Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations: Volume 17


Table of contents

(12 chapters)
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Pages ix-xiii
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Volume 17 of Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations (AILR) contains seven diverse, provocative and perhaps in some cases controversial papers. Preliminary versions of several of these papers were presented at Advances in Industrial Relations/Labor and Employment Relations Association ‘Best Papers’ sessions held at the 2008 and 2009 meetings of the Labor and Employment Relations Association.

We present evidence regarding how a card check recognition process affects the labor relations climate during the period preceding recognition and that which immediately follows. Interviews with managers, interviews with union representatives, and surveys of workers indicate that card check typically results in a less prolonged, costly, and stressful recognition and negotiations process. Although the resulting contracts are often similar to those in other parts of a heavily unionized corporation, sometimes they reflect a different business context – and hence are somewhat more favorable to employers without being substantially less favorable to employees. This reality is reflected in the positive reaction of the U.S. stock markets to union recognition by an employer through a card check process. Employers make card check agreements primarily for business reasons, and investors respect their judgment as to the impact of such agreements on the bottom line.

This paper examines the relationship between human resource practices in 173 hospitals in the United Kingdom and four organizational outcome categories – clinical, financial, employee attitudes and perceptions, and patient attitudes and perceptions. The overarching proposition set forth and examined in this paper is that human resource management (HRM) practices and delivery of care practices have varied effects on each of these outcomes. More specifically, the authors set forth the proposition that specific practices will have positive effects on one outcome category while simultaneously having a negative effect on other performance outcomes, broadly defined.

The paper introduces a broader stakeholder framework for assessing the HR–performance relationship in the healthcare setting. This multi-dimensional framework incorporates the effects of human resource practices on customers (patients), management, and frontline staff and can also be applied to other sectors such as manufacturing. This approach acknowledges the potential for incompatibilities between stakeholder performance objectives. In the healthcare industry specifically, our framework broadens the notion of performance.

Overall, our results provide support for the proposition that different stakeholders will be affected differently by the use of managerial practices. We believe that the findings reported in this paper highlight the importance of examining multiple stakeholder outcomes associated with managerial practices and the need to identify the inherent trade-offs associated with their adoption.

The growth of organized labor during the latter part of the nineteenth century triggered an organizational impulse on the part of employers across the country. Although some employers’ associations began as “negotiatory” bodies engaged in collective bargaining, the vast majority of them shifted toward a more “belligerent” approach. Academic scholarship has generally focused on the belligerents at the national level. Recently, some scholars have begun to study organized employers at the community level, but they continue to feature the more typical staunchly anti-union associations. This study of Columbus, Ohio's master printers’ association reveals a different pattern of local labor relations during the years between 1887 and 1960 – an association that had generally smooth bargaining relationships with craft unions. Columbus’ conservative and sheltered economy enabled the longstanding cooperative shared printing craft culture to thrive. But changes in Columbus’ economy, shifts in larger patterns of industrial relations, the hard-line influence of the national employers’ association, and technological changes altered the context of local labor relations. The result was that, by 1960, the Columbus association sought the upper hand in labor relations by becoming a more traditional and belligerent employers’ association. This story of “latecomers” adds to our understanding of organized employer behavior under different historical periods and circumstances.

This paper proposes a holistic institutional approach to provide insight into the policy reforms necessary to progressively achieve compliance with internationally recognized labor-related human rights. Drawing on institutions theory from political economy, the paper reframes international legal norms as holistic institutions, comprised of rules, social norms, and actual behaviors, the so-called rules of the game. In this way, problems in implementing labor-related human rights that may result in violations of international law are also considered as employment practices and, like other employment practices, are embedded in a web of formal and informal rules – institutions that govern work and employment. Based on the understanding that institutions contribute to violations, this holistic institutional approach also includes a framework to improve regulation and compliance based on Harold Koh's compliance theory from international law. The approach is illustrated using the example of forced obligatory overtime in textile assembly (maquilas) in Honduras and Nicaragua.

Given the continued growth in the globalization of production, working conditions in global supply chains have come under increased scrutiny. Although there has been much debate about corporate codes of conduct and monitoring procedures, the question of how buyers influence their suppliers’ working conditions at the factory level remains poorly understood. Using a unique data set based on monitoring by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and original survey data collected in Cambodia's garment sector, this study shows that the main channel linking buyers and supplier compliance performance is the nature of their relationships. Market-based relationships mediated through sourcing agents are systematically associated with poorer compliance performance. In particular, when a reputation-conscious buyer is sourcing from a factory, it has a positive effect on compliance, and their presence appears to condition relationship variables. Deterrence and learning channels are not supported by the evidence. The findings signal the need to pay more attention to the nature of buyer–supplier relationships if we seek to improve labor standard compliance. Market-based relationships motivate neither buyers nor suppliers to invest their time and resources to tackle the root causes of poor working conditions. Rather, the results here indicate the need to develop collaborative relationships marked by open dialogue, trust, and commitment, which in turn help to foster an environment supportive of continuous improvement in working conditions.

This study explores the representation of identity groups and their interests within the labor movement using lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals as my case group. The goal is to provide new knowledge about how national and international unions in the United States are responding to sexual orientation. Data on the official polices of the 13 largest national and international unions was collected through a telephone survey of union staff and officials possessing specialized knowledge about their unions’ responses to sexual diversity.

The data collected here was used to test whether structural and demographic arguments regarding union responsiveness to LGBT issues explain the divergences in union initiatives to recognize sexual diversity. The results of this study confirmed earlier research that structural and demographic variables do matter but revealed that it is necessary to go beyond these variables to more fully explain variation in union responses to sexual diversity. Future research needs to explore other factors involving collective agency, history, ideology, and so on and the differences between the social movement unionism rooted in old class politics and one more influenced by the new social movements to understand why unions such as Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are the most responsive to minorities and the most successful in changing union culture as well as practice.

The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature and development of industrial relations as a field of study. This paper employs bibliometric and social network analyses to examine the scholarly work published in the top industrial relations journals over the past 40 years. By examining the citation and co-citation patterns at the journal level and the article level, it is possible to empirically describe the field of industrial relations in terms of its parameters and its “paradigms” – the generally agreed on sets of research questions and methodologies – at different time periods throughout its development. Our findings illustrate that the intellectual base of the industrial relations field has moved from a more traditional, applied labor economics view of industrial relations to a broader “employment relations” view of the field.

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Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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