Adoption and Use of Dispute Resolution Procedures in the Nonunion Workplace

TitleAdoption and Use of Dispute Resolution Procedures in the Nonunion Workplace
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsColvin, A. J.
JournalAdvances in Industrial & Labor Relations
Pagination69 - 97
Keywordsdispute resolution, grievances, industrial relations, nonunion workplace

[Excerpt] This paper investigates the adoption, structure, and function of dispute resolution procedures in the nonunion workplace. Whereas grievance procedures in unionized workplaces have been an important area of study in the field of industrial relations, research on dispute resolution procedures in nonunion workplaces has lagged behind. As a result, our knowledge of the development of nonunion procedures remains relatively limited. Similarly, with a few noteworthy exceptions (e.g. Lewin, 1987, 1990), our knowledge of workplace grievance activity is almost entirely based on research conducted in unionized settings. Given the major differences in the institutional contexts of union and nonunion workplaces in the United States, existing ideas about workplace dispute resolution developed in the unionized setting will likely require significant modification in order to understand dispute resolution procedures and activity in the nonunion workplace. Issues relating to dispute resolution in the nonunion workplace are of increasing importance to public policy given the combination of continued stagnation in levels of union representation and mounting concerns over rising levels of employment litigation in the courts. Knowing what nonunion dispute resolution procedures look like and how they function will help answer the question of what role these procedures may play in the future governance of the workplace.