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Institutional Change And The Restructuring Of Service Work In The French And German Telecommunications Industries, Virginia Doellgast, Hiroatsu Nohara, Robert Tchobanian Aug 2017

Institutional Change And The Restructuring Of Service Work In The French And German Telecommunications Industries, Virginia Doellgast, Hiroatsu Nohara, Robert Tchobanian

Virginia Doellgast

This study analyses recent changes in collective bargaining institutions and their implications for employer strategies in the French and German telecommunications industries, drawing on case studies and survey data from call centre workplaces. Findings demonstrate that differences in both formal institutions and past logics of action influenced actor responses to changing markets and ownership structures. French trade unions were more successful in establishing encompassing bargaining structures and reducing pressures for pay differentiation, due to state support for the mandatory extension of agreements and unions’ strategic focus on centralizing bargaining. In contrast, bargaining in Germany has become increasingly fragmented and decentralized ...


Collective Voice Under Decentralized Bargaining: A Comparative Study Of Work Reorganization In Us And German Call Centres, Virginia Doellgast Aug 2017

Collective Voice Under Decentralized Bargaining: A Comparative Study Of Work Reorganization In Us And German Call Centres, Virginia Doellgast

Virginia Doellgast

This article compares the process of and outcomes from work reorganization in US and German call centres, based on four matched case studies in the telecommunications industry. Both German cases adopted high-involvement employment systems with broad skills and worker discretion, while the US cases relied on a narrow division of labour, tight discipline and individual incentives. These outcomes are explained by differences in institutional supports for collective voice. Works councils in the German companies used their stronger participation rights to limit monitoring and encourage upskilling at a time when US managers were rationalizing similar jobs. Findings demonstrate that industrial relations ...


From Bureaucracy To Enterprise? The Changing Jobs And Careers Of Managers In Telecommunications Service, Rosemary Batt May 2015

From Bureaucracy To Enterprise? The Changing Jobs And Careers Of Managers In Telecommunications Service, Rosemary Batt

Rosemary Batt

[Excerpt] In response to technological change and product market deregulation, longstanding U.S. telecommunications firms are radically restructuring their business strategies and organizations to improve competitiveness. While the popular and business press as well as academic researchers have focused attention on the dramatic changes occurring in the collapse of industry boundaries, megamergers, and the rise of new strategic alliances, they have largely ignored how these structural changes are profoundly altering the employment and careers of employees. In the Bell operating companies, where bureaucracy is seen as the major obstacle to competitiveness, managerial workers have become a significant target of reform ...


Human Resource And Employment Practices In Telecommunications Services, 1980-1998, Rosemary Batt, Jeffrey Keefe May 2015

Human Resource And Employment Practices In Telecommunications Services, 1980-1998, Rosemary Batt, Jeffrey Keefe

Rosemary Batt

[Excerpt] In the academic literature on manufacturing, much research and debate have focused on whether firms are adopting some form of “high-performance” or “high-involvement” work organization based on such practices as employee participation, teams, and increased discretion, skills, and training for frontline workers (Ichniowski et al., 1996; Kochan and Osterman, 1994; MacDuffie, 1995). Whereas many firms in the telecommunications industry flirted with these ideas in the 1980s, they did not prove to be a lasting source of inspiration for the redesign of work and employment practices. Rather, work restructuring in telecommunications services has been driven by the ability of firms ...


Telecommunications: Collective Bargaining In An Era Of Industry Reconsolidation, Jeffrey Keefe, Rosemary Batt Jun 2013

Telecommunications: Collective Bargaining In An Era Of Industry Reconsolidation, Jeffrey Keefe, Rosemary Batt

Rosemary Batt

[Excerpt] In this paper, we examine the reconsolidation of the industry, between 1995 and 2001, focusing on the merger, acquisition, and business strategies of the major corporate players; union responses to those strategies; and the resulting evolution of union-management relations and collective bargaining outcomes. We argue that the nature of the industry and technology, coupled with its institutional legacy, provides incentives for consolidation and recentralization of the ownership structure. In this process over the last decade, former Bell affiliates have sought union support before regulatory commissions, and the unions have leveraged their political power to make important gains in collective ...


