Understanding continuity in public sector HRM through neo‐institutional theory: why national collective bargaining has survived in English local government

Peter Beszter (Corresponding Author), Peter Ackers, Donald Hislop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Most HRM research over recent decades has concentrated on ‘change’, charting ever more fragmented, individualised and unitarist employment relationships. This is equally true of public sector HRM, where the emphasis has been on neo‐liberalism and marketisation. However, in many countries and sectors, collective, pluralist approaches to HRM and industrial relations have proved remarkably resilient. This article uses Neo‐Institutional theory to explain the ‘continuity’ of one such HRM system: national collective bargaining in English local government (1979–2007). We argue that this survives because it manages the political and managerial processes that link central government and central–local relations and acts as a conduit between institutional stakeholders to deliver services to the public. By understanding the ‘passive consensus’ that holds the collectivist HRM system together, we can anticipate the forces that might pull it apart.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-381
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Resource Management Journal
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015

Keywords

  • public sector
  • local government
  • collective bargaining

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