IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Trading Places: Employers, Unions and the Manufacture of Voice

  • Alex Bryson
  • Rafael Gomez
  • P Willman

Using nationally representative workplace data for Britain we show that over the last quarter century union voice - especially union-only voice - has been associated with poorer climate, more industrial action, poorer financial performance and poorer labour productivity than nonunion voice and, in particular, direct voice. On the other hand, union-based voice regimes have experienced lower quit rates than non-union and "no voice" regimes, as theory predicts. Over that time, while the workplace incidence of voice has remained constant, with roughly 8 workplaces out of 10 providing some form of voice, there has been a big shift from union to non-union voice, particularly direct employer-made voice. Thus employers are prepared generally to bear the costs of voice provision and manifest a reluctance to engage with their workforce without voice mechanisms in place. The associations between non-union voice mechanisms and desirable workplace outcomes suggest that these costs may be lower than the benefits voice generates.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0884.

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0884
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Alex Bryson & Paul Willman & Rafael Gomez & Tobias Kretschmer, 2007. "Employee Voice and Human Resource Management: An Empirical Analysis using British Data," PSI Research Discussion Series 27, Policy Studies Institute, UK.
  2. Stephen Machin & Stephen Wood, 2005. "Human resource management as a substitute for trade unions in British workplaces," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(2), pages 201-218, January.
  3. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez, 2003. "Why have workers stopped joining unions?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20022, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Alex Bryson & Richard B. Freeman, 2006. "Worker Needs and Voice in the US and the UK," NBER Working Papers 12310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Paul Willman & Alex Bryson, 2007. "Union organization in Great Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19762, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0884. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.