We would like to thank participants at the Academy of Management workplace voice symposium Anaheim, 2008; sponsors of the Workplace Employment Relations Survey (Department for Business, Acas, ESRC and PSI), and the UK Data Archive for access to the WERS data; and the Finnish Work Environment Fund (grant No. 108294).
The Comparative Advantage of Non-Union Voice in Britain, 1980–2004
Article first published online: 20 DEC 2012
© 2012 Regents of the University of California
Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society
Special Issue: EMPLOYEE REPRESENTATION IN NON-UNION FIRMS
Volume 52, Issue Supplement s1, pages 194–220, January 2013
How to Cite
Bryson, A., Willman, P., Gomez, R. and Kretschmer, T. (2013), The Comparative Advantage of Non-Union Voice in Britain, 1980–2004. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, 52: 194–220. doi: 10.1111/irel.12001
JEL: J24; J51; J52; J53; J63
- Issue published online: 20 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 20 DEC 2012
- Finnish Work Environment Fund. Grant Number: 108294
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.