Using a national sample of 1,000 employees, this paper examines the proposition that those working in so‐called ‘black hole’ organizations (i.e. where there is neither a set of progressive HRM practices nor a recognized trade union) will report more negative attitudes and work experiences than those in settings where there is either HRM, a trade union presence or both. The results lend some support to this hypothesis with respect to job satisfaction and organizational commitment and in judgements about experiences of fairness of treatment and trust in management. However, the most negative views about employment relations are reported by those who belong to a union in workplaces with little HRM. The findings indicate that it is HRM practices rather than trade union membership that have the major impact on attitudes and experiences. Even in black hole organizations some employees report satisfaction. This can be largely explained by a positive psychological contract between individual and organization. The implications for the role of trade unions in the promotion of fairness at work are discussed.
British Journal of Industrial Relations – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1999
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