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Its a Family Affair: the Effect of Union Recognition and Human Resource Management on the Provision of Equal Opportunities in the UK

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  • Sue Fernie
  • Helen Gray

Abstract

Equal opportunities policies and family-friendly practices are examined using data from the 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey in order to assess (i) their associations with union recognition and strategic human resource management and (ii) the outcomes of what has recently been described as 'tinkering around' for women at work. We find that, controlling for various factors, equal opportunities policies and their monitoring, together with 'softer' family-friendly policies are strongly associated with trade union recognition. On the other hand, we find that a number of both 'hard' and 'soft' Human Resource Management (HRM) policies are strongly associated with flexible working practices. Employees are least likely to have access to equal opportunities and family-friendly policies in workplaces which do not recognise a union or use HRM practices, and we present evidence to suggest that this is the worst option for the employer in terms of workplace performance, as well as for those with family responsibilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Sue Fernie & Helen Gray, 2002. "Its a Family Affair: the Effect of Union Recognition and Human Resource Management on the Provision of Equal Opportunities in the UK," CEP Discussion Papers dp0525, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0525
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nickell, Stephen & Nunziata, Luca & Ochel, Wolfgang & Quintini, Glenda, 2001. "The Beveridge curve, unemployment and wages in the OECD from the 1960s to the 1990s - preliminary version," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20113, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    3. Editors : & David Marsden & Hugh Stephenson, 2001. "Labour Law and Social Insurance in the New Economy: A Debate on the Supiot Report," CEP Discussion Papers dp0500, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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    1. Gray, Helen, 2002. "Family-friendly working: what a performance! An analysis of the relationship between the availability of family-friendly policies and establishment performance," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20082, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 2002. "The structure of wages in what should be a competitive labour market," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20080, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Mueller, Elisabeth & Spitz, Alexandra, 2001. "Managerial ownership and firm performance in German small and medium-sized enterprises," ZEW Discussion Papers 01-72, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    4. Richard Dickens & Alan Manning, 2004. "Has the national minimum wage reduced UK wage inequality?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 167(4), pages 613-626, November.
    5. Belfield, Richard & Marsden, David, 2002. "Matchmaking: the influence of monitoring environments on the effectiveness of performance pay systems," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3636, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Schmitt, John & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2002. "Give PC's a chance: personal computer ownership and the digital divide in the United States and Great Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20086, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Bayoumi, Tamim & Haacker, Markus, 2002. "It's Not What You Make, It's How You Use IT: Measuring the Welfare Benefits of the IT Revolution Across Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 3555, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan & Rahman, Lupin, 2002. "Where the minimum wage bites hard: the introduction of the UK national minimum wage to a low wage sector," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20070, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Bryson, Alex, 2002. "The union membership wage premium: an analysis using propensity score matching," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4953, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Mann, Catherine L. & Meade, Ellen E., 2002. "Home bias, transactions costs, and prospects for the Euro: A more detailed analysis," Research Notes 6, Deutsche Bank Research.
    11. Wolf, Elke & Heinze, Anja, 2007. "How to Limit Discrimination? Analyzing the Effects of Innovative Workplace Practices on Intra-Firm Gender Wage Gaps Using Linked Employer-Employee Data," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-077, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    12. Chiang Hui-Yu & Noriaki Mamiko Takeuchi, 2008. "The effect of work-life balance policies on women employees turnover," OSIPP Discussion Paper 08E008, Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University.
    13. Manacorda, Marco & Moretti, Enrico, 2002. "Intergenerational transfers and household structure: why do most Italian youths live with their parents?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20078, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Workplace governance; equal opportunities; family-friendly; trade unions; human resource management;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation

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