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Individual Voice in Employment Relationships: A Comparison Under Different Forms of Workplace Representation

  • David Marsden

This article considers the role of individual employee voice in regulating the 'zone of acceptance' within the employment relationship, and examines the extent to which different models of collective voice inhibit or foster the operation of individual voice. It focuses especially on the role of representatives who deal with job-level grievances who operate within contrasted frameworks of collective voice. In one, representation is negotiated with the employer, and in the other, it is based on rights established in employment law. The former is commonly associated with shop stewards and unions, and the latter with employee delegates and works councils. It is argued that whereas in the negotiated model individual and collective voice are substitutes, in the rights-based one they are complements. The article also considers how this may alter under dual-channel representation based on both unions and councils, which is very common in European workplaces. Britain provides an example of the negotiated model, and France of both the rights-based and dual-channel models. These ideas are tested using data from the 2004 British and French workplace employment relations surveys, and confirmed using data from the 1998 surveys.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1070.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1070
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Alex Bryson & Lorenzo Cappellari & Claudio Lucifora, 2003. "Does union membership really reduce job satisfaction?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20045, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Addison, John T. & Belfield, Clive R., 2007. "The Determinants of Performance Appraisal Systems: A Note (Do Brown and Heywood’s Results for Australia Hold Up for Britain?)," IZA Discussion Papers 3065, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Linn Van Dyne & Isabel C. Botero, 2003. "Conceptualizing Employee Silence and Employee Voice as Multidimensional Constructs," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(6), pages 1359-1392, 09.
  4. Richard B. Freeman, 1980. "Unionism and the Dispersion of Wages," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(1), pages 3-23, October.
  5. Karen E. Boroff & David Lewin, 1997. "Loyalty, Voice, and Intent to Exit a Union Firm: A Conceptual and Empirical Analysis," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(1), pages 50-63, October.
  6. David Card & Thomas Lemieux & W. Craig Riddell, 2004. "Unions and Wage Inequality," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(4), pages 519-562, October.
  7. Keith A. Bender & Peter J. Sloane, 1998. "Job Satisfaction, Trade Unions, and Exit-Voice Revisited," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(2), pages 222-240, January.
  8. John Benson, 2000. "Employee Voice in Union and Non-union Australian Workplaces," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 38(3), pages 453-459, 09.
  9. Rosemary Batt & Alexander J.S. Colvin & Jeffrey Keefe, 2002. "Employee Voice, Human Resource Practices, and Quit Rates: Evidence from the Telecommunications Industry," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(4), pages 573-594, July.
  10. Francis Green, 2008. "Leeway for the Loyal: A Model of Employee Discretion," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 46(1), pages 1-32, 03.
  11. Bill Harley, 2001. "Team Membership and the Experience of Work in Britain: An Analysis of the WERS98 Data," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 15(4), pages 721-742, December.
  12. Riccardo Peccei & Hyun-Jung Lee, 2005. "The Impact of Gender Similarity on Employee Satisfaction at Work: A Review and Re-Evaluation," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(8), pages 1571-1592, December.
  13. Clive R. Belfield & John S. Heywood, 2004. "Do HRM Practices Influence the Desire for Unionization? Evidence across Workers, Workplaces, and Co-Workers for Great Britain," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(2), pages 279-300, April.
  14. Michelle Brown & John S. Heywood, 2005. "Performance Appraisal Systems: Determinants and Change," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(4), pages 659-679, December.
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