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Employment relations in local government: strategic choice and the case of Brent

Ian Kessler (Templeton College, Oxford, UK)
John Purcell (Bath University, Bath, UK, and)
Jackie Coyle Shapiro (London School of Economics, London, UK)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 1 April 2000



Systematically evaluates changes in people management in one case study, the London Borough of Brent, as the major arena for the regulation of employment relations in local government moves from the national to the authority level. Considers the impact of upstream decisions on mission, purpose and structure and of downstream decisions on employment relations, as they relate to the structure of the personnel function, the role of line managers in personnel activities, the way staff are treated and the role of the unions, based upon a strategic choice model. Argues that there are, indeed, strong linkages between Brent’s upstream decision to become a “competitive market” authority and devolve decision making to business units and the dimensions of employment relations distinguished. However, the consequences of the upstream‐downstream relationship were not necessarily as intended by the Borough, with some of the results having highly dysfunctional consequences for the organization.



Kessler, I., Purcell, J. and Coyle Shapiro, J. (2000), "Employment relations in local government: strategic choice and the case of Brent", Personnel Review, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 162-183.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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