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High-involvement work practices and employee bargaining power

Guy, Frederick (2003) High-involvement work practices and employee bargaining power. Employee Relations 25 (5), pp. 453-469. ISSN 0142-5455.

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High-involvement work practices may empower employees to their jobs better, and also empower them at the bargaining table. This paper considers whether non-universal adoption of productivity-enhancing work practices may, at least in part, be explained by this dual nature of empowerment. It examines the case of a customer service program in the Northern California division of Safeway stores, its effect on the outcome of a strike against Safeway, and the subsequent pattern of adoption (and non-adoption) of similar programs among Safeway's competitors. The empirical contribution of this paper comes from ten semi-structured interviews with Safeway employees who are United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) members, UFCW officers who deal with Safeway, and former managers of stores competing with Safeway. It concludes that the dual nature of empowerment can help explain the apparent paradox posed by empirical studies; that although work practices improve the performance of all sorts of organizations, most organizations do not adopt high involvement work practices.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): collective bargaining, customer services, employee empowerment, strikes, lockouts, trade unions
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Business, Economics & Informatics > Management
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2007
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:15

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