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Full-Text Articles in Labor Relations

The Globalization Of Service Work: Comparative Institutional Perspectives On Call Centers (Introduction To A Special Issue Of The Industrial & Labor Relations Review), Rosemary Batt, David Holman, Ursula Holtgrewe May 2015

The Globalization Of Service Work: Comparative Institutional Perspectives On Call Centers (Introduction To A Special Issue Of The Industrial & Labor Relations Review), Rosemary Batt, David Holman, Ursula Holtgrewe

Rosemary Batt

This introduction to the special issue on the globalization of service work provides an overview of the call center sector and its development in coordinated, liberal market, and emerging market economies. The introduction's authors situate this research in literature on the comparative political economy and industrial relations. Drawing on qualitative research and a unique survey of 2,500 establishments in 17 countries conducted in 2003-2006, they discuss the extent of convergence and divergence in management practices and employment relations. They also describe the research methodology for the overall research project, highlight its major findings, and summarize the contributions of ...


[Review Of The Books Managing The Human Factor: The Early Years Of Human Resource Management In American Industry And Hired Hands Or Human Resources? Case Studies Of Hrm Programs And Practices In Early American Industry], Rosemary Batt May 2015

[Review Of The Books Managing The Human Factor: The Early Years Of Human Resource Management In American Industry And Hired Hands Or Human Resources? Case Studies Of Hrm Programs And Practices In Early American Industry], Rosemary Batt

Rosemary Batt

[Excerpt] Bruce Kaufman has produced two volumes on the early development of human resource (HR) management that should become mainstays in undergraduate and graduate courses in the fields of HR studies and industrial relations. Not since Sandy Jacoby's pathbreaking book on the development of personnel management has such careful attention been paid to the inner workings of American corporations' personnel policies a century ago (Employing Bureaucracy: Managers, Unions and the Transforming of Work in American Industry, 1900-1945, 1985). Unlike Jacoby, who specifically analyzed how and why companies developed these policies in response to union movements and external pressures, Kaufman ...


How Institutions And Business Strategies Affect Wages: A Cross-National Study Of Call Centers, Rosemary Batt, Hiroatsu Nohara May 2015

How Institutions And Business Strategies Affect Wages: A Cross-National Study Of Call Centers, Rosemary Batt, Hiroatsu Nohara

Rosemary Batt

This paper, drawing on a 2003-2006 establishment-level survey of 1,819 call centers in 15 countries, examines effects of industrial relations institutions and employer strategies on wage variation across coordinated, liberal, and emerging market economies. The authors find several contradictory patterns, which confirm theoretical predictions for some countries and contradict them for others, suggesting diverse institutional reactions to the emergence of a new economic activity. Consistent with prior research, Denmark, France, and Sweden exhibit patterns of low wage dispersion and no union wage premium, and the United States, Canada, and emerging market economies exhibit quite high levels of dispersion. Contrary ...


[Review Of The Book Sustainable Prosperity In The New Economy? Business Organization And High-Tech Employment In The United States], Rosemary Batt, Jae Eun Lee May 2015

[Review Of The Book Sustainable Prosperity In The New Economy? Business Organization And High-Tech Employment In The United States], Rosemary Batt, Jae Eun Lee

Rosemary Batt

[Excerpt] Best known as a business and economic historian, William (Bill) Lazonick may often escape the view of academics in human resource studies, organizational behavior, and labor relations. This is a mistake. Lazonick's new book, Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy?, is a must-read for scholars and students in these fields. He has chosen to study an important problem in the real world, has marshaled detailed empirical evidence to support his argument, and has used this evidence to critique conventional theory in economics and management.


Organizational Performance In Services, Rosemary Batt, Virginia Doellgast May 2015

Organizational Performance In Services, Rosemary Batt, Virginia Doellgast

Rosemary Batt

The question of performance in service activities and occupations is important for several reasons. First, over two-thirds of employment in advanced economies is in service activities. Second, productivity growth in services is historically low, lagging far behind manufacturing, and as a result, wages in production-level service jobs remain low. In addition, labor costs in service activities are often over 50% of total costs, whereas in manufacturing they have fallen to less than 25% of costs. This raises the question of whether management practices that have improved performance in manufacturing, such as investment in the skills and training of the workforce ...


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 ...


