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Trading places: employers, unions and the manufacture of voice

Bryson, Alex and Gomez, Rafael and Willman, Paul (2008) Trading places: employers, unions and the manufacture of voice. CEP Discussion Paper, No. 884. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. ISBN 9780853282914

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Identification Number: No. 884


Using nationally representative workplace data for Britain we show that over the last quarter century union voice – especially union-only voice – has been associated with poorer climate, more industrial action, poorer financial performance and poorer labour productivity than nonunion voice and, in particular, direct voice. On the other hand, union-based voice regimes have experienced lower quit rates than non-union and “no voice” regimes, as theory predicts. Over that time, while the workplace incidence of voice has remained constant, with roughly 8 workplaces out of 10 providing some form of voice, there has been a big shift from union to non-union voice, particularly direct employer-made voice. Thus employers are prepared generally to bear the costs of voice provision and manifest a reluctance to engage with their workforce without voice mechanisms in place. The associations between non-union voice mechanisms and desirable workplace outcomes suggest that these costs may be lower than the benefits voice generates.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 The authors
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Sets: Research centres and groups > Employment Relations and Organisational Behaviour Group
Departments > Management
Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Series: Working Papers > CEP Discussion Papers
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2010 15:45
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2012 10:19

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