Over the last decade, Chinese authorities have pressed foreign multinational companies to recognize official trade unions. Employing cross-classified multilevel modeling on a large data set (10,108 foreign-owned firms cross-embedded in 32 home countries and 755 Chinese cities), this study examines the antecedents of the varied positions of foreign-owned firms toward union recognition around the midpoint of the first decade of the 2000s—a time when the government-led union recognition campaign in China was gaining strength. Drawing on a dual institutional pressure perspective, the authors theorize that the likelihood that a foreign-owned firm will recognize a union depends on both the industrial relations system in the home country and the location of its operations in the host country. Specifically, a foreign-owned firm is more likely to recognize unions if it originated from a nation where the legitimacy of collective representation is high and if it is located in a Chinese city where union recognition is prevalent among Chinese-owned firms.
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