Utilitair individualisme en vakbondsparticipatie in Vlaanderen | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 26, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0169-2216
  • E-ISSN: 2468-9424


Utilitarian individualism and union participation in Flanders

Utilitarian individualism and union participation in Flanders

This study investigates an assumed consequence of the individualization of the labour market: utilitarian individualism. How did this attitude evolve in Flanders between 1996 and 2007 and what influence did it have on union participation and associations in general? To answer these questions, data of the yearly Social Cultural Changes surveys, which are requested by the Flemish Government, were analysed. Each year about 1500 people complete the survey. The results were in line with previous research, that in general, members of an association have lower utilitarian individualism than non-members. The unions were, however, an exception to the rule. Utilitarian individualism did not predict, directly or indirectly, union membership. This missing relationship might be the result of the fact that there is no serious alternative for the unions in Flanders. Hence, unions do not have to fear that utilitarian individualism might impact part of their power base, i.e., the amount of members they represent. Moreover, utilitarian individualism has been declining in Flanders since 1999 and is therefore not necessarily a consequence of the increased individualization of the labour market.


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