(Boyd, 2002) pointed quoted a point from (The Copenhagen Centre for Partnership Studies,2002) stating that Social Partners and Social Partnership can be defined as:.
Social Partnership can be defined as a tri or multi-partite arrangement involving employers, trade unions, public authorities (the state and/or local/regional authorities) and/or others (e.g. voluntary sector). Social partnership is usually concerned with areas of economic and social policy and might be based on a binding agreement or declaration of intent. (The Copenhagen Centre for Partnership Studies, 2002). Social Partners is the term used to designate the representative organisations of trade unions and employers. Quoted from (Boyd, 2002) he cites (Hyman 2001) stating that the term social partnership originated in the German language, first characterising the collective actors in industrial relations as Sozialpartner and then specifying a broader concept of Sozialpartnerschaft . It then goes onto say that the first usage appears to have been in Austria. .
(Citizens Information, 2013) stated that Social partnership is the process by which the Government, employers, voluntary and community organizations and trade unions work out a plan that covers wages, industrial action, housing, transport, education and other issues that affect the country's social and economic development. The concept implies that trade unions and employers have significant areas of common interest and that their differences are susceptible to resolution through building consensus (Boyd, 2002). Social Partnership does not necessarily require an institutional setting and can be described as a mode of policy making characterized by actively seeking compromise (Boyd, 2002). As it relates to countries implementing this Social partnership practice, (Murphy, 2002) emphasized in this journal that the governance methods within Ireland involves the Social partnership model which is based on employer's, trade unions and farmers since 1987.