Employers’ organizations’ central role in social dialogue at national and supra-national levels is advocated and supported by supranational institutions. Yet some of the organizations, particularly outside Western Europe, face considerable membership and revenue generation challenges. West European national employers’ organizations are used extensively as models of ‘best practice’ for their counterparts in the developing world and especially in Central and Eastern Europe. This article examines how far West European models can be used in this way. International data are analysed to suggest that Western European models should only be used as exemplars under strict conditions, as a more context-sensitive approach is required. Moreover, measures based on high levels of state support may threaten organizational independence
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