The Revitalization of the Cwa: Integrating Collective Bargaining, Political Action, and Organizing

18 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2003 Last revised: 20 Feb 2013

See all articles by Harry C. Katz

Harry C. Katz

Cornell University - School of Industrial and Labor Relations

Rosemary Batt

Cornell University - School of Industrial and Labor Relations

Jeffrey Keefe

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Management and Labor Relations

Abstract

This case study of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) demonstrates the value of resource dependence and contingency organizational theories - two branches of organization theory, which has most commonly been used to interpret firm behavior - for analyzing union revitalization. Consistent with predictions of those theories, the CWA responded to a changed environment by abandoning strategies that no longer achieved organizational objectives, but retaining and bolstering strategies that continued to be effective. Furthermore, like the organizations analyzed in Jeffrey Pfeffer and Gerald Salancik's classic exposition of resource dependency theory, in the face of heightened environmental complexity and uncertainty the CWA used political action, growth strategies, and inter-organizational linkages to gain advantage. The CWA conformed to another prediction of contingency theory by using an integration strategy - specifically, by making simultaneous and interactive use of activities in collective bargaining, politics, and organizing - to spur innovation and respond to environmental complexity and uncertainty.

Keywords: collective bargaining, industrial relations, union revitalization, union organizing

JEL Classification: J5, J51, J53, J58

Suggested Citation

Katz, Harry C. and Batt, Rosemary and Keefe, Jeffrey, The Revitalization of the Cwa: Integrating Collective Bargaining, Political Action, and Organizing. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 56, No. 4, July 2003, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=424961

Harry C. Katz (Contact Author)

Cornell University - School of Industrial and Labor Relations ( email )

293 Ives Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
United States
607-255-3230 (Phone)
607-255-0107 (Fax)

Rosemary Batt

Cornell University - School of Industrial and Labor Relations ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
United States
607-254-4437 (Phone)
607-255-1836 (Fax)

Jeffrey Keefe

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Management and Labor Relations ( email )

50 Labor Center Way
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States
732-932-1749 (Phone)
732-932-8677 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
8
Abstract Views
907
PlumX Metrics