Recent past issues

October 2013 (Vol. 66, No. 5)

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Is U.S. Public Sector Labor Relations in the Midst of a Transformation? By Harry C. Katz

In this article the author assesses whether a fundamental transformation is underway in public sector (state and local government) labor relations in the United States by revisiting the arguments made by the author and Kochan and McKersie (1986) regarding the transformation of labor relations in the private sector. The author argues that the economic pressures that led to a transformation of private sector labor relations starting in the 1980s have not played a comparable role in recent developments in the public sector because of the political nature of labor relations in that sector. Other insights are drawn from a comparison of recent developments with events that occurred during the mid-1970s, an earlier taxpayer revolt era. The author concludes that a fundamental transformation in public sector labor relations has not occurred, attributable to some degree to the limited decline in public employee union membership and the fact that a majority of the public has favorable attitudes toward public sector employees and union collective bargaining rights. Factors that might lead to such a transformation in the future are highlighted.

Convergence in Industrial Relations Institutions: The Emerging Anglo-American Model? By Alexander J. S. Colvin and Owen Darbishire

At the outset of the Thatcher/Reagan era, the employment and labor law systems across six Anglo-American countries could be divided into three pairings: the Wagner Act model of the United States and Canada; the Voluntarist system of collective bargaining and strong unions in the United Kingdom and Ireland; and the highly centralized, legalistic Award systems of Australia and New Zealand. The authors argue that there has been growing convergence in two major areas: First, of labor law toward a private ordering of employment relations in which terms and conditions of work and employment are primarily determined at the level of the enterprise; and second, of individual employment rights, toward a basket of minimum standards that can then be improved upon by the parties. The greatest similarity is found in Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. Ireland retains a greater degree of public ordering, while the United States diverges in favoring the interests of employers over those of employees and organized labor. The authors explore reasons for the convergence.

When Does Money Make Money More Important? Survey and Experimental Evidence By Sanford E. DeVoe, Jeffrey Pfeffer, and Byron Y. Lee

The authors investigate how the amount and source of income affects the importance placed on money. Using a longitudinal analysis of the British Household Panel Survey and evidence from two laboratory experiments, they found that larger amounts of money received for labor were associated with individuals placing greater importance on money; but this effect did not hold for money not related to work. The longitudinal survey analysis demonstrated these differential effects of the source of income on money?s importance while holding constant stable individual differences. The experiments provide causal evidence that the source of income has an effect on the importance of money as well as on the effort expended to earn more money. The authors? results suggest that, even as individual differences in the importance placed on money may affect peoples? income, depending on its source, income can also affect the importance people place on money. The come affects the importance placed on money using a longitudinal analysis of the British Household Panel Survey and evidence from two laboratory experiments. Larger amounts of money received for labor were associated with individuals placing greater importance on money, but this effect did not hold for money not related to work. The longitudinal survey analysis demonstrated these differential effects of the source of income on money?s importance while holding constant stable individual differences. The experiments provide causal evidence that the source of income has an effect on the importance of money as well as on the effort expended to earn more money. Even as individual differences in the importance placed on money may affect peoples? income, our results suggests that income can also affect the importance people place on money, depending on its source.

Monopsony Power, Pay Structure, and Training By Samuel Muehlemann, Paul Ryan, and Stefan C. Wolter

Although interest in monopsonistic influences on labor market outcomes has revived in recent years, only a few empirical studies provide direct evidence on this topic. In this article, the authors analyze the effect of monopsony power on pay structure, using a direct measure of labor market thinness. The authors find evidence of monopsony power, as firms facing fewer local competitors offer lower wages to skilled labor and trainees, but not to unskilled labor. The findings have important implications for the economic theory of training, as most recent models assume monopsonistic pay-setting for skilled labor, but not for trainees.

The Diffusion of Pay for Performance across Occupations By Alberto Bayo-Moriones, Jose Enrique Galdon-Sanchez, and Sara Martinez-de-Morentin

The authors analyze the differences in the incidence of pay-for-performance plans across occupations in a sample of Spanish manufacturing establishments. Results show that significant differences occur across occupations in the incidence of individual, group, and firm-or plant-level pay for performance plans. They also examine the roles of establishment size, multinational ownership, and the human resource department in the incidence of pay-for-performance plans and their variability across occupations within the same firm. These factors are correlated with a greater use of pay for performance and, in most cases, this effect is similar across occupations.

