Balancing Efficiency, Equity and Voice: The Impact of Unions and High Involvement Work Practices on Work Outcomes
Pohler, D., & Luchak, A. (2014) Balancing Efficiency, Equity and Voice: The Impact of Unions and High Involvement Work Practices on Work Outcomes. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 67(4): 1063-1094. Read a shorter summary of this research here.
Are HR practices that encourage employee voice and involvement in decision-making, high involvement work practices, substitutes for unions? We propose that unions and high involvement work practices and systems are complements. Greater balance is achieved between efficiency, equity, and voice when good management practices are employed in the presence of unions.
Theory and research surrounding employee voice in organizations have often treated high-involvement work practices (HIWPs) as substitutes for unions. Drawing on recent theoretical developments in the field of industrial relations, specifically the collective voice/institutional response model of union impact and research on HIWPs in organizations, the authors propose that these institutions are better seen as complements whereby greater balance is achieved between efficiency, equity, and voice when HIWPs are implemented in the presence of unions. Based on a national sample of Canadian organizations, they find employees covered by a union experience fewer intensification pressures under higher levels of diffusion of HIWPs such that they work less unpaid overtime, have fewer grievances, and take fewer paid sick days. Job satisfaction is maximized under the combination of unions and HIWPs.