What are the consequences of a managerial approach to union renewal for union behaviour? A case study of USDAW

Samantha Evans, Amanda Pyman, Iona Byford

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Abstract

Trade union membership losses and declining effectiveness in the United Kingdom (UK) over a sustained period of time have been described as a ‘crisis’ and subsequently, have spurred debate on union revitalisation and renewal (MacDonald, 2014). Following this debate, a reformist discourse has developed with a range of union renewal strategies and responses identified in the literature, predominantly focused on organising, servicing and partnership approaches. Renewal has often been underpinned by one of two theoretical perspectives: institutional determinism, whereby external factors shape the fortune of trade unions; or, strategic choice, whereby unions are influenced and shaped by internal and external factors and can exercise strategic choice in responding to these factors (MacDonald, 2014). Less attention has been directed in the union renewal debate to unions as organisations; their internal management practices, the managerialisation of unions, or the ability of unions to leverage internal resources and practices through strategic choice (Hall, Fiorito, Horn, and Langford, 2011).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-18
Number of pages17
JournalEmployee Relations
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • performance management
  • trade unions
  • managerialism
  • strategic choice
  • union renewal
  • union strategy

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