The Dark Side of Solidarity: Social Norms and Social Relations in the Aftermath of Strikes

20 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2014

See all articles by Kirsten Thommes

Kirsten Thommes

RWTH Aachen University

Agnes Akkerman

Radboud University Nijmegen

René Torenvlied

University of Twente

Marieke Born

Radboud University Nijmegen

Date Written: July 2014

Abstract

This paper studies how employees anticipate change in social relations after a strike in their organisation. We hypothesise that two group norms affect employees' fear that a strike deteriorates the social relations with their colleagues. We distinguish between two different norms associated with a collective action problem such as a strike. A ‘solidarity norm’ prescribes that workers should participate in collective protest when called for. A ‘free rider punishment norm’ describes whether and how violators of the solidarity norm should be treated. While the former itself theoretically does not impact intra‐group social relations, the latter one does. We test our hypotheses on a data set of 468 Dutch union members. Adherence to the free rider punishment norm significantly increases a fear for deterioration of social relations with colleagues after a strike, while adherence to the solidarity norm does not. We also find a moderating effect of expected proportion of strikers. The results are discussed with reference to industrial relations theory and mobilisation theory, further probing into mechanisms that relate social norms to the (anticipated) costs of participation and the quality of social relations after a strike.

Suggested Citation

Thommes, Kirsten and Akkerman, Agnes and Torenvlied, René and Born, Marieke, The Dark Side of Solidarity: Social Norms and Social Relations in the Aftermath of Strikes (July 2014). Industrial Relations Journal, Vol. 45, Issue 4, pp. 348-367, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2472211 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/irj.12063

Kirsten Thommes (Contact Author)

RWTH Aachen University ( email )

Templergraben 55
52056 Aachen, 52056
Germany

Agnes Akkerman

Radboud University Nijmegen ( email )

Postbus 9108
Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands

René Torenvlied

University of Twente

Postbus 217
Twente
Netherlands

Marieke Born

Radboud University Nijmegen

Postbus 9108
Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands

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