Going Abroad: HR Policies, National IR Systems, and Union Activity in Foreign Subsidiaries of U.S. Multinationals By John J. Lawler, Po-Chien Chang, Woonki Hong, Shyh-Jer Chen, Pei-Chuan Wu, and Johngseok Bae

Previous research is limited regarding the effects of the HR policies of foreign subsidiaries of U.S. multinational companies on union activity. An important topic is the extent to which multinationals employ practices that can be used to reduce unionization in parent company domestic operations and whether they have the same effect in foreign subsidiaries. In this study, the authors examine the effects of a subsidiary's implementation of high-performance work systems, its greenfield site status, and its usage of contract or temporary workers on union activity within the subsidiary. Results from a survey of a number of geographically dispersed foreign subsidiaries of U.S.-based multinationals show that greenfield site status has a strong, negative effect on subsidiary union activity, whereas high-performance work systems have a more modest, negative effect. The authors also show that national IR system characteristics moderate the effect of HR policies, especially if enterprise unionism plays a dominant role in the host country.

Is Part-Time Employment Beneficial for Firm Productivity? By Annemarie Kunn-Nelen, Andries De Grip, and Didier Fouarge

With this article, the authors are the first to analyze and explain the relationship between part-time employment and firm productivity. Using a unique data set on the Dutch pharmacy sector that includes the working hours of all employees and a hard physical measure of firm productivity, the authors estimate a production function including heterogeneous employment shares based on working hours. The authors find that firms with a large part-time employment share are more productive than firms with a large share of full-time workers: a 10% increase in the part-time share is associated with 4.8% higher productivity. Additional data on the timing of labor demand show that this can be explained by a different allocation of part-timers compared with full-timers. This enables firms with large part-time employment shares to allocate their labor force more efficiently across working days.

The Causal Effect of Faculty Unions on Institutional Decision-Making By Stephen R. Porter

The author's goal in this article is to estimate the causal effect of unionization on institutional decision-making, using a national survey of presidents and faculty senate leaders to measure the level of shared governance at 341 public universities in 15 different areas. To handle the endogeneity of faculty unionization, an index of state employee collective bargaining rights is used as an instrument for unionization. Findings indicate that unionization greatly increases faculty influence over institutional decision-making, both in compensation and in areas outside of compensation.

Strategies of Disruption: Factory Unions Facing Asset-Strippers in Post-Communist Romania and Ukraine By Mihai Varga

The author uses ethnographic fieldwork to examine what forms of disruption trade unions use in resisting asset-strippers at four factories in the metal sector of post-Communist Romania and Ukraine. He shows how understanding disruption as differentiating among various targets and protest actions, and adapting actions to targets, allows researchers to make sense of how, when employers are uninterested in production, unions can effectively protest even if they cannot strike. In addition, he discusses how in many cases in Eastern Europe the search to create disruption is complicated by the persistence of nonadversarial forms of trade unionism coupled with employer actions that exploit such forms.


Book Reviews

From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization: Markets, Workers, and the State in a Changing China Edited by Sarosh Kuruvilla, Ching Kwan Lee, and Mary E. Gallagher. Reviewed by William Hurst.

Walmart in China Edited by Anita Chan. Reviewed by Eli Friedman.

Markets and Bodies: Women, Service Work, and the Making of Inequality in China By Eileen Otis. Reviewed by Emma Samsioe.

Trade Unions in China: The Challenge of Labour Unrest By Tim Pringle. Reviewed by Mingwei Liu.

Law and Fair Work in China By Sean Cooney, Sarah Biddulph, and Ying Zhu. Reviewed by Cynthia Estlund.

China's Changing Welfare Mix: Local Perspectives Edited by Beatriz Carrillo and Jane Duckett. Reviewed by Qin Gao.

Reforming Asian Labor Systems: Economic Tensions and Worker Dissent By Frederic C. Deyo. Reviewed by Chris King-Chi Chan.



July 2013 (Vol. 66, No. 4)

Special Issue on Job Quality

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Introduction to the Special Issue on Job Quality: What Does It Mean and How Might We Think about It? By Paul Osterman

Scholars, employers, and certainly many employees share a perception that how work is organized has radically changed.

