Employee Involvement in Workplace Governance Post-Collective Bargaining

19 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 1999

See all articles by Stephen M. Bainbridge

Stephen M. Bainbridge

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: October 13, 1999


Prepared for a festschrift in honor of Philip Selznick, this essay looks back at his 1969 book Law, Society, and Industrial Justice. The focus is on employee participation in corporate decisionmaking. Taking an interdisciplinary approach (law and sociology), Selznick treats employee involvement as a means to an end; namely, industrial justice. In this model, employee participation is channeled through the collective bargaining system, especially the grievance arbitration process. Participation through such means is desirable, Selznick posits, because it promotes employee self-actualization, confers legitimacy on the enterprise, and protects employees from opportunism. Although acknowledging that LSIJ was an important scholarly work, this essay argues that the decline of private sector collective bargaining and the move towards alternative forms of participatory management calls into question the continuing vitality of Selznick's argument. The essay concludes that a transaction costs economics-based approach to employee involvement is far more revealing than Selznick's sociology-based model, in that it offers generalized predictions about the function of employee involvement that have proven explanatory over time.

JEL Classification: B31, J50, K31

Suggested Citation

Bainbridge, Stephen Mark, Employee Involvement in Workplace Governance Post-Collective Bargaining (October 13, 1999). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=183869 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.183869

Stephen Mark Bainbridge (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

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