In order to explore the coordination of collective bargaining from a relational point of view, the NETWIR project will apply the methodology and analytical tools of social networks. Social network analysis comprise theories and methods of investigating structural relations among social actors and explaining social outcomes as the result of connections at the individual, subgroup, and complete network levels of analysis.

The relational view on coordination pays attention to the actual roles and interactions of actors, not their formal attributions in the collective bargaining structure. Social network methods are particularly well suited for dealing with multiple levels of analysis and multi-modal data structures, as is the case in collective bargaining systems in most EU countries. In particular, two-mode networks provide a specific type of network where actors are embedded in networks (organisations) that are embedded in networks (collective bargaining institutions).