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The implications of trade union merger : a view from the grassroots

July 1st 1993 witnessed the creation of UNISON, with 1.3 million members, the largest trade union in Britain. The thesis analyses the effects of this merger between NUPE, NALGO and COHSE on the grassroots activists of the union. Much valuable industrial relations research exists on the causes and consequences of trade union mergers at the macro-level of the movement and at the meso-level of the individual union. The thesis complements and builds on this knowledge by focusing on the experiences and feelings of the lay activists at two UNISON branches over a two-and-a-half-year period following the amalgamation of their former union branches. Although also drawing on secondary data, the study is based primarily on a qualitative analysis of empirical data. In identifying that few theoretical and analytical constructs currently exist in trade union literature to study the implications of merger at the micro-level, the thesis employs theories and concepts drawn from the field of organisation studies. In this way, the thesis also offered an opportunity to test the efficacy of applying analytical tools to an organisation seldom considered in organisation studies. Specifically, the thesis utilises perspectives of organisational culture to analyse the aspects of consensus, conflict and ambiguity that arose out of the merger. Furthermore, in order to consider the subjective elements of a merger for the individual activist, the thesis draws on the theoretical and analytical concepts of ideology, metaphor, power and identity. The thesis demonstrates that only through the utilisation of such tools and theories of organisation analysis can the experiences and feelings of the lay activists with respect to the merger become more fully understood. The thesis further highlights the centrality of the values and beliefs an activist draws from their trade union ideology, the role conflict that they must often manage, the importance of knowledge acquisition for the individual, and the strategies of identity construction individuals undertake when confronted by an organisational change such as merger.
Date January 2001
CreatorsBennett, Anthony Joseph William
PublisherUniversity of Central Lancashire
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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