Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations

ISBN: 978-0-76231-152-1, eISBN: 978-1-84950-305-1

ISSN: 0742-6186

Publication date: 30 December 2004


Since the 1980s the U.S. has experienced a variety of partnership arrangements between labor and management focused on improving industrial relations and organizational performance (Ichniowski et al., 1996; Kochan et al., 1986; McKersie, 2002; Rubinstein & Kochan, 2001). Yet there is an absence of research comparing these partnerships across industries and evaluating the factors that: (a) contribute to their success; (b) seem to be barriers to achieving their stated goals; or (c) predict which ones will stand the test of time. (For exceptions see Preuss & Frost, forthcoming 2003; Rubinstein, 2001b). This paper summarizes recent U.S. experience with partnerships; identifies factors that seem to influence the formation and sustainability of partnerships, including the development of network ties across traditional boundaries; and suggests theoretical and empirical implications of this experience in building and sustaining partnerships at work. We draw on a variety of types of evidence from the authors’ cumulated experience and research with more than 50 such partnerships in the U.S., spanning multiple industries and multiple decades.


Eaton, S., Rubinstein, S. and McKersie, R. (2004), "BUILDING AND SUSTAINING LABOR-MANAGEMENT PARTNERSHIPS: RECENT EXPERIENCES IN THE U.S", Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations (Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 137-156.

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