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date: 20 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides a multilayered theorization of labour unionism's relationship to participation in order to provide the basis for examining unions' experience of, and response to, participation. This requires an exposition of the broad parameters of the relationship between labour unionism and participation before examining the conceptual implications of these parameters. In doing so, participation is defined broadly as the reality, rhetoric, and aspiration of worker involvement in task determination as well as contributing to higher-level, decision-making processes concerning the employment relationship, enterprise, and markets, whether coming from workers, employers, or states. This then concerns, with varying degrees of depth and breadth, direct and indirect participation at different levels of employing organizations and over an array of subjects. In essence, the focus of the article is on bilateral arenas of engagement between workers and employer representatives that are not formally and conceptually predicated on the involvement of any third parties.

Keywords: labour unionism, participation, decision-making processes, employment relationship, employing organizations

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