A feature of the industrial landscape in the 1990s is the emergence of a growing number of non‐union companies. Numerous factors have been suggested to explain this increase such as an increasingly competitive product market; fear of unemployment; a shift in managerial attitudes towards trade unions and the use of human resource management policies which are inimical to unionism. However, the most comprehensive attempt to establish the factors which increase the probability of union avoidance among companies is to be found in the industrial relations literature in the USA. Based on a survey of Irish manufacturing companies, evaluates the explanatory framework which has emerged from this literature and concludes that its validity is questionable in an Irish context.
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