Can Strategic Participation Be Institutionalized?: Union Representation on American Corporate Boards

Posted: 18 Aug 1998

See all articles by Larry W. Hunter

Larry W. Hunter

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Management and Human Resources

Abstract

This paper, drawing on interviews conducted in 1989 and 1990 with directors nominated by unions to American corporate boards of directors, shows that union choices in the establishment of board representation in the 1980s reflected union strategy and structure. Those choices, in turn, established conditions that affected the ways in which representation influenced governance. The institutional environment strongly militated against the emergence of interest representation in the boardroom; only an unusual constellation of choices was likely to lead to such pluralist deliberation. The strategic choices of unions were more likely to leave undisturbed the board's traditional function as a vehicle for overseeing shareholders' investment. The effectiveness of the oversight depended further on unions' choices in the establishment of board representation plans, selection of directors, and level of support for directors.

JEL Classification: J53, J54

Suggested Citation

Hunter, Larry (Chip) W., Can Strategic Participation Be Institutionalized?: Union Representation on American Corporate Boards. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=88788

Larry (Chip) W. Hunter (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Management and Human Resources ( email )

Madison, WI
United States

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