Labor Market Outcomes Of Deregulation In Telecommunications Services, Rosemary Batt, Michael Strausser Jun 2013

Labor Market Outcomes Of Deregulation In Telecommunications Services, Rosemary Batt, Michael Strausser

Rosemary Batt

[Excerpt] This paper examines the labor market outcomes of deregulation in the telecommunications industry, focusing specifically on changes in union density, real wages, wage inequality, and employment levels. Deregulation of telecommunications long distance and equipment markets began in 1984 with the dismantling of the highly unionized Bell System into AT&T (the long distance and equipment provider) and seven Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs, the local service providers). Deregulation of local service has proceeded fitfully: while Congress intended to increase local competition with the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the RBOCs continue largely as monopoly providers. Despite only partial deregulation, however, former Bell System companies have fundamentally restructured their operations to compete with a growing number of new nonunion entrants; and they have focused heavily on cutting labor costs. Labor-management relations, cooperative under the prior regulated regime, have deteriorated substantially; and unions have had minimal influence on managerial strategies in the deregulated era (Keefe and Batt 1997). In this paper, we focus on three questions. First, what are the overall ...


Labor Market Institutions And Restructuring In U.S. Deregulated Telecommunications Services, Rosemary Batt Jun 2013

Labor Market Institutions And Restructuring In U.S. Deregulated Telecommunications Services, Rosemary Batt

Rosemary Batt

[Excerpt] This chapter summarizes some of the recent literature concerning the changing nature of markets, technology, and employment relations in deregulated telecommunications services in the United States. It draws on arguments and evidence from a series of studies over the last five years, most of which were undertaken by researchers at Cornell, MIT, and Rutgers universities in the United States. The research focuses on the relationship between market deregulation and technology change on the one hand, and changing business strategy, organizational structure, union relations, and work organization on the other. This chapter focuses on the extent to which labor market ...


Deregulation And Restructuring In Telecommunications Services In The United States And Germany, Rosemary Batt, Owen Darbishire Jun 2013

Deregulation And Restructuring In Telecommunications Services In The United States And Germany, Rosemary Batt, Owen Darbishire

Rosemary Batt

[Excerpt] Because of the slower pace of reform, however, Telekom also stands to learn from the mistakes made in the United States, where deregulation has led to increased inequality among consumers and workers. For consumers, the restructuring has benefited businesses because they no longer pay rates that subsidize universal residential service. Both business and high-end retail customers can take advantage of falling prices for long-distance calling, high-speed networks, or enhanced features such as voice messaging. For lower-income consumers, however, the basic costs of local service have risen, and these consumers are less likely to be able to take advantage of ...


Outcomes Of Self-Directed Work Groups In Telecommunications Services, Rosemary Batt Jun 2013

Outcomes Of Self-Directed Work Groups In Telecommunications Services, Rosemary Batt

Rosemary Batt

[Excerpt] The purpose of my presentation is to consider whether the use of self-directed teams enhances competitiveness in services. In the context of heightened competition brought about by deregulation and the internationalization of service markets, do "team-based" work systems produce higher quality service and customer satisfaction? Do workers benefit as well? Should unions as well as management support this innovation? If so, under what conditions and why? This presentation complements that of the other panelists in this session in important ways. First, while Verma provides an overview of the array of workplace innovations being introduced in telecommunications firms (from joint ...


Outsourcing And Human Resource Management, Virginia Doellgast, Howard Gospel Jan 2013

Outsourcing And Human Resource Management, Virginia Doellgast, Howard Gospel

Articles and Chapters

[Excerpt] Historically, outsourcing has always existed, as firms put out work to suppliers, contractors, and intermediaries to organize the production of goods and services (Doellgast and Gospel 2011). In recent years, however, outsourcing has increased in both scale (the volume of outsourcing) and scope (the number of activities outsourced). This has several related causes. First, the advent of new transportation systems, such as the growth of maritime, rail, and road logistics and the advent of new information and communications technologies (ICTs) have facilitated ordering, monitoring, and delivery of products and services. Second, as markets have extended and become more competitive ...


