Works councils : a case study
The case study features an industrial relations problem in 1977/78 in an American-owned manufacturing company in South-Eastorn England. There is a union recognition issue which is tackled by mounting a major programme of OD leading to the provision of a company constitution featuring a system of multi-level policy making councils. The system was then monitored for six years. In general, the predicted outcomes were realised however, there were two unpredicted by-products of the programme: - those involved in the original dispute (blue collar manufacturing employees) voluntarily withdrew from the union despite there being provision for union involvement in the Constitution; - it was found that the desire for a system of representative participation was not universal among all employees. These findings - both the predicted and the unpredicted - are discussed and interpreted. It is the second unpredicted by-product - representative participation's lack of universal appeal - which provides the most important outcome from the standpoint of theory development, on the place of constitutions in organization design. This leads to the derivation of limiting conditions for their application in Section 3.