HIGH-INVOLVEMENT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, TRADE UNION REPRESENTATION AND WORKPLACE PERFORMANCE IN BRITAIN
Article first published online: 8 JUL 2005
Scottish Journal of Political Economy
Volume 52, Issue 3, pages 451–491, July 2005
How to Cite
Bryson, A., Forth, J. and Kirby, S. (2005), HIGH-INVOLVEMENT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, TRADE UNION REPRESENTATION AND WORKPLACE PERFORMANCE IN BRITAIN. Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 52: 451–491. doi: 10.1111/j.0036-9292.2005.00352.x
- Issue published online: 8 JUL 2005
- Article first published online: 8 JUL 2005
- Date of receipt of final manuscript: 10 February 2005.
Debates about Britain's productivity performance have often drawn attention to the roles played by working practices and employment relations. In the 1980s and 1990s, trade unions were a prime focus; more recently, attention has turned to high-involvement management (HIM) practices (also referred to as ‘high-performance work systems’). We combine the two to investigate the relationships between work organisation, trade union representation and workplace performance. We find that HIM has a positive impact on labour productivity. However, this effect is restricted to unionised workplaces, and seems more readily explained by concessionary wage bargaining than ‘mutual gains’, given the absence of any association with financial performance. These findings raise questions about the universal applicability of HIM as a route to improved workplace performance.