Collective Voice Under Decentralized Bargaining: A Comparative Study Of Work Reorganization In Us And German Call Centres, Virginia Doellgast Jan 2010

Collective Voice Under Decentralized Bargaining: A Comparative Study Of Work Reorganization In Us And German Call Centres, Virginia Doellgast

Articles and Chapters

This article compares the process of and outcomes from work reorganization in US and German call centres, based on four matched case studies in the telecommunications industry. Both German cases adopted high-involvement employment systems with broad skills and worker discretion, while the US cases relied on a narrow division of labour, tight discipline and individual incentives. These outcomes are explained by differences in institutional supports for collective voice. Works councils in the German companies used their stronger participation rights to limit monitoring and encourage upskilling at a time when US managers were rationalizing similar jobs. Findings demonstrate that industrial relations ...


Institutional Change And The Restructuring Of Service Work In The French And German Telecommunications Industries, Virginia Doellgast, Hiroatsu Nohara, Robert Tchobanian Jan 2009

Institutional Change And The Restructuring Of Service Work In The French And German Telecommunications Industries, Virginia Doellgast, Hiroatsu Nohara, Robert Tchobanian

Articles and Chapters

This study analyses recent changes in collective bargaining institutions and their implications for employer strategies in the French and German telecommunications industries, drawing on case studies and survey data from call centre workplaces. Findings demonstrate that differences in both formal institutions and past logics of action influenced actor responses to changing markets and ownership structures. French trade unions were more successful in establishing encompassing bargaining structures and reducing pressures for pay differentiation, due to state support for the mandatory extension of agreements and unions’ strategic focus on centralizing bargaining. In contrast, bargaining in Germany has become increasingly fragmented and decentralized ...


Telecommunications 2004: Strategy, Hr Practices & Performance - Cornell-Rutgers Telecommunications Project, Rosemary Batt, Alex Colvin, Harry Katz, Jeffrey Keefe Jan 2008

Telecommunications 2004: Strategy, Hr Practices & Performance - Cornell-Rutgers Telecommunications Project, Rosemary Batt, Alex Colvin, Harry Katz, Jeffrey Keefe

Rosemary Batt

This national benchmarking report of the U.S. telecommunications services industry traces the tumultuous changes in management and workforce practices and performance in the sector over the last 5 years. This is a follow-up report to our 1998 study. At that time, when the industry was booming, we conducted a national survey of establishments in the industry. In 2003, we returned to do a second national survey of the industry, this time in a sector that was recovering from one of the worst recessions in its history.


National Industrial Relations And Local Bargaining Power In The Us And German Telecommunications Industries, Virginia Doellgast Jan 2008

National Industrial Relations And Local Bargaining Power In The Us And German Telecommunications Industries, Virginia Doellgast

Articles and Chapters

This article compares the process and outcomes of collective negotiations over the outsourcing of call center jobs in US and German telecommunications firms. In the USA, the Communication Workers of America relied on coalitions with politicians and other organizations to lead successful public campaigns; while in Germany, ver.di used coordinated bargaining with works councils to leverage their strong codetermination rights. Variation in access to resources between countries helps explain differences in the unions’ ability to negotiate strong collective agreements on outsourcing and to influence restructuring decisions.


The Viability Of Alternative Call Center Production Models, Rosemary Batt, Lisa Moynihan Apr 2002

The Viability Of Alternative Call Center Production Models, Rosemary Batt, Lisa Moynihan

Articles and Chapters

[Excerpt] The central question of this paper is whether a mass customization strategy coupled with high involvement work practices is an economically viable model for service and sales call centers. If so, under what conditions and why? To answer these questions, in the next section, we describe alternative models of call center management. In section III, we present a conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between management practices, workers reactions to those practices, and performance outcomes. We then review empirical evidence on these relationships, focusing primarily on studies of call centers or related service workplaces. In section IV, we draw ...


