks will be analysed.
(2) Against the background of these evaluations 30 expert interviews will be conducted with representatives of selected associations.
(3) Especially promising measures and initiatives will be compiled in five short case-studies.

The results will allow all corporative actors who represent interests of own-account-workers to clarify their standpoint in means of their services and potentials and their profile in relation to other associations. The results may contribute to strengthen the cooperation between organisations. Further, general requirements for an adequate interest representation will be revealed and brought to awareness for labour and economic policy making. For own-account-workers the field of interest representation will be clarified and courses of action will be pointed out. This may contribute to motivate own-account-workers to actively participate in the representation of their interest.

Project Team

Prof. Dr. Hans J. Pongratz hans.pongratz@soziologie.uni-muenchen.de

Dr. Lisa Abbenhardt lisa.abbenhardt@soziologie.uni-muenchen.de

Viktoria Rösch viktoria.roesch@soziologie.uni-muenchen.de


10/2016 - 09/2017


Hans-Böckler Foundation