This paper aims to identify what workplace representative behaviours are most strongly associated with members’ commitment. This is increasingly important, as decentralised management practices have shifted management decisions to workplace levels, placing new demands on workplace representatives.
The methodological approach is quantitative and cross sectional. A total of two unions and 32 workplaces are examined.
Members’ commitment corresponds to workplace delegate leadership that is responsive. Transparency had a negative relationship to commitment, possibly because it is also interpreted as bureaucratic and overly formal for workplace issues. Innovation was not significantly associated with members’ commitment. This applies regardless of occupational class, gender or age. It was also found that workplaces that had adopted the organising model had more committed members.
Cross sectional relationships do not equal causation. However, the findings suggest that workplace level responsiveness by delegates is potentially very effective in building member commitment.
Unions can, with more confidence than previously, invest in developing responsive delegate leadership teams.
This paper provides insight into effective leadership behaviours that apply across two unions covering diverse workplaces and occupational types. As management decentralises, unions need to as well. This provides assistance to unions on how to do so. The cross sectional nature of the study builds on earlier research that may have been prone to common method variance.
Plimmer, G. and Blumenfeld, S. (2012), "Trade union delegate leadership and membership commitment: a cross‐sectional analysis", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 33 No. 8, pp. 750-762. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437731211280811Download as .RIS
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