Telecommunications: Collective Bargaining In An Era Of Industry Reconsolidation, Jeffrey Keefe, Rosemary Batt Jan 2002

Telecommunications: Collective Bargaining In An Era Of Industry Reconsolidation, Jeffrey Keefe, Rosemary Batt

Articles and Chapters

[Excerpt] In this paper, we examine the reconsolidation of the industry, between 1995 and 2001, focusing on the merger, acquisition, and business strategies of the major corporate players; union responses to those strategies; and the resulting evolution of union-management relations and collective bargaining outcomes. We argue that the nature of the industry and technology, coupled with its institutional legacy, provides incentives for consolidation and recentralization of the ownership structure. In this process over the last decade, former Bell affiliates have sought union support before regulatory commissions, and the unions have leveraged their political power to make important gains in collective ...


How High Performance Human Resource Practices And Workforce Unionization Affect Managerial Pay, Alexander J.S. Colvin, Rosemary Batt, Harry C. Katz Jul 2001

How High Performance Human Resource Practices And Workforce Unionization Affect Managerial Pay, Alexander J.S. Colvin, Rosemary Batt, Harry C. Katz

Articles and Chapters

Using data from a nationally representative sample of telecommunications establishments, this study finds that HR practices and workforce unionization influence managerial pay levels and the ratio of manager-to-worker pay. High performance HR practices, including investment in the skills of the workforce, in computer-based technologies, and in performance-based worker pay practices, are all positively related to managerial pay; but the use of workforce teams, which shift some managerial responsibilities to workers, has the opposite association. High performance HR practices also are associated with lower manager-to-worker pay differentials. In addition, workforce unionization is positively associated with managerial pay levels, with worker base ...


Deregulation And Restructuring In Telecommunications Services In The United States And Germany, Rosemary Batt, Owen Darbishire Jan 2001

Deregulation And Restructuring In Telecommunications Services In The United States And Germany, Rosemary Batt, Owen Darbishire

Articles and Chapters

[Excerpt] Because of the slower pace of reform, however, Telekom also stands to learn from the mistakes made in the United States, where deregulation has led to increased inequality among consumers and workers. For consumers, the restructuring has benefited businesses because they no longer pay rates that subsidize universal residential service. Both business and high-end retail customers can take advantage of falling prices for long-distance calling, high-speed networks, or enhanced features such as voice messaging. For lower-income consumers, however, the basic costs of local service have risen, and these consumers are less likely to be able to take advantage of ...


Labor Market Institutions And Restructuring In U.S. Deregulated Telecommunications Services, Rosemary Batt Jan 2000

Labor Market Institutions And Restructuring In U.S. Deregulated Telecommunications Services, Rosemary Batt

Articles and Chapters

[Excerpt] This chapter summarizes some of the recent literature concerning the changing nature of markets, technology, and employment relations in deregulated telecommunications services in the United States. It draws on arguments and evidence from a series of studies over the last five years, most of which were undertaken by researchers at Cornell, MIT, and Rutgers universities in the United States. The research focuses on the relationship between market deregulation and technology change on the one hand, and changing business strategy, organizational structure, union relations, and work organization on the other. This chapter focuses on the extent to which labor market ...


Human Resource And Employment Practices In Telecommunications Services, 1980-1998, Rosemary Batt, Jeffrey Keefe Jan 1999

Human Resource And Employment Practices In Telecommunications Services, 1980-1998, Rosemary Batt, Jeffrey Keefe

Articles and Chapters

[Excerpt] In the academic literature on manufacturing, much research and debate have focused on whether firms are adopting some form of “high-performance” or “high-involvement” work organization based on such practices as employee participation, teams, and increased discretion, skills, and training for frontline workers (Ichniowski et al., 1996; Kochan and Osterman, 1994; MacDuffie, 1995). Whereas many firms in the telecommunications industry flirted with these ideas in the 1980s, they did not prove to be a lasting source of inspiration for the redesign of work and employment practices. Rather, work restructuring in telecommunications services has been driven by the ability of firms ...


