Trade Unions and Institutional Power Resources in the United Kingdom

Journal article


Rigby, M. and Garcia Calavia, M. (2023). Trade Unions and Institutional Power Resources in the United Kingdom. Employee Relations. 45 (6). https://doi.org/10.1108/er-11-2022-0496
AuthorsRigby, M. and Garcia Calavia, M.
AbstractPurpose (limit 100 words) The paper examines the approach of UK Trade Unions to the use of institutional power resources (IPR) in the second half of the twentieth century. Design/methodology/approach (limit 100 words) using secondary material it examines the unions’ approach to IPR in three cases; collective bargaining; worker representation;and trade union structure. Findings (limit 100 words) The paper concludes that unions did not appreciate the importance of, and lacked a strategic approach to, IPR. Although employer and government action were largely responsible for the decline of industrial relations institutions, the failure of the unions to engage with IPR contributed to this process. It explains the failure of the unions to engage with IPR by reference to their lack of strategic capabilities and skills in relation to power resources in general and IPR in particular. Research limitations/implications (limit 100 words) It would have been interesting to collect primary data via interviews with union actors from the period examined to text the interpretation of secondary data contained in the article. Practical implications (limit 100 words) The paper has identified the kind of strategic decision making which is necessary for unions to engage effectively with IPR. It is has also indicated the key skills which unions need to develop to be able to manage their engagement with IPR. Originality/value (limit 100 words) Analysis of the decline of industrial relations institutions in this period has emphasized the role of employers and the state. This paper contributes to a more balanced perspective on this decline by drawing attention to the lack of a union strategy towards IPR and the importance of the detail of the management and employment of power resources. Social Implications (limit 100 words) The paper has implications for the role of trade unions in society - showing the need for them to develop narratives to convince society of the importance of their role and action and to develop the skills which enable them to connect with other social groups e.g intermediation, engagement with coalitional resources.
KeywordsInstitutional Power Resources; Trade Unions; UK
Year2023
JournalEmployee Relations
Journal citation45 (6)
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
ISSN0142-5455
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/er-11-2022-0496
Publication dates
Print23 Oct 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted04 Oct 2023
Deposited28 Nov 2023
Accepted author manuscript
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File Access Level
Open
Licensehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
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