May 19, 2016
Up to now, little has been known about the character of social relations between employees of German and of foreign origin in industrial workplaces. Based empirically on interviews, group discussions, and a standardized survey this article examines these relations. It suggests that a co-operative form of interaction predominates. Origin-related discrimination and conflicts do indeed occur, but they are rare. In addition to the effects of the conformity induced by work-process related command and control, it is, in particular, day-to-day interactions in the work process foster mutual acceptance among employees. In general, one can speak of a predominantly successful social integration in the firms investigated. However, these co-operative relations are largely restricted to the workplace. Cultural and political differences are not taken up internally, but excluded from the social space of work. Therefore, differences remain latent in the background. In cases of exceptional conflict situations, which sometimes occur, excluded differences become manifest and contribute to a temporary collapse of collegiality.