Finding a Voice at Work?: New Perspectives on Employment Relations

TitleFinding a Voice at Work?: New Perspectives on Employment Relations
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsJohnstone, Stewart, and Ackers, Peter
PublisherOxford University Press
CityNew York
Keywordscollective bargaining, employee involvement, employee participation, employee voice, employment relations, employment relationship, human resource management, industrial democracy, trade union

How much ‘say’ should employees have in the running of business organizations and what form should ‘voice’ take? Answers to these questions reflect our fundamental assumptions about the nature of employment relations and inform our views on almost every aspect of human resource management. Voice can mean many things. It can be a synonym for trade union representation, aiming to defend and promote the collective interests of workers, or a means of enhancing employee commitment and organizational performance. Others advocate voice as an alternative to conventional capitalist organizations run for shareholders. There is both a moral and political argument for a measure of democracy at work as well as a business argument which views voice as a potential link in the quest for increased organizational performance. The key debate for employment relations is which of the approaches ‘works best’ in delivering outcomes that balance competitiveness and productivity, on the one hand, and fair treatment of workers and social justice on the other. Policy makers need pragmatic answers to enduring questions: what works best in different contexts, what are the conditions of success, and what are the drawbacks? Some of the most significant developments in employee voice have taken place in Europe with various public policy and employer experiments attracting extensive academic research. This book offers a critical assessment of the main contemporary concepts and models of voice in the UK and Europe and provides an in-depth theoretical and empirical exploration of employee voice in one accessible and cohesive collection.