What Does Transformation Mean to Workers? The Effects of the "New Industrial Relations" on Union Employees' Attitudes
Author(s)MacDuffie, John Paul; Doucet, Lorna; Hunter, Larry W.
The Chrysler-UAW Modern Operating Agreement (MOA) is a prototype for the "new industrial relations," establishing (through collective bargaining) reduced job classifications, shopfloor work teams, a pay-for-skills compensation plan, extensive training, and decentralization of various production and quality responsibilities to teams -- all under a joint union-management governance structure. We use a 1993 survey of worker attitudes at six MOA plants (two to five years after MOA was implemented) to predict which workers are likely to express approval of the MOA and the team concept. The survey measured individual, group, and organization-level (i.e. establishment) characteristics in order to capture the full context surrounding the implementation of the MOA, including plant-level variation in worker attitudes. Variables at each of these levels of analysis are statistically significant predictors of favorable attitudes towards MOA and towards the team concept, indicating the value of such a cross-level analysis for understanding worker attitudes towards workplace transformation. We also analyze plant-level differences in attitudinal outcomes and find that some of the variation is explained by factors that are not idiosyncratic to individual plants.
industrial relations, Chrysler-UAW Modern Operating Agreement, transformation