Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

Re-conceptualising 'union commitment'

Peat, Brian (2001) Re-conceptualising 'union commitment'. UNSPECIFIED. Manchester Metropolitan University.


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This paper questions the validity of the definition of union commitment derived from the literature on organisational commitment. As a corollary, the adopted one-sided perspective of human behaviour (where behaviour is seen as the result of the rational pursuit of self-interest by atomised individuals) and therefore the existing conceptualisation of union commitment fails to take adequate account both of the interpersonal social context within which individual activity is embedded and the impact of common elements in the social relations of waged employment. The definition of 'union commitment' developed in this paper attempts to anticipate this by adopting Granovetter's concept of embeddedness and Marx's concept of class consciousness. The resulting concept, although arguably more valid, is more complex and dynamic than the one found in the existing literature and therefore more difficult to operationalise. Nonetheless, the paper suggests how researchers might develop operational measures of the proposed conceptualisation of union commitment.

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