Santanu Sarkar is Associate Professor in XLRI Jamshedpur, School of Business and Human Resources.
Do cultural differences explain differences in attitudes towards unions? Culture and attitudes towards unions among call centre workers in Britain and India
Article first published online: 3 JAN 2014
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Industrial Relations Journal
Volume 45, Issue 1, pages 56–76, January 2014
How to Cite
Sarkar, S. and Charlwood, A. (2014), Do cultural differences explain differences in attitudes towards unions? Culture and attitudes towards unions among call centre workers in Britain and India. Industrial Relations Journal, 45: 56–76. doi: 10.1111/irj.12042
- Issue published online: 20 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 3 JAN 2014
This article adds to the literature on worker attitudes towards unions by investigating the impact of cultural attitudes and the call centre labour process on union attitudes among call centre workers in Britain and India. It is hypothesised that workers with egalitarian and collectivist cultural attitudes will be more likely to have pro-union attitudes than other workers, although if the impact of cultural attitudes is mediated by history and institutions, it might be expected that this relationship is stronger for British than Indian workers. Conversely, if union attitudes are largely a function of the call centre labour process, we would expect union attitudes to be similar among workers in both countries. Our results only partially support our hypotheses. Collectivist attitudes are only weakly related to union attitudes among the British sample but are more strongly related in the Indian sample. There are significant differences between union attitudes among our British and Indian samples. The article concludes that relationship between cultural attitudes and union attitudes are heavily dependent on institutional context. Cultural attitudes are unlikely to be either a constraint or a facilitator of union efforts to organise workers.