‘Understanding Union Power: Resources and Capabilities for Renewing Union Capacity’, Transfer 16(3), pp. 333-350 (2010)
Power is at the core of current debates over the future of trade unionism. This article provides a framework to assess the power resources and strategic capabilities central to union capacity building. We identify four key power resources: internal solidarity; network embeddedness; narrative resources that frame understandings and union actions; and infrastructural resources (material, human, processes, policies and programmes). Resources alone are not enough; unions must also be capable of using them. We identify four strategic capabilities: intermediating between contending interests to foster collaborative action and to activate networks; framing; articulating actions over time and space; and learning. Much experimentation and research on the interactions between these resources and capabilities in particular contexts is required to advance our understanding of the renewal of union power.
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