Is Job Quality Becoming More Unequal? By Francis Green, Tarek Mostafa, Agn?s Parent-Thirion, Greet Vermeylen, Gijs Van Houten, Isabella Biletta, and Maija Lyly-Yrjanainen

The authors examine trends in nonwage aspects of job quality in Europe. They focus on both the level and the dispersion of job quality. Theories differ in their predictions for these trends and for whether national patterns will converge. Data from the Fifth European Working Conditions Survey are used, in conjunction with earlier waves, to construct four indices of nonwage job quality: Work Quality, Work Intensity, Good Physical Environment, and Working Time Quality. Jobs are tracked from 1995 to 2010, across and within 15 European Union countries. The social corporatist countries had the highest Work Quality and lowest dispersion for all four indices. Work Quality and Work Intensity each rose in several countries, and Working Time Quality rose in most. The dispersion of Working Time Quality, Work Intensity, and Good Physical Environment each fell in many countries, and there was little sign of national divergence.

Building Job Quality from the Inside-Out: Mexican Immigrants, Skills, and Jobs in the Construction Industry By Natasha Iskander and Nichola Lowe

Using an ethnographic case study of Mexican immigrant construction workers in two U.S. cities and in Mexico, the authors illustrate the contribution of immigrant skill as a resource for changing workplace practices. As a complement to explanations that situate the protection of job quality and the defense of skill to external institutions, the authors show that immigrants use collective learning practices to improve job quality from inside the work environment - that is to say from the inside-out. The authors also find that immigrants use collective skill-building practices to negotiate for improvements to their jobs; however, their ability to do so depends on the institutions that organize production locally. Particular attention is given to the quality of those industry institutions, noting that where they are more malleable, immigrant workers gain more latitude to alter their working conditions and their prospects for advancement.

Employers Gone Rogue: Explaining Industry Variation in Violations of Workplace Laws By Annette Bernhardt, Michael Spiller, and NIk Theodore

Drawing on an innovative, representative survey of workers in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City, the authors analyze minimum wage, overtime, and other workplace violations in the low-wage labor market. They document significant interindustry variation in both the mix and the prevalence of violations, and they show that while differences in workforce composition are important in explaining that variation, differences in job and employer characteristics play the stronger role. The authors suggest that industry noncompliance rates are shaped by both product market and institutional characteristics, which together interact with labor supply and the current weak penalty and enforcement regime in the United States. They close with a research agenda for this still young field, framing noncompliance as an emerging strategy in the reorganization of work and production at the bottom of the U.S. labor market.

Quality over Quantity: Reexamining the Link between Entrepreneurship and Job Creation By Adam Seth Litwin and Phillip H. Phan

Although much has been written about the quantity of jobs created by entrepreneurs, scholars have yet to examine the quality of these jobs. In this article, the authors begin to address this important issue by examining nearly 5,000 businesses that began operations in 2004. They investigate the extent to which nascent employers provide what many think of as a quality jobs - those offering health care coverage and a retirement plan. The authors find that because of small scale, constrained resources, and protection from institutional pressures, start-up companies do not provide their employees with either of these proxies for job quality, and their likelihood of offering health or retirement benefits increases only marginally over their first six years of operation. The finding that entrepreneurs' impressive record of job creation is not matched by a similarly impressive outcome with respect to job quality challenges policymakers to ensure that entrepreneurs are encouraged to create quality employment opportunities in the course of creating new businesses.

A Study of the Extent and Potential Causes of Alternative Employment Arrangements By Peter H. Cappelli and JR Keller

The notion of regular, full-time employment as one of the defining features of the U.S. economy has been called into question in recent years by the apparent growth of alternative or nonstandard - work arrangements - part-time hours, temporary help, independent contracting, and other configurations. Identifying the extent of these arrangements, whether they are increasing and where they occur, is the first step to understanding their implications for the economy and the society. But such steps have been difficult to take because of the lack of appropriate data. Based on a national probability sample of U.S. establishments, the authors present estimates of the extent of these practices, evidence on changes in their use over time, and analyses that contribute to understanding why alternatives have come into play.

Professionalization and Market Closure: The Case of Plumbing in India By Aruna Ranganathan

Professionalization has long been understood as a process of establishing market closure and monopoly control over work; however, in this article the author presents a case in which professionalization erodes rather than establishes occupational closure. She demonstrates how the Indian Plumbing Association (IPA), a newly formed organization of internationally trained plumbing contractors and consultants, has used the rhetoric and structures of professionalization to threaten pre-existing ethnicity-based closure enjoyed by traditional plumbers from the eastern state of Orissa. By employing a discourse of professionalism and by instituting codes, training, and certification programs, professionalization in this case has undermined Orissan plumbers by changing the basis of plumbing knowledge and opening entry to outsiders. The author concludes by suggesting that professionalization is a modern trope that does not necessarily imply monopoly benefits and higher job quality for all the members of a given occupational group.

