Cornell University

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Visiting Fellow Profile

Agnes Akkerman


Country of Origin:  the Netherlands
Visiting Period:  March – June 2011
Faculty Sponsor:  Professor Alex Colvin

Agnes Akkerman is Assistant Professor at the Nijmegen School Management, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She is also a Senior Researcher at the Department of Sociology at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. She is the director of the project on Contagious Industrial Conflict, financed by the Dutch National Science Foundation and the Nijmegen School of Management ( and involves two major research projects. 

The first project studies the conditions under which industrial conflict is contagious or not. The core hypothesis is that industrial conflict produces important strategic information for other unions and employers. It investigates whether waves of industrial conflict result from the transmission of this strategic information. The project studies: (a) the diffusion of strategic information in formal and informal networks of negotiators for unions and employers; (b) worker mobilization by negotiators and mass media; (c) institutional factors that hinder or facilitate the diffusion of strategic information.

The second project focuses on the social consequences of strikes. This project studies the aftermath of industrial conflict. In most strikes, only a portion of employees join and contribute to the collective action, while others remain at work. Those who remain at work are sometimes (physically) hindered by their striking colleagues, and such actions manifest conflicts, and a lack of solidarity between groups of employees.  This all leads to the possibility of long-term fault lines and disrupted relations within the firm. The effects of strikes on work relations are measured using a multi-level, longitudinal design.

At ILR she will be working on several manuscripts on worker mobilization and will be developing questionnaires on counter mobilization by the employer during (potential) strikes. Together with the members of her research team in the Netherlands she will work on the design of several game theoretical experiments on collective bargain and free rider punishment.  Another topic discussed in her work is the damages of strikes and work stoppages, more specifically, to the careers of employees and their relationships at work.  

- Agnes Akkerman