Do Cultural Differences Explain Differences in Attitudes Towards Unions? Culture and Attitudes Towards Unions Among Call Centre Workers in Britain and India

TitleDo Cultural Differences Explain Differences in Attitudes Towards Unions? Culture and Attitudes Towards Unions Among Call Centre Workers in Britain and India
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSarkar, Santanu, and Charlwood, Andy
JournalIndustrial Relations Journal
Volume45
Issue1
Pagination56 - 76
Keywordsanti-unionism, attitude toward unions, labor relations, pro-unionism, union attitudes, union organizing, union recruitment
Abstract

This article adds to the literature on worker attitudes towards unions by investigating the impact of cultural attitudes and the call center labor process on union attitudes among call center workers in Britain and India. It is hypothesized that workers with egalitarian and collectivist cultural attitudes will be more likely to have pro-union attitudes than other workers, although if the impact of cultural attitudes is mediated by history and institutions, it might be expected that this relationship is stronger for British than Indian workers. Conversely, if union attitudes are largely a function of the call center labor process, we would expect union attitudes to be similar among workers in both countries. Our results only partially support our hypotheses. Collectivist attitudes are only weakly related to union attitudes among the British sample but are more strongly related in the Indian sample. There are significant differences between union attitudes among our British and Indian samples. The article concludes that relationship between cultural attitudes and union attitudes are heavily dependent on institutional context. Cultural attitudes are unlikely to be either a constraint or a facilitator of union efforts to organize workers.