Comparative Union Democracy: Organization and Opposition in British and American Unions

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A major empirical study of thirty-one British and fifty-one American national trade unions provides the background to this presentation of a new, organizationally oriented theory of union democracy. Supported by in-depth studies of the political process in the British Mineworkers' Union and the Engineers' Union, the book develops and illustrates a general theory of how, in a country with democratic norms, formal organization itself can constrain a tendency toward oligarchy by stimulating union competition among full-time officers attempting to rise in the union hierarchy. The broad theoretical framework also has implications for democracy in other types of large organizations and should be indispensable for students seeking to understand the political life of such organizations and their potential for democracy. Comparative Union Democracy is a stimulating work of original scholarship which all involved or interested in union affairs, all those in any way concerned about the prospects for industrial democracy, should read. - -Walter Kendall, Institute of Manpower Studies, University of Sussex. Comparative Union Democracy is easily the best work on the subject that has appeared in years. It should be required reading for all those interested in organizational government, participatory democracy, generally, as well as in the labor movement. -Seymour Martin Lipset For anyone seeking a better understanding of the workings of trade unions, it is both seminal and revelatory, and hence is required reading. -Nigel Nicholson Overall, the book is theoretically insightful, methodologically sound, and exceptionally well-written. -J. David Lewis, University of Notre Dame