Labor Market Outcomes Of Deregulation In Telecommunications Services, Rosemary Batt, Michael Strausser Jan 1998

Labor Market Outcomes Of Deregulation In Telecommunications Services, Rosemary Batt, Michael Strausser

Articles and Chapters

[Excerpt] This paper examines the labor market outcomes of deregulation in the telecommunications industry, focusing specifically on changes in union density, real wages, wage inequality, and employment levels. Deregulation of telecommunications long distance and equipment markets began in 1984 with the dismantling of the highly unionized Bell System into AT&T (the long distance and equipment provider) and seven Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs, the local service providers). Deregulation of local service has proceeded fitfully: while Congress intended to increase local competition with the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the RBOCs continue largely as monopoly providers. Despite only partial deregulation, however, former Bell System companies have fundamentally restructured their operations to compete with a growing number of new nonunion entrants; and they have focused heavily on cutting labor costs. Labor-management relations, cooperative under the prior regulated regime, have deteriorated substantially; and unions have had minimal influence on managerial strategies in the deregulated era (Keefe and Batt 1997).

In this paper, we focus on three questions. First, what are the overall ...


Institutional Determinants Of Deregulation And Restructuring In Telecommunications: Britain, Germany, And United States Compared, Rosemary Batt, Owen Darbishire Jan 1997

Institutional Determinants Of Deregulation And Restructuring In Telecommunications: Britain, Germany, And United States Compared, Rosemary Batt, Owen Darbishire

Articles and Chapters

Virtually all countries are undergoing deregulation and privatisation of their telecommunications sectors. Yet despite the globalisation of markets, technological borrowing, and great similarities in public sector legacies across countries, the outcomes of deregulation and restructuring are not converging to a single point. Rather, the differences in national and sub-national industrial relations institutions have allowed key stakeholders to shape new market rules, or re-regulate the market in ways that privilege some actors more than others. The new rules, in turn, more or less constrain managerial prerogative and lead to substantially different outcomes for key stakeholders, including firms, unions, workers, managers, and ...


Outcomes Of Self-Directed Work Groups In Telecommunications Services, Rosemary Batt Jan 1996

Outcomes Of Self-Directed Work Groups In Telecommunications Services, Rosemary Batt

Articles and Chapters

[Excerpt] The purpose of my presentation is to consider whether the use of self-directed teams enhances competitiveness in services. In the context of heightened competition brought about by deregulation and the internationalization of service markets, do "team-based" work systems produce higher quality service and customer satisfaction? Do workers benefit as well? Should unions as well as management support this innovation? If so, under what conditions and why?

This presentation complements that of the other panelists in this session in important ways. First, while Verma provides an overview of the array of workplace innovations being introduced in telecommunications firms (from joint ...


From Bureaucracy To Enterprise? The Changing Jobs And Careers Of Managers In Telecommunications Service, Rosemary Batt Jan 1996

From Bureaucracy To Enterprise? The Changing Jobs And Careers Of Managers In Telecommunications Service, Rosemary Batt

Articles and Chapters

[Excerpt] In response to technological change and product market deregulation, longstanding U.S. telecommunications firms are radically restructuring their business strategies and organizations to improve competitiveness. While the popular and business press as well as academic researchers have focused attention on the dramatic changes occurring in the collapse of industry boundaries, megamergers, and the rise of new strategic alliances, they have largely ignored how these structural changes are profoundly altering the employment and careers of employees. In the Bell operating companies, where bureaucracy is seen as the major obstacle to competitiveness, managerial workers have become a significant target of reform ...