Managerialism, quality and employment in local government : the impact of quality management initiatives on work and trade unions
This thesis describes how the implementation of quality management methods in local government organisations have affected the inter-related issues of the public-service labour process and collective bargaining arrangements. A series of interviews with managers and union officials, and questionnaire surveys of trade union members attitudes at four disparate local authorities pursuing quality management was conducted over two and a half years. The findings indicate that the nature and outcomes of quality management implementation are contingent upon pre-existing employment relations within the organisation - particularly relating to trade union entrenchment and activity. The implementation of quality management, however, does have a subsequent effect on the labour process and collective bargaining. While there are considerable differences between authorities, evidence of increased worker 'commitment' as a result of quality management is inconclusive, though workers do perceive net increases in work-rates. Workers also perceive a net decline in trade union influence over working practices. It is concluded that unions need to address the issue of quality management in a critical manner in order to be able to adequately protect the interests of their members and to retain the long term legitimacy in the workplace.