Industrial democracy: The role of the shop steward

Armstrong, Roger Keith (1982) Industrial democracy: The role of the shop steward. Masters thesis, Preston Polytechnic.

[thumbnail of Thesis document] PDF (Thesis document) - Submitted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.



The objectives of the research were fourfold:
(i) to analyse the meaning of the term 'industrial democracy' to shop stewards,
(ii) to identify and isolate key variables which influence their attitudes to industrial democracy,
(iii) to assess the consequences of industrial democracy practices as shop stewards see them, including problems and prospects for the future
iv) to test a number of hypotheses concerning the explanatory variables of participation
The primary source of data collection was a semi-structured interview schedule with one hundred and thirty five shop - stewards/union representatives, from eighteen employing organisations. The schedule covered their attitudes to work and their employer; views on participation in theory and in practice, union involvement and typology of steward. Secondary data was collected from interviews with managers and full-time union officials, surveys and numerous publications.
The explanatory variables investigated were the residue of a great many possible variables, and were perceived to be the key ones in relation to personal characteristics, organisational and union factors, key areas for the research.
The results of the research indicated that stewards definitions of industrial democracy are wide ranging, through; a six point continuum of managers right to manage, to workers control; the most popular definition - supported by a third of the sample - related to more involvement in, and greater responsibility for decision making.
Also, the results - highlight the significance of the personal characteristic variables of world and political views, and role category of the stewards in relation to participation in theory and practice. It was noted that these three krariables are not mutually exclusive and all contribute to the sognitive mix of the individual.
Only one organisational factor proved to be significant, organisational size, this influenced stewards definitions, preferred forms, perceived problems and their views on the future prospects for participation.
The two most significant variables of the union factor were unionism and union power, the latter being linked to the role category of stewards.

Repository Staff Only: item control page