Purpose – To investigate the relationship between unions, employee relations and the adoption of High Performance Work Practices (HPWP). Design/methodology/approach – This study uses survey data collected from the senior members of the HRM function in 1789 large Australian organisations. Findings – We found that unions, when coupled with good employee relations, facilitate the adoption of HPWP and consequently have a positive impact on organisational competitiveness, contradicting the simplistic notion that unions are ‘bad for business’ Research limitations/implications – This study used cross sectional survey data from HRM managers, who whilst being the best single source of information, may have distorted their responses. Further research is required to confirm these results using several data sources collected from a larger sample over more than one time period. Practical implications – This research has implications for Government and organisation approaches to union presence and management in organisations. Social implications – This research contributes to human resource management and organisational competitiveness which has implications for GDP. Originality/value – This paper contributes to the debate on whether the individual and direct voice provided by HPWP is a substitute for union collective voice with the associated implication that unions are unnecessary and even destructive to organisation competitive advantage.
- high performance work practices,
- employee relations,
- competitive advantage,
- human resource management,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/carol_gill/37/