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An International Comparison

Lecture Objectives
Critically evaluate The purpose and rational for employee voice; The varying forms and dimensions of employee voice; Employee voice within an international context; Case study analysis

The purpose &rational for employee voice?

Employee voice can be defined as the ability for employees to have an input into decisions that are made in organisations(Boxall and Purcell, 2003)

Varying forms,functions & expressions of Employee Voice

Forms, Functions and expressions: 1. Expression of individual dissatisfaction in order to resolve a grievance; 2. Expression of collective organisation by employees; 3. May contribute to management decision making by facilitating improvements in work organisation, quality and productivity. (Lucas,
R., Lupton, B., & Mathieson, H., 2006:229)

Rational for employee voice articulation (Strauss 1998:8-14)

Humanistic grounds; Power sharing; Impact on organisational efficiency

Humanistic Grounds
Related to employee satisfaction re: Creativity Achievement & social approval Self actualisation

Power sharing
Related to: Embedding democratic values Rejection of autocratic authority relationships Important element of industrial democracy A means of influence of management decisions

Impact on organisational efficiency

Related to: Organisational efficiency Critical importance of employee knowledge sharing Critical to competitive success Support enhanced employee commitment

Importance of Employee Voice

Voice can be a positive efficiency enhancing alternative to employee exit due to dissatisfaction where employees are dissatisfied with some aspect of their job. (Hirschman, 1970)

Dimensions of Employee Voice

Considerable variation in level of say provided by employee voice ranging from: None Low e.g. receipt of information Medium e.g. consultation and collective bargaining High typically confined to workers cooperatives (Blyton and Turnbull, 2004; Marchington et al, 2001)

Employee Voice within an International Context

Variation e.g Germany indirect voice via dual channel system UK contrasting single channel system USA either union based indirect participation or non union system of participation

Diversity Institutional School of Thought

Focus on: Institutional arrangements and societal structures in which organisations are embedded. Benefits: Helps to explain differences between societies in that institutions play a mediating role between pervasive pressures for change, e.g. globalisation, and actual experience within particular employee relations systems. (Lucas,
R., Lupton, B., & Mathieson, H., 2006:234)

Institutionalist Perspective Framework (Poole et al, 2001) Four sets of variable: 1. Macro level structural economic and technical conditions, cultural and ideological variables, and the politico-legal framework; 2. The strategic choices of the parties 3. The power of the parties 4. Organisational structures and processes at the level of the enterprise.

Global challenge for employee representation/voice

Regulatory and institutional forms of employment protection may be perceived as impediments to competitiveness and deter inward investors; The effects of mobile capital upping sticks and exiting from regions where collective bargaining(CB) is extant to those where it is absent; The effects of labour market segmentation around flexibility and contracted out workdifficult to identify the real employer for the purposes of CB Significant expansion in numbers in the informal economy, many of whom not employees who experience extreme representational insecurity. (ILO, 2000:9-12)

Cultural values and ideologies

Cultural features predispose to promote or constrain the development of employee voice as well as to influence its articulation in particular ways, e.g. Useful to compare study of worker participation in Germany and Taiwan. (Han and Chiu, 2000:160)

The political-legal context

Can have a profound impact on the policies and practices which regulate the employment relationship and the provision of worker voice.
(Lucas, R., Lupton, B., & Mathieson, H., 2006:236) Useful to consider four regimes: 1. Repression 2. Tolerance 3. Intervention 4. Neo-corporatism (Cella and Treu (2001:461:5)

International study of Trade Unions (Olney, 1996 and Jose (1999) Need to consider the external and internal Factors impacting on the ability of TUs to dominate the channel of voice including: Friendliness of the prevailing legislative climate to employers; Employees attitudes towards trade unions; Changes in the structure of employment; Rise in unitarism

International trends in employee voice

(Source: ILO, World Labour Report 1997-98)
Region Average % Union Density Average CB coverage % for which data is available (number of countries) 30.90(12) 18.53(10) 72.89(13) 30.00(8) Percentage of world population in each region

Americas Asia and Oceania Europe Africa

14.50 15.58 42.64 14.00

13.7 61.3 12.0 12.9

Case study analysis

Employee voice and restructuring at Lufthansa and British Airways (Turnbull et al, (2004); European Industrial Relations Observatory (2005b) The Cross Border Transfer of Employee Relations Practices Subsidiaries of US MNCS in the UK (Journal of World Business, Vol. 41, No. 1:66-80)

Reading Sources
Key Reading

Lucas R. Lupton B and Mathieson H. (2006), Human Resource Management in an International Context. Brewster C. Sparrow P. and Vernon G. (2008), International Human Resource Management, 2nd edition CIPD, Boxall P. and Purcell J. (2003) Strategy and Human Resource Management, London. Blyton P. and Turnbull P. (2004) The Dynamics of Employee Relations (3rd edition) London: Routledge. Han T.S. and Chiu S. (2000) Industrial democracy and institutional environments: a comparison of Germany and Taiwan, Economic and Industrial Democracy, Vol. 21: 147-82

Hirscham A. (1970) Exit, Voice and Loyalty. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Poole M. Lansbury R. and Wailes N. (2001) A comparative analysis of developments in industrial democracy Industrial Relations, Vol. 40 No. 3: 49-525 International Labour Organisation (2000) Your Voice at Work. Geneva: ILO RougledgeCella G.P. and Treu T. (2001) National trade union movements, in R. Blanpain and C. Engels (eds) Compariative Labour Law and Industrial Relations in Industrialised Market Economies. The Hague: Kluwer Law International Strauss G. (1998) An overview in F. Heller, E. Pusic, G. Strauss and B Wilpert (eds) Organisational Participation: Myth and reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Additional Reading