This paper argues that creative compliance tactics are an innovative union renewal strategy. Creative compliance involves the observance of the letter of the law while undermining its spirit. This regulatory inconsistency stems from indeterminate legal outcomes and discretion in legal interpretation and application. Drawing on interviews with senior union officials in four case studies in Australia, this paper reveals that two particular types of creative compliance tactics have been used by the unions to achieve positive outcomes: work-to-rule and the exploitation of loopholes. These opportunistic and proactive approaches to ‘anti-union’ legislation at the national level since 1997 represent a sea change in union tactics and a viable union renewal strategy, because they augment the individual ability of unions to shape and advance an agenda and therefore, adapt and transform at an organisational level. Consistent with adaptation theories on organisational-environment relations and strategic choice theory, the findings reinforce that unions ‘own’ strategic choices and that they can, in response to environmental scanning, adjust their tactics accordingly.
Pyman, A. (2005), "Creative Compliance in Labour Relations: ‘Turning the Law on its Head’", Lewin, D. and Kaufman, B. (Ed.) Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations (Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 67-99. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0742-6186(05)14003-7Download as .RIS
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