Franz Urban Pappi, Willi Schnorpfeil, David Knoke, Jeffrey Broadbent, Yutaka Tsujinaka
Blockmodels as Power Structure Images. The German, American and Japanese Labor Policy Domains Compared

Arbeitsbereich II; 02
ISSN: 0948-0080

In this article the power structures of the German, American and Japanese Labor Policy Domains in the 1980s are analysed and compared with methods of network analysis. Policy domains are viewed as (empirical) subsystems of a polity, identifiable by a substantively defined criterion of mutual relevance among a set of consequential actors concerned with formulating, advocating, and selecting courses of action. Labor policy itself is defined as the governmental regulation of industrial relations and social policies for employees. The networks of the three policy domains consist of public and private corporate actors such as parties, ministries, labor unions, employer organizations and public interest groups. The power structure of the policy domains is conceptualized in the line of power-dependence theory as an underlying dimension of three networks, namely power reputation, information exchange and coalition network. To these networks a blockmodel analysis is applied to derive similar power positions from the different network relations, thereby abstracting from decision making institutions and procedures. The theoretical framework to develop hypotheses and to interpret the results is provided by pluralist and corporatist theories of interest mediation. These two approaches serve as polarized guidelines about how network relations might be organized in political systems which are functioning in one of these ways. The results of the analysis support the interpretation that the Japanese labor policy domain can be identified as a corporatist and consensus system, whereas the American system can be described as a class polarized system with a pluralist way of political integration. The German power structure will be labelled as the architecture of complexity due to the special role of the mandatory social insurance organizations and certain aspects of the German governmental system. As a general result we argue that the public actors play a very important role in all three domains and that the outcomes of elections and the majorities of the parties in the legislature or the composition of the administration is very crucial for the understanding of interest mediation and authoritative decisions within these domains.