Employee Participation Through Non‐Union Forms of Employee Representation

Bruce E. Kaufman and Daphne G. Taras

in The Oxford Handbook of Participation in Organizations

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199207268
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191584817 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

Employee Participation Through Non‐Union Forms of Employee Representation

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  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
  • Business Ethics


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The distinctive approach considered in this article is indirect participation through forms of non-union employee representation (NER). NER has been practiced in industry for more than a century, with considerable diversity and variation both across countries and over time. This article defines NER and provides a thumbnail sketch of its historical evolution. It describes the various forms of NER and its alternative functions. The article then synthesizes these diverse forms and functions into four distinct models/strategies of NER (called the ‘four faces’ of NER). Furthermore, it provides a brief overview of theorizing on NER. The article surveys the recent empirical literature on NER, with an emphasis on evidence regarding NER's performance and strengths and weaknesses. It ends with a brief recapitulation of the main theme; that is, that NER exhibits great diversity in form, purpose, and outcome, and that sweeping generalizations are therefore hazardous.

Keywords: indirect participation; employee representation; diversity; NER; NER's performance

Article.  12002 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business Ethics

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