Financial Intermediaries In The United States: Development And Impact On Firms And Employment Relations, Eileen Appelbaum, Rosemary Batt, Jae Eun Lee May 2015

Financial Intermediaries In The United States: Development And Impact On Firms And Employment Relations, Eileen Appelbaum, Rosemary Batt, Jae Eun Lee

Rosemary Batt

[Excerpt] Private equity (PE), hedge funds (HFs), sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), and other private pools of capital form part of the growing shadow banking system in the United States, where these new financial intermediaries provide an alternative investment mechanism to the traditional banking system. PE and HFs have their origins in the USA, while the first SWF was created by the Kuwaiti Government in 1953. While they have separate roots and distinct business models, these alternative investment vehicles have increasingly merged into overarching asset management funds which encompass all three alternative investments. These funds have wielded increasing power in financial ...


Groups, Teams, And The Division Of Labor — Interdisciplinary Perspectives On The Organization Of Work, Rosemary Batt, Virginia Doellgast May 2015

Groups, Teams, And The Division Of Labor — Interdisciplinary Perspectives On The Organization Of Work, Rosemary Batt, Virginia Doellgast

Rosemary Batt

The purpose of this chapter is to survey and critique this varied landscape of research on groups at work, drawing out common themes and selective weaknesses with the goal of suggesting a more synthetic and informed future agenda. Our discussion is not encyclopedic, but rather focused on three quite different research traditions: those based in psychology, in industrial relations, and in critical sociology. We outline the intellectual landscape of each case and highlight areas of agreement and disagreement. We argue that this project of cross-disciplinary theory building encounters substantial challenges, but is rich in potential. These traditions differ in their ...


Service Strategies Marketing, Operations, And Human Resource Practices, Rosemary Batt May 2015

Service Strategies Marketing, Operations, And Human Resource Practices, Rosemary Batt

Rosemary Batt

Over the last three decades, the principles of service management have become widely accepted. These call for an integrated approach to marketing, operations, and human resource management (HRM). The scholarly and business press routinely point to the importance of customer loyalty and customer relationship management for corporate profitability. Advances in marketing concepts and information systems make it possible to capture more precisely the demand characteristics of customers and to tailor solutions to meet their needs. Why is it, then, that measures of customer satisfaction have declined steadily in the last decade, websites for consumer complaints have proliferated, and media accounts ...


Performance And Growth In Entrepreneurial Firms: Revisiting The Union-Performance Relationship, Rosemary Batt, Theresa M. Welbourne May 2015

Performance And Growth In Entrepreneurial Firms: Revisiting The Union-Performance Relationship, Rosemary Batt, Theresa M. Welbourne

Rosemary Batt

[Excerpt] A substantial body of research has examined the relationship between unions and firm performance. It generally has found a positive relationship between unions and productivity and a negative relationship between unions and financial performance (Freeman & Medoff, 1984; Addison & Hirsch, 1989; Belman, 1992; Freeman, 1992). The exit/voice model is most commonly used to explain this paradox (Freeman & Medoff, 1984). Freeman and Medoff argued that the “monopoly power” of unions leads to high union wages and restrictive work rules, both of which raise the costs of production and lower profit margins. The presence of unions, however, also lowers production costs by reducing turnover (exit ...


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 ...


Innovation In Isolation: Labor-Management Partnerships In The United States, Kirsten S. Wever, Rosemary Batt, Saul Rubinstein May 2015

Innovation In Isolation: Labor-Management Partnerships In The United States, Kirsten S. Wever, Rosemary Batt, Saul Rubinstein

Rosemary Batt

In the United States, as in other advanced industrial countries, worker participation in management has taken on increasing importance, placing pressures on employers and unions to change how they deal with employees/members, and with each other. This paper examines two of the most impressive cases in the U.S.: the partnerships between General Motors (G.M.) and the United Autoworkers union (U.A W.) at Saturn and between BellSouth and the Communication Workers union (C.W.A.). We outline the evolution and the basic features of these innovations, as well as highlighting certain ongoing problems. These problems, we argue ...


Introduction To Part 1: The Division Of Labor, Rosemary Batt May 2015

Introduction To Part 1: The Division Of Labor, Rosemary Batt

Rosemary Batt

The changing nature of work, technology, and the division of labor in the last quarter of the twentieth century has been a central preoccupation of scholarship on organizations. Debate has centered on the extent to which a fundamental shift in employment systems has occurred—from so-called Fordist to post-Fordist models. The stylized facts portray the former as characterized by internal labor market systems in large organizations, narrow jobs in hierarchical career ladders, and long-term employment relations. The latter include decentralized organizations, flatter hierarchies, team-based forms of work organization, and shorter employment relations that reflect external market pressures. The accumulated body ...


