Contested resources: unions, employers and the adoption of new work practices in US and UK telecommunications

Human Resource Management International Digest

ISSN: 0967-0734

Article publication date: 21 March 2008

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Citation

Ramirez, M. (2008), "Contested resources: unions, employers and the adoption of new work practices in US and UK telecommunications", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 16 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/hrmid.2008.04416bad.004

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Contested resources: unions, employers and the adoption of new work practices in US and UK telecommunications

Article Type: Abstracts From: Human Resource Management International Digest, Volume 16, Issue 2.

Contested resources: unions, employers and the adoption of new work practices in US and UK telecommunications

Ramirez M., Guy F., Beale D. British Journal of Industrial Relations (UK), September 2007, Vol. 45 No. 3, Start page: 495, No. of pages: 23

Purpose studies the extent to which the choice of both trade unions and employers to introduce high performance work practices are contingent on both environmental factors and also the strategies adopted by the two negotiating partners. Design/methodology/approach reviews the literature on high-performance work practices. Uses case studies of British Telecom, Bell Atlantic and AT&T in the aftermath of deregulation to look at the strategic choices they faced, the potential contribution of new work practices to the various strategic paths available to the companies, and the role of unions in shaping the work practices actually chosen and implemented. Discusses the responses to restructuring at the individual companies and makes comparisons between them. Findings notes that the adoption of high performance work practices is patchy and concludes that this is because the introduction of such practices shifts the balance of power within the company. Argues that both the union and the employer need to be engaged in the development of the program if the introduction of high performance work practices is to be successful. Concludes that the strength of the union and its militancy affects the nature of the work practices adopted, usually favoring the introduction of high performance work practices. Originality/value investigates how the success of high performance work practices depends on the interaction between employers and unions.ISSN: 0007-1080Reference: 36BA549

Keywords: Organizational change, Performance management, Trade unions, Business strategy, Telecommunications industry, USA, United Kingdom