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The Comparative Advantage of Non-Union Voice in B ritain, 1980–2004

Listed author(s):
  • Alex Bryson
  • Paul Willman
  • Rafael Gomez
  • Tobias Kretschmer

Non-union direct voice has replaced union representative voice as the primary avenue for employee voice in the British private sector. This study explains this development by providing a framework for examining the relationship between employee voice and workplace outcomes. Voice is associated with lower voluntary turnover, especially in the case of union voice. However, union voice is also associated with greater workplace conflict. We argue changes in voice in Britain are not best understood using a simple union/non-union dichotomy. Union effects on workplace outcomes and the incidence of human resource management hinge on whether it coexists at the workplace with non-union voice in what we term a “dual” system. In the first part of the 21st century, these dual voice systems were performing at least as well as non-union only regimes, suggesting that the rise of non-union regimes is attribu` to something other than clear comparative performance advantages over other forms of voice.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/10.1111/irel.12001
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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society.

Volume (Year): 52 (2013)
Issue (Month): (January)
Pages: 194-220

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Handle: RePEc:bla:indres:v:52:y:2013:i::p:194-220
DOI: 10.1111/irel.12001
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0019-8676

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  1. Tobias Kretschmer & Phanish Puranam, 2008. "Integration Through Incentives Within Differentiated Organizations," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 19(6), pages 860-875, December.
  2. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez & Tobias Kretschmer & Paul Willman, 2007. "The diffusion of workplace voice and high-commitment human resource management practices in Britain, 1984–1998," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 395-426, June.
  3. James T. Bennett & Bruce E. Kaufman, 2004. "What Do Unions Do?: A Twenty-Year Perspective," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 339-350, July.
  4. Alex Bryson & John Forth & Simon Kirby, 2005. "High-Involvement Management Practices, Trade Union Representation And Workplace Performance In Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 52(3), pages 451-491, July.
  5. Nick Bloom & Tobias Kretschmer & John Van Reenen, 2011. "Are family-friendly workplace practices a valuable firm resource?," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(4), pages 343-367, April.
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