The role of shop stewards may vary from being a mere representative of a larger national union towards independent structures with the power of collective bargaining on the workplace.
Both in Germany and Britain shop stewards were crucial in antiwar protests during World War I. In Germany a network of shop stewards called Revolutionary Stewards took an important role in the revolutionary events of November 9 in Berlin.
- John Benson, Unions at the Workplace: Shop Steward Leadership and Ideology, 1991.
- Ralf Hoffrogge, Working-Class Politics in the German Revolution. Richard Müller, the Revolutionary Shop Stewards and the Origins of the Council Movement, Brill Publications 2014, ISBN 978-9-00421-921-2.
- Y. Rittau and T. Dundon, 2010, The roles and functions of shop stewards in workplace partnership: evidence from the Republic of Ireland, Employee Relations, Vol 32(1), p. 10-27.