What Determined Employer Voice Choice in Britain in the 20th Century? A Critique of the 'Sound of Silence' Model

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Andy Charlwood

Andy Charlwood

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS)

Date Written: May 2006

Abstract

In this paper I critique and then develop Willman, Bryson and Gomez's (2006) 'Sound of Silence' model of employer voice choice. I argue that the original cost/benefits based model, while potentially very useful, particularly for investigating cross-sectional variation in the incidence of voice, is curiously ill equipped to explain variation in voice arrangements over time. This shortcoming is the result of the failure to state explicitly some of the key determinants of the costs and benefits of employer voice choice, namely union power and political economic organisation. I demonstrate how these variables have influenced the development of voice arrangements in Britain over the course of the last century and argue that as a result of these constraints, employer voice choice is often no choice at all.

JEL Classification: J5

Suggested Citation

Charlwood, Andrew, What Determined Employer Voice Choice in Britain in the 20th Century? A Critique of the 'Sound of Silence' Model (May 2006). Socio-Economic Review, Vol. 4, Issue 2, pp. 301-309, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=922896 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwl011

Andrew Charlwood (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

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University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS) ( email )

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