Exploring the Paradox of Unionised Worker Dissatisfaction

20 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2004

See all articles by David Guest

David Guest

King's College London - The Management Centre

Neil Conway

University of London - Birkbeck College

Abstract

This paper explores the apparent paradox that while unions exist to promote the interests and well-being of their members, UK survey evidence consistently shows that union members report lower levels of job satisfaction than non-union workers. A review and further analysis of the evidence confirms that this difference persists after controlling for other factors such as type of work. If union member dissatisfaction reflects a form of voice, then we might expect to see resulting gains. An analysis of data from the 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey indicates that any gains are modest. Evidence is presented to suggest that although management has become less hostile to trade unions, a degree of anti-union sentiment remains, sometimes leading to a muffling of the union voice, and this helps to account for some of the union member dissatisfaction.

Suggested Citation

Guest, David and Conway, Neil, Exploring the Paradox of Unionised Worker Dissatisfaction. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=526845

David Guest (Contact Author)

King's College London - The Management Centre ( email )

150 Stamford Street
London, SE1 9NN
United Kingdom

Neil Conway

University of London - Birkbeck College ( email )

School of Management and Organizational Psychology
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX
United Kingdom

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