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Worker Representation on Boards of Directors: A Study of Competing Roles

Tove H. Hammer, Steven C. Currall and Robert N. Stern
ILR Review
Vol. 44, No. 4 (Jul., 1991), pp. 661-680
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.2307/2524455
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2524455
Page Count: 20
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Worker Representation on Boards of Directors: A Study of Competing Roles
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Abstract

The study examines worker representation on boards of directors as a form of employee participation in organizational decision-making in 14 U.S. firms in the early 1980s. The authors develop a model of worker director role definitions and role performance to explain how opposition by managers and conventional board directors to labor advocacy on the board can make worker directorships ineffective labor voice mechanisms when other structures of participation are absent in a firm. The analysis shows that corporate managers and workers had widely divergent definitions of the worker director role: management emphasized downward communication from the board to employees, whereas worker directors and their constituents stressed the protection of workers' interests as the main function of worker directors. Both management and labor influenced worker role definitions and role behavior through selection and socialization processes.

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