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 ...


Changes In Employment And Working Conditions Among Technical And Professional Workers, Rosemary Batt, Danielle Van Jaarsveld Jun 2013

Changes In Employment And Working Conditions Among Technical And Professional Workers, Rosemary Batt, Danielle Van Jaarsveld

Rosemary Batt

Recent organizing drives and strike activity among technical and professional employees raise the question of whether the employment conditions of these workers are deteriorating more generally. To consider this question, this paper reviews empirical research and national surveys on trends in employment contracts and working conditions of technical and professional employees. On average, we find that employment security and benefits have deteriorated, more pay is at risk, and hours of work have increased, negatively spilling over from work to family life.


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 ...


Changing Internal Labor Markets In Service And Sales Occupations, Rosemary Batt Jun 2013

Changing Internal Labor Markets In Service And Sales Occupations, Rosemary Batt

Rosemary Batt

[Excerpt] In this paper, I address the question of how deregulation in the telecommunications industry has altered the internal labor market structure of clerical and sales jobs—that is, the traditionally female-dominated operator, service, and sales jobs in the industry. This question is important for several reasons. First, from the perspective of the internal labor market literature, the Bell System represented a classic example of a highly developed and stable system. Given growing conventional wisdom that internal labor markets are disintegrating, the telecommunications industry provides a useful case for examining the extent to which corporate responses to deregulation have led ...


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 ...


Introduction: Institutional Change And Labor Market Segmentation In European Call Centers, Virginia Doellgast, Rosemary Batt, Ole H. Sorensen Jan 2011

Introduction: Institutional Change And Labor Market Segmentation In European Call Centers, Virginia Doellgast, Rosemary Batt, Ole H. Sorensen

Rosemary Batt

This article examines the dynamics of workplace change in European call centers. Survey data and case studies from Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain show large national and sectoral differences in institutional inclusiveness and labor market segmentation. These reflect variation in the institutional constraints and resources available to employers and unions as they adjust to market changes. However, union strategies to organize new groups and close gaps in existing regulations are becoming increasingly important as restructuring undermines traditional forms of bargaining power.


Strategic Segmentation In Frontline Services: Matching Customers, Employees, And Human Resource Systems, Rosemary Batt Jan 2010

Strategic Segmentation In Frontline Services: Matching Customers, Employees, And Human Resource Systems, Rosemary Batt

Rosemary Batt

This paper examines variation in the use of high involvement work practices in service and sales operations. I argue that the relationship between the customer and frontline service provider is a central feature that distinguishes production-level service activities from manufacturing. In particular, through strategic segmentation, firms are able to segment customers by their demand characteristics and to match the complexity and potential revenue stream of the customer to the skills of employees and the human resource system that shapes the customer-employee interface. Unlike manufacturing, where high involvement systems have emerged in a wide variety of product markets, therefore, service organizations ...


Who Benefits From Teams? Comparing Workers, Supervisors, And Managers, Rosemary Batt Jan 2010

Who Benefits From Teams? Comparing Workers, Supervisors, And Managers, Rosemary Batt

Rosemary Batt

This paper offers a political explanation for the diffusion and sustainability of team-based work systems by examining the differential outcomes of team structures for 1200 workers, supervisors, and middle managers in a large unionized telecommunications company. Regression analyses show that participation in self-managed teams is associated with significantly higher levels of perceived discretion, employment security, and satisfaction for workers and the opposite for supervisors. Middle managers who initiate team innovations report higher employment security, but otherwise are not significantly different from their counterparts who are not involved in innovations. By contrast, there are no significant outcomes for employees associated with ...


Human Resource Practices As Predictors Of Work-Family Outcomes And Employee Turnover, Rosemary Batt, P. Monique Valcour Jan 2010

Human Resource Practices As Predictors Of Work-Family Outcomes And Employee Turnover, Rosemary Batt, P. Monique Valcour

Rosemary Batt

Drawing on a non-random sample of 557 dual- earner white collar employees, this paper explores the relationship between human resource practices and three outcomes of interest to firms and employees: work-family conflict, employees’ control over managing work and family demands, and employees’ turnover intentions. We analyze three types of human resource practices: work-family policies, HR incentives designed to induce attachment to the firm, and the design of work. In a series of hierarchical regression equations, we find that work design characteristics explain the most variance in employees’ control over managing work and family demands, while HR incentives explain the most ...


