Unions and Establishment Performance: Evidence from the British Workplace Industrial/Employee Relations Surveys
An interesting aspect of British research on unions based on the Workplace Industrial/ Employment Relations Surveys has been the apparent shift in union impact on establishment performance in the decade of the 1990s compared with the 1980s – and the recent scramble to explain the phenomenon. In this contribution, we chart these changes along the dimensions of financial performance, labor productivity, employment, quits, absenteeism, industrial relations climate, and plant closings. Using the most recent workplace survey, we also investigate the controversial notion that union influence is positive where unions are strong and is negative where unions are weak. This notion, encountered in recent research in Britain (and Germany), emphasizes the benefits of the collective voice of unions, arguing that this voice is only 'heard' when the union is strong or a credible agent. We examine this contention for a fuller array of definitions of union influence and workplace performance measures. Overall, our discussion reveals some evidence that is consistent with reduced bargaining power in the wake of anti-union reform measures and heightened product market competition. On the other hand, there is little support for the recherché notion that stronger unions have a beneficial impact, yet weaker ones do not.
|Date of creation:||Mar 2002|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published in: Phanindra V. Wunnava (ed.), The Changing Role of Unions: New Forms of Representation, Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, April 2004|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
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.:
- Martin J. Conyon & Richard B. Freeman, 2002.
"Shared modes of compensation and firm performance: UK evidence,"
LSE Research Online Documents on Economics
20060, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Martin Conyon & Richard B. Freeman, 2004. "Shared Modes of Compensation and Firm Performance U.K. Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 109-146 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Martin J. Conyon & Richard B. Freeman, 2001. "Shared Modes of Compensation and Firm Performance: UK Evidence," NBER Working Papers 8448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Martin J. Conyon & Richard Freeman, 2002. "Shared Modes of Compensation and Firm Performance: UK Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp0560, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Olaf H¸bler & Uwe Jirjahn, 2003.
"Works Councils and Collective Bargaining in Germany: The Impact on Productivity and Wages,"
Scottish Journal of Political Economy,
Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(4), pages 471-491, 09.
- Hübler, Olaf & Jirjahn, Uwe, 2001. "Works Councils and Collective Bargaining in Germany: The Impact on Productivity and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 322, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Blanchflower, David G & Millward, Neil & Oswald, Andrew J, 1991. "Unionism and Employment Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 815-34, July.
- Booth, Alison L & McCulloch, Andrew, 1999. "Redundancy Pay, Unions and Employment," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 67(3), pages 346-66, June.
- Machin, Stephen J, 1991.
"The Productivity Effects of Unionization and Firm Size in British Engineering Firms,"
London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(232), pages 479-90, November.
- Machin, S.J., 1988. "The Productivity Effects Of Unionisation And Firm Size In British Engineering Firms," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 293, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Alex Bryson, 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.
- Alex Bryson, 2002. "The Union Membership Wage Premium: An Analysis Using Propensity Score Matching," CEP Discussion Papers dp0530, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Stephen Machin, 2000.
"Union Decline in Britain,"
British Journal of Industrial Relations,
London School of Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 631-645, December.
- Blanchflower, D-G, 1997.
"Changes Over Time in Union Relative Wage Effects in Great Britain and the United States,"
15, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
- David G. Blanchflower, 1997. "Changes Over Time in Union Relative Wage Effects in Great Britain and the United States," NBER Working Papers 6100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alan Manning, 1991.
"Pre-Strike Ballots and Wage-Employment Bargaining,"
CEP Discussion Papers
dp0019, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Machin, Stephen & Stewart, Mark, 1996.
"Trade Unions and Financial Performance,"
Oxford Economic Papers,
Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 213-41, April.
- Sue Fernie & David Metcalf, 1995. "Participation, Contingent Pay, Representation and Workplace Performance: Evidence from Great Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 33(3), pages 379-415, 09.
- McNabb, Robert & Whitfield, Keith, 1998. "The Impact of Financial Participation and Employee Involvement on Financial Performance," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 45(2), pages 171-87, May.
- Stewart, Mark B, 1995. "Union Wage Differentials in an Era of Declining Unionization," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(2), pages 143-66, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp455. 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: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.