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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Singh, Gangaram; Cowell, Noel M.
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Author Affiliation
Department of Management Studies
Paper/Section Title
What do unions do? Unionization, work innovations, and firm performance in Jamaica
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Proceedings Title
Industrial relations research association series: proceedings of the 55th annual meeting
Date of Meeting
January 3-5 2004
Place of Meeting
San Diego,California
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Abstract
To respond to competition emanating from globalization, many firms have adopted work innovations that are related to human resource management (job analysis, employment tests, performance appraisals, and internal promotions), high performance work systems (total quality management, quality circles, job rotation, and teams), training, and employee involvement (information sharing, attitude surveys, worker-management committees, and grievance procedures) (Huselid 1995; MacDuffie 1995; Osterman 1994; Kaufman 1991). The paper examines the impacts of the presence of a union on the adoption of work innovations and firm performance as well as the impact of work innovations on firm performance. Data are taken from a national survey conducted in 1995 in Jamaica. The results of a structural equation model (SEM) show that unions are neither an impediment nor an encouragement to work innovations and firm performance. The data also show that work innovations are not a determinant of firm performance. Based on these results, argues that unions cannot be demonized for impeding work innovations and firm performance. Work innovations, in addition, may not have universal applicability (Osterman 1994)....
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