High-Involvement Management Practices, Trade Union Representation and Workplace Performance in Britain

41 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2005

See all articles by Alex Bryson

Alex Bryson

UCL; National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)

John Forth

National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)

Simon Kirby

National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Bryson, Alex and Forth, John and Kirby, Simon, High-Involvement Management Practices, Trade Union Representation and Workplace Performance in Britain. Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 451-491, July 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=758635

Alex Bryson (Contact Author)

UCL ( email )

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National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) ( email )

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John Forth

National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) ( email )

2 Dean Trench Street
Smith Square
London SW1P 3HE
United Kingdom

Simon Kirby

National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) ( email )

2 Dean Trench Street
Smith Square
London SW1P 3HE
United Kingdom

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