Workplace industrial relations in the context of a failing school
Over the last two decades the UK public sector has seen the introduction of 'new managerialism' - the devolvement to the local level of management initiatives and techniques more traditionally associated with the private sector; this has arguably increased industrial relations tensions in the workplace as both line managers and workers have become involved in actions and negotiations new to them. This thesis provides a unique, in-depth, consideration of the impact on industrial relations of new managerialism in a 'failing' secondary comprehensive school; it identifies how devolved management and public accountability has inflamed the workplace industrial relations of that school. By taking a qualitative, multi-method, case study approach to the research, the thesis investigates at first hand how management and teachers respond to centralised government initiatives at the school level. It considers, and contributes to, the debate surrounding the extent of managerial autonomy that public sector managers have and how managers may take differing approaches - and achieve different results - when implementing new managerialist initiatives at the local level. As a study of workplace industrial relations, the thesis, engages with and significantly contributes to, the academic literature stressing the importance of local trade union leadership to trade union activity; indeed, the work furthers the debate concerning the inter-relationship between political and trade union activism and the importance of political factions within trade unions, areas which are under-researched. By exploring the tensions between trade union members and their official union representatives, the thesis examines the complex inter-relationship between union democracy and union bureaucracy. Finally, the case study identifies policy implications for both the government and the trade union, particularly with respect to the closing and re-opening of 'failing' schools.