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Looking for HRM/union substitution: evidence from British workplaces

Machin, Stephen and Wood, Stephen (2004) Looking for HRM/union substitution: evidence from British workplaces. CEPDP (605). London School of Economics and Political Science. Centre for Economic Performance, London, UK. ISBN 0753017067

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In this paper we test the HRM/union substitution hypothesis that human resource management (HRM) practices act as a substitute for unionization. We use British workplace data between 1980 and 1998 which allows us to examine for the first time whether increased HRM incidence has coincided with union decline. First, we compare changes over time in the incidence of HRM practices across union and non-union sectors, finding little cross-time difference occurring between sectors. Second, we ask whether newer workplaces (strongly shown by other research as more likely to be non-union) have experienced differentially faster HRM incidence; we are unable to find much evidence in support of this. Third, longitudinal changes also fail to pick up any evidence of faster union decline in workplaces or industries with faster take up of HRM practices. We find no evidence of HRM substitution operating in the hypothesised way of it replacing unions and conclude that increased HRM incidence does not seem to be an important factor underpinning union decline in Britain.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2004 the authors
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
JEL classification: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J5 - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining > J51 - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2008 09:45
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 22:57

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