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

Author

Listed:
  • Alex Bryson
  • Paul Willman
  • Rafael Gomez
  • Tobias Kretschmer

Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • Alex Bryson & Paul Willman & Rafael Gomez & Tobias Kretschmer, 2013. "The Comparative Advantage of Non-Union Voice in B ritain, 1980–2004," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52, pages 194-220, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:indres:v:52:y:2013:i::p:194-220
    DOI: 10.1111/irel.12001
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/10.1111/irel.12001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Willman, Paul & Bryson, Alex, 2007. "Union organization in Great Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19762, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2010. "The Wage Impact of Trade Unions in the UK Public and Private Sectors," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 92-109, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Addison, John T. & Teixeira, Paulino, 2018. "What Do Workers Want? The Shortfall in Employee Participation at the European Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 11506, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. John T. Addison, 2016. "Collective bargaining systems and macroeconomic and microeconomic flexibility: the quest for appropriate institutional forms in advanced economies," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-53, December.
    3. Matsuura, Tsukasa & Noda, Tomohiko, 2017. "Employee representation in japanese family and non-family SMEs," MPRA Paper 81539, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Gregor Murray & Christian Lévesque & Christian Dufour & Adelheid Hege, 2013. "Special Issue. Edited by: Gregor Murray, Christian Lévesque, Christian Dufour and Adelheid Hege," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(4), pages 340-354, July.
    5. Bruce Kaufman, 2014. "Explaining Breadth and Depth of Employee Voice across Firms: A Voice Factor Demand Model," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 296-319, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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