Acted upon and acted through: Unions, consent and contestation vis-a-vis High Performance Work Systems in the automobile industry

Tod D. Rutherford, Lorenzo Frangi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Comparing Canadian, German and Swedish automotive unions, this article examines why since the 1990s unions have increasingly accepted High Performance Work Systems (HPWS). ‘External’ factors such as globalization, outsourcing and state neoliberal policies are important, but drawing upon Gramsci and Burawoy, the article adopts an ‘internal’ perspective emphasizing (a) how the mystification of the wage relation is a basis for capital’s workplace hegemony and (b) the role of union agency via ‘defend and restore’ and ‘modernize and adapt’ strategies. The article argues that by incorporating union resistance, HPWS has acted through unions as much as it has acted upon them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Automotive industry
  • HPWS
  • hegemony
  • mystification
  • unions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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