Trojan Horse or Tactic? The Case for Partnership

  • Jimmy Donaghey


The debates about partnership have been present in the employment relations literature for about 20 years and continue to divide scholars. While the concept has divided academic opinion greatly, with some (mainly radical scholars) arguing that partnership is merely the latest in a long series of mechanisms aimed at bringing about union incorporation into the managerial agenda, others (generally of a pluralist perspective) have argued that partnership has presented a new mechanism through which unions can operate. While the academic debate goes on, partnership approaches are a significant phenomenon, with estimates of 8–10 % of workplaces in the UK, for example, displaying the model (Bacon and Samuel 2009; Whyman and Petrescu 2014). The purpose of this chapter is primarily to evaluate the arguments for partnership from a pluralist perspective. In particular, this chapter will develop an argument, mainly using the evidence from the UK and Ireland, that partnership can be viewed as an attempt to develop social democratic–type industrial citizenship, similar to the continental “social dialogue” approach but within the constraints of the voluntarist employment relations systems of liberal economies and globalisation. The chapter then concludes by arguing that within liberal economies, legally mandated institutional supports are unlikely, but nevertheless, partnership is a worthwhile initiative in the right contextual circumstances.


Trade Union Collective Bargaining Industrial Relation Work Council Employee Involvement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jimmy Donaghey
    • 1
  1. 1.Industrial Relations Research Unit, Warwick Business SchoolUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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