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.


Human Resource Management, Service Quality, And Economic Performance In Call Centers, Rosemary Batt, Lisa M. Moynihan Jan 2008

Human Resource Management, Service Quality, And Economic Performance In Call Centers, Rosemary Batt, Lisa M. Moynihan

Rosemary Batt

This paper examines the relationship between human resource practices, operational outcomes, and economic performance in call centers. The study draws on a sample of 64 call centers serving the mass market in a large telecommunications services company. Surveys of 1,243 employees in the 64 centers were aggregated to the call center level and matched to archival data on service process quality, as measured by customer surveys; call handling time, revenues per call, and net revenues per call. Our path analysis shows that human resource practices emphasizing employee training, discretion, and rewards lead to higher service quality, higher revenues per ...


Net Working: Work Patterns And Workforce Policies For The New Media Industry, Rosemary Batt, Susan Christopherson, Ned Rightor, Danielle Van Jaarsveld Jan 2008

Net Working: Work Patterns And Workforce Policies For The New Media Industry, Rosemary Batt, Susan Christopherson, Ned Rightor, Danielle Van Jaarsveld

Rosemary Batt

This report, based on a study of a group of highly accomplished professionals in New York City, is one of the first to take up labor market issues in the new media industry. It describes the challenges faced by professionals and employers alike in this important and dynamic sector, and identifies strategies for success in a project oriented environment with highly complex skill demands and rapidly changing technology. Our findings suggest three central issues.


The Indian Call Centre Industry: National Benchmarking Report Strategy, Hr Practices, & Performance, Rosemary Batt, Virginia Doellgast, Hyunji Kwon, Mudit Nopany, Priti Nopany, Anil Da Costa Jan 2008

The Indian Call Centre Industry: National Benchmarking Report Strategy, Hr Practices, & Performance, Rosemary Batt, Virginia Doellgast, Hyunji Kwon, Mudit Nopany, Priti Nopany, Anil Da Costa

Rosemary Batt

Report of the Global Call Centre Industry Project The dramatic growth of the call center industry is a world-wide phenomenon, fueled by advances in information technologies and the precipitous decline in the costs of voice and data transmission over the last two decades. As part of this global industry, call centres in India have experienced spectacular growth in the last five years. They generate seventy percent of the revenues of the Indian Business Process Outourcing (BPO) industry, according to estimates by Mckinsey (www.nasscom.org). This rapid growth has also brought managerial challenges in terms of recruitment,staffing, training, and ...


The Impact Of Employee Voice And Compliance Mechanisms On Absenteeism, Discipline, And Turnover, Alexander J.S. Colvin, Rosemary Batt, Jeffrey Keefe Jan 2008

The Impact Of Employee Voice And Compliance Mechanisms On Absenteeism, Discipline, And Turnover, Alexander J.S. Colvin, Rosemary Batt, Jeffrey Keefe

Rosemary Batt

This study examines the impact of employee voice and compliance mechanisms on voluntary turnover and other workplace behaviors. Results from analysis of a unique, nationally representative sample of establishments in the telecommunications industry show that voice mechanisms in the form of unions and problem-solving groups are associated with significantly reduced quit rates and dismissal rates. In addition, voice mechanisms in the form of self-directed work teams are associated with lower absenteeism and discipline rates. By contrast, compliance mechanisms in the form of electronic monitoring are associated with higher discipline rates, while the compliance mechanism of strict work rules is associated ...


The Economic Costs And Benefits Of Self-Managed Teams Among Skilled Technicians, Rosemary Batt Jan 2008

The Economic Costs And Benefits Of Self-Managed Teams Among Skilled Technicians, Rosemary Batt

Rosemary Batt

This paper estimates the economic costs and benefits of implementing teams among highly-skilled technicians in a large regional telecommunications company. It matches individual survey and objective performance data for 230 employees in matched pairs of traditionally-supervised and self-managed groups. Multivariate regressions with appropriate controls show that teams do the work of supervisors in 60-70% less time, reducing indirect labor costs by 75 percent per team. Objective measures of quality and labor productivity are unaffected. Team members receive additional overtime pay that represents a 4-5 percent annual wage premium, which may be viewed alternatively as a share in the productivity gains ...