Paradoxes of participation : non-union workplace partnerships in John Lewis

Cathcart, Abby (2014) Paradoxes of participation : non-union workplace partnerships in John Lewis. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(6), pp. 762-780.

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The extent to which workplace partnership delivers mutual gains is subject to considerable debate amongst practitioners and scholars. One of the oldest and largest examples of workplace partnership is the John Lewis Partnership that began using forms of non-union employee representation in 1929. Despite ongoing interest from researchers in employee representation, and specifically non-union forms of employee voice, there have been few in-depth studies of the Partnership's organisational structure and practices since the 1980s. This paper explores in detail the operation of representation structures in the John Lewis Partnership, which is a significant case of non-union workplace partnership with the potential for mutual gains. A key finding of the paper was that the decision-making structures that characterise the Partnership, and that are protected by a constitution, are under constant threat from the discursive struggle to define partnership in a way that privileges managerial interests. The paper argues, therefore, that mutual gains need to be secured both structurally and discursively to address the tensions and paradoxes at the heart of debates about the meaning and aims of employee representation.

Impact and interest:

10 citations in Scopus
4 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 56526
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: John Lewis Partnership, Mutual Gains, Non-union Employee Representation, Organisational Democracy, Participation
DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2012.743476
ISSN: 0958-5192
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Human Resources Management (150305)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Deposited On: 21 Jan 2013 03:02
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2014 04:40

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