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Human resource management as a substitute for trade unions in British workplaces

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  • Stephen Machin
  • Stephen Wood

Abstract

The authors use British workplace data for 1980-98 to examine whether increased human resource management (HRM) practices coincided with union decline, consistent with the hypothesis that such practices act as a substitute for unionization. Two initial analyses show no important differences between union and non-union sectors or between newer workplaces (which are likelier to be non-union) and older ones in the pattern of HRM practices over time; and the study’s longitudinal analysis picks up no evidence of faster union decline in workplaces or industries that adopted HRM practices than in those that did not. Not only is the hypothesized substitution effect thus not supported, but the authors even uncover some evidence of a complementarity between unions and HRM practices. The authors conclude that increased use of HRM practices is probably not an important factor underpinning union decline in Britain. (Free full-text download available at http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/ilrreview/.)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

Volume (Year): 58 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
Pages: 201-218

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:58:y:2005:i:2:p:201-218

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Cited by:
  1. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez & Tobias Kretschmer & P Willman, 2009. "Employee Voice and Private Sector Workplace Outcomes in Britain, 1980-2004," CEP Discussion Papers dp0924, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez & Paul Willman, 2008. "Trading places: employers, unions and the manufacture of voice," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28501, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2008. "What Do Japanese Unions Do for Productivity?: An Empirical Analysis Using Firm-Level Data," Discussion papers 08027, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  4. Annalisa Cristini & Tor Eriksson & Dario Pozzoli, 2013. "High-Performance Management Practices and Employee Outcomes in Denmark," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 60(3), pages 232-266, 07.
  5. Morikawa, Masayuki, 2010. "Labor unions and productivity: An empirical analysis using Japanese firm-level data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 1030-1037, December.

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