Australian Union Membership Growth Strategies

Matthew Richard Tomkins (2008). Australian Union Membership Growth Strategies PhD Thesis, School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Matthew Richard Tomkins
Thesis Title Australian Union Membership Growth Strategies
School, Centre or Institute School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2008
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Richard Hall
Dr William Harley
Total pages 223
Subjects 360000 Policy and Political Science
Abstract/Summary The dissertation examines the efficacy of trade union membership growth strategies. The dissertation’s central argument is that current union strategies will have a limited impact on membership growth. While unions are potential agents of membership growth, the scope of this agency is contingent on the resources they have at their disposal. Unions have a central position in generating the propensity and opportunity to unionise; they possess important human resources that link the organisation to employees; and they have the capacity to convert ideas into action so as to implement growth strategies. However, unions are resource dependent and without such resources unions are limited in what they can do. The dissertation employs quantitative techniques to analyse organisational-level census data drawn from the Australian National Trade Union Survey conducted in 1996. This is a unique source of data providing useful information on the key strategies and approaches unions have employed to promote membership growth. The dissertation’s principal findings are: that key aspects of the organising model were inadequate in promoting membership growth; internal organising strategies tended to fail under adverse circumstances; new technologies did not generally aid organising; and non-industrial services were inadequate in promoting growth under adverse conditions. Only where appropriate resources were developed and utilised, did current strategies promote membership growth. Organising model strategies performed better where restructuring achieved economies of scale and reduced membership competition. Workplace delegates promoted growth, generally, under adverse circumstances and where membership competition was at a minimum

 
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