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Welfare Beyond the Welfare State

The Employment Relationship in Britain and Germany

  • Utilises a comparative approach, taking the current situation in Germany and the UK as two key cases in comparative political economy

  • Proposes that the study of employment based welfare is placed at the core of analyses of welfare societies

  • Demonstrates the roles employee welfare can play for companies and workers, and how it has changed throughout modern history


About this book


This book examines employee welfare in British and German companies from the 19th century through to the present day. Tracing the history of employee welfare, this comparative study reveals new issues beyond the dominant focus on the welfare state, showing that companies are an integral part of welfare systems with surprisingly few differences between the UK and Germany. Maintaining that employee welfare is a key feature of the modern employment relationship, Behling shows how the welfare programme supported industrialisation in the 19th century by cementing the standard employment model of the Fifties and Sixties, as well as how it revolves around corporate social responsibility today. The result is an innovative exploration into the changing nature of employment relationships, contemporary welfare systems, and the co-evolutionary - rather than categorical - development of economic and political institutions. An engaging  and well-researched text, this book will hold special appeal to scholars of social policy, welfare politics, as well as anyone interested in the role of the state in people’s working lives.


Social policy Work Sociology in-work welfare Capitalism United Kingdom austerity politics welfare state Germany Employee welfare Fordist employment model mass employment industrialisation post-war era corporate housing programmes health-care facilities governmental welfare benefits exploitation Trade unions

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Sociological Research Institute (SOFI)GöttingenGermany

About the authors

Felix Behling is a senior researcher at the Sociological Research Institute Göttingen (SOFI), Germany. He is co-editor of The Changing Worlds and Workplaces of Capitalism (Palgrave, 2015).

Bibliographic information


“What makes this book unique in comparison to other books on the welfare topic is that it takes the employment relationship as the base and employers, especially the founders of the business, as the main actors, rather than, as found in traditional works, identifying the ‘state as the main actor alongside a few other institutional organisations’ … .” (Abhishek, European Journal of Social Security, Vol. 22 (1), 2020)