Labor Regulations and Job Quality: Evidence from India By Yana van der Meulen Rodgers and Nidhiya Menon

The authors examine whether measures of job quality in India's manufacturing sector differ systematically across states with varying types of labor regulation. Their analysis uses repeated cross sections of India's National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) household survey data from 1983 to 2004 merged with data on state-level regulations covering employment adjustment and dispute resolution. Results from a differences-in-differences procedure show that restrictions on employment adjustment and dispute settlement in a pro-worker direction contribute to improved job quality for women along most measures. Such regulations yield mixed results for men, however; results indicate that higher wages come at the expense of fewer hours, substitution toward in-kind compensation, and less job security. The authors conclude that India's labor legislation does have a silver lining with respect to job quality, but that silver lining applies selectively.

Mental Health and Working Conditions in Europe By Elena Cottini and Claudio Lucifora

The authors investigate recent patterns in mental health at the workplace across 15 European countries using three waves of the European Working Conditions Survey. Their study shows that adverse working conditions, defined in terms of job demands and job hazards, are strongly associated with workers' mental health problems, and it also finds a causal effect of job quality on workers' mental health. Their analysis detects heterogeneous effects across countries and demographic groups and shows that labor market regulations and health care systems explain some of these cross-country differences.

The Effects of Organizational Change on Worker Well-Being and the Moderating Role of Trade Unions By Alex Bryson, Erling Barth, and Harald Dale-Olsen

The authors explore the effects of organizational change on employee well-being using multivariate analyses of linked employer-employee data for Britain, with particular emphasis on whether unions moderate these effects. Nationally representative data consist of 13,500 employees in 1,238 workplaces. Organizational changes are associated with increased job-related anxiety and lower job satisfaction. The authors find that job-related anxiety is ameliorated when employees work in a unionized workplace and are involved in the introduction of the changes.


Book Reviews

The Global Auction: The Broken Promises of Education, Jobs, and Incomes By Phillip Brown, Hugh Lauder, and David Ashton. Reviewed by Arne Kalleberg.

The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class By Guy Standing. . Reviewed by Aris Accornero.

Where Are All the Good Jobs Going?: What National and Local Job Quality and Dynamics Mean for U.S. Workers By Harry J. Holzer, Julia I. Lane, David B. Rosenblum, and Fredrik Andersson. Reviewed by Arin Dube.

For Love and Money: Care Provision in the United States Edited by Nancy Folbre. Reviewed by Annamaria Simonazzi.

Are Bad Jobs Inevitable? Trends, Determinants and Responses to Job Quality in the 21st Century Edited by Chris Warhurst, Fran·oise Carr«, Patricia Findlay and Chris Tilly. Reviewed by Virginia Doellgast.

Working Hard, Working Poor: A Global Journey By Gary S. Fields, . Reviewed by Alan Winters.



May 2013 (Vol. 66, No. 3)

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Multinational Companies in Cross-National Context: Integration, Differentiation and the Interactions between MNCs and Nation States By Tony J. Edwards, Paul Marginson, and Anthony Ferner

In the introductory article to a special issue on multinational corporations (MNCs) and employment practices, the authors highlight the key features of an international survey research project. Research teams carried out parallel surveys in four countries: Canada, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. These surveys are the most comprehensive investigations of the employment practices in MNCs in their respective countries. In framing the comparative analysis of these data, the teams had four objectives: (1) to explore the processes of integration and differentiation in MNCs, including the interactions among MNCs and nation states and their impact on employment practices; (2) to chart the influence of foreign direct investment (FDI) and systems of industrial relations; (3) to outline the key elements of the research design and chart the process of collecting data; and (4) to provide a summary of the patterns of integration and differentiation found among MNCs.

Human Resource Management Practices in the Multinational Company: A Test of System, Societal, and Dominance Effects By Paul K. Edwards, Rocio Sanchez-Mangas, Olga Tregaskis, Christian Levesque, Anthony McDonnell, and Javier Quintanilla

Does the use of HRM practices by multinational companies (MNCs) reflect their national origins or are practices similar regardless of context? To the extent that practices are similar, is there any evidence of global best standards? The authors use the system, societal, and dominance framework to address these questions through analysis of 1,100 MNC subsidiaries in Canada, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. They argue that this framework offers a richer account than alternatives such as varieties of capitalism. The study moves beyond previous research by differentiating between system effects at the global level and dominance effects arising from the diffusion of practices from a dominant economy. It shows that both effects are present, as are some differences at the societal level. Results suggest that MNCs configure their HRM practices in response to all three forces rather than to some uniform global best practices or to their national institutional contexts.

