Having the right attitude: cooperation skills and labour law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article deals with the legal understanding of the demands in working life on employees’ability to cooperate. The concept of cooperation ability is here used in the sense of an ability to actively facilitate communication and foster relationships with colleagues and supervisors through flexibility and commitment, and thereby benefit the employer’s business. Special attention is paid to the discourse on employability in the employment policies at the EU level,and on the understanding of cooperation as a field in which it is possible to possess and acquire specific skills. The main aim of the article is to survey and conceptualize the demands on employees’ ability to cooperate in labour law, and to explore a number of important legal questions relating to employees’ ability to cooperate. The purpose is primarily exploratory, in the sense that the article seeks to discern new and special problems confronting labour law as a result of the increased demand for employee’s cooperation at work. To this end the article identifies three important issues: the legal implications of the fact that the employer is free to take the employee’s ability to cooperate into consideration when making work-related decisions, the question of the extent to which the employment contract can be said to include a duty to cooperate, and the legal implications of the fact that employees are sometimes unable to cooperate due to external factors at work. These three issues provide the structural basis for the discussion, which, primarily with the use of examples from the Swedish setting, seeks to identify some key questions in labour law arising out of a legal development that involves an acceptance of stricter requirements on employees’ ability to cooperate.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law


  • social skills, employability, ability to cooperate, duty to cooperate, EU employment policies, labour law, arbetsrätt, EU-rätt, EU law
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-248
JournalInternational Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch