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Union Impact on the Effective Adoption of High Performance Work Practices
Human Resource Management Review (2009)
  • Carol Gill, Melbourne Business School

This paper examines the literature and research on unions relevant to the effective adoption of High Performance Work Practices and demonstrates that unions that have a cooperative relationship with management can play an important role in overcoming barriers to the effective adoption of practices that have been linked to organizational competitiveness through the development and application of human capital. In particular, unions have the unique advantage of delivering independent voice that can not be substituted by management. Not only can unions make a contribution to organization competitiveness but they can also ensure that employees benefit from High Performance Work Practice adoption and in doing so secure their own relevance. The contribution that unions can make is inhibited by management and union's reluctance to engage in an integrative relationship and an institutional context that does not value unions. Organizations that want to capture the value that unions can add must move away from a pluralist model of autocratic management, hostile unions and adversarial industrial relations, beyond a unitarist model that sees no role for unions, to a cooperative partnership with unions that shares the gains of implementing High Performance Work Practices.

  • Unions,
  • High Performance Work Practices,
  • Voice,
  • Partnership
Publication Date
March, 2009
Citation Information
Carol Gill. "Union Impact on the Effective Adoption of High Performance Work Practices" Human Resource Management Review Vol. 19 Iss. 1 (2009)
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