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Disintegrating Democracy at WorkLabor Unions and the Future of Good Jobs in the Service Economy$
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Virginia Doellgast

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450471

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450471.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Disintegrating Democracy at Work

Virginia Doellgast

Cornell University Press

This book examines why firms compete in similar market segments using divergent management approaches. Using matched case studies of call center workplaces in the United States and Germany, it considers the experiences of worker representatives as they have sought to shape management strategies at the workplace and organizational levels. It discusses the outcomes of negotiations over work reorganization in two large telecommunication firms, along with the challenges faced by labor unions as a result of the outsourcing strategies adopted by those firms. It also explores how political processes of negotiation influence employment systems and the organizational restructuring decisions that affect patterns of inequality. The book argues that strong forms of workplace democracy backed by encompassing collective bargaining are necessary to encourage investment in high-involvement employment systems and to prevent the degradation of job quality in employment settings where managers face strong pressures to reduce labor costs.

Keywords:   management approaches, United States, Germany, negotiations, telecommunication firms, labor unions, outsourcing, organizational restructuring, workplace democracy, collective bargaining

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