Variation in Approaches to European Works Councils in Multinational Companies By Paul Marginson, Jonathan Lavelle, Javier Quintanilla, Duncan Adam, and Roc'o SÂnchez-Mangas

Drawing on a unique international data set of multinational companies' employment practices, the authors use logistic regression analysis to address variation in the existence of and management practice toward transnational social dialogue through European Works Councils (EWCs). Adopting a contingency perspective, they find that the degree of internationalization of companies' operations and management organization, international HR structure, and the presence of workforce organization exercise strong influence on whether multinationals covered by the relevant European Union legislation have established an EWC. So too do multinationals' country of origin, sector, and size by employment. While concern has focused on the significant proportion of EWCs in which management's information and consultation practice seems to be minimalist, the authors find that this is less likely to be the case where the HR function is internationalized.

U.S. Multinationals and the Control of Subsidiary Employment Policies By Anthony Ferner, Jacques B?langer, Olga Tregaskis, Michael Morley, and Javier Quintanilla

The authors examine whether U.S. multinational companies (MNCs) are distinctive in the degree to which they exert direct control over policy on human resources and employment relations (HR/ER) in their foreign subsidiaries. The results confirm the distinctiveness of U.S. MNCs in their greater degree of direct control of policy, compared not only with non-U.S. firms but with every other major nationality or national grouping of MNCs: France, Germany, the Nordic group, the rest of Europe, and Japan. U.S. control of HR/ER policy is greater not just in the aggregate, but for most individual items. Finally, while levels of control over subsidiaries vary among host countries studied (Canada, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom) the greater U.S. orientation to control relative to non-U.S. MNCs holds regardless of host.

Control over Employment Practice in Multinationals: Subsidiary Functions, Corporate Structures, and National Systems By Tony J. Edwards, Olga Tregaskis, David Collings, Patrice Jalette, and Lourdes Susaeta

The authors use comparable data on employment practices in multinationals located in four countries - Canada, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom - to examine the question, How can we explain variation among national subsidiaries of MNCs in the extent and form of control on employment matters? In accounting for variation in both output and social control, the authors explore three potential influences: the functions of the national subsidiaries within the wider companies; the role of host country constraints; and the structures of the multinational, including the HR function. They examine the effect of each set of factors in the presence of the others, something that previous research has been unable to do, and show that each is a significant influence. Their study breaks new ground by investigating the functions of subsidiaries and the link with control.

Union Status and Double-Breasting at Multinational Companies in Three Liberal Market Economies By J. Ryan Lamare, Patrick Gunnigle, Paul Marginson, and Gregor Murray

The relationships among employee representation, formal union status, and employer strategies within and across institutional regimes offer a variegated landscape in the context of globalization. Key questions remain as to the relative weight of macro- and micro-level influences on union status at subsidiaries of multinational companies (MNCs). This study analyzes data gathered through coordinated surveys of MNC subsidiaries in Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom and tests the extent to which union status and double-breasting depend on home-country variation, host-country influences, and particular organizational characteristics. The authors find support for a combination of effects on both union status and double-breasting. Further analyses test explicit variations on union status within each host context and support arguments that effects depend on the particularities of national industrial relations regimes.


Book Reviews

Labor Rights and Multinational Production By Layna Mosley. Reviewed by Diego S nchez-Ancochea.

Shaping Global Industrial Relations: The Impact of International Framework Agreements Edited by Konstantinos Papadakis. Reviewed by Christina Niforou.

Politics and Power in the Multinational Corporation: The Role of Institutions, Interests and Identities Edited by Christoph D”rrenb„cher and Mike Geppert. Reviewed by Kieran M. Conroy.

Globalizing Employment Relations: Multinational Firms and Central and Eastern European Transitions Edited by Sylvie Contrepois, Violaine Delteil, Patrick Dieuaide, and Steve Jefferys. Reviewed by Jan Drahokoupil.

Multinational Retailers and Consumers in China: Transferring Organizational Practices from the United Kingdom and Japan By Jos Gamble. Reviewed by Amy Hanser.

Labour in Global Production Networks in India Edited by Anne Posthuma and Dev Nathan. Reviewed by Gay Seidman.