Questioning Negotiating Skills in Light of the Transformation of Collective Bargaining: Lessons from France and Quebec
In this context the paper questions negotiating skills in light of the transformation of collective bargaining, examining the difficulties that industrial relations actors experience in their daily practices. The paper is based on a comparative study on the cases of France and Quebec, which allows to compare countries with different bargaining structures (longer experience of decentralized bargaining in Quebec than in France) but also to compare how collective bargaining training is diversely thought of and is organized in these contexts. It thus reveals to what extent negotiation is considered (or not) as a professional activity by the very actors who participate in the rounds of negotiations.
The research design combines focus groups and individual interviews with union leaders and negotiators, labor relations experts and human resources managers in the two countries. Three questions are addressed to: How has collective bargaining evolved over the past 10 years in terms of agenda, process and outcomes? What are the impacts of these changes on negotiators’ activities and profession? Which skills are considered necessary to act as a professional negotiator?