The politics of partnership? Innovation in employment relations in the Scottish spirits industry

Abigail Marks, Patricia Findlay, James Hine, Paul Thompson, Alan McKinlay

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62 Citations (Scopus)


Perspectives that emphasize links between workplace innovation and broader HR policies, particularly of a 'mutual gains' nature, have become increasingly influential. This paper analyses the links and tensions between workplace change and industrial relations systems in the context of attempts to create a shop-floor politics of partnership during a period of corporate restructuring in two spirits companies. We argue that interface tensions between the employment relationship, the labour process and organizational governance are inextricably linked to the outcomes of partnership initiatives. While there are positive outcomes to more integrated approaches to partnership, a range of industrial relations issues, notably the ambivalent position of shop-stewards, remains problematic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-226
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Industrial Relations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 1998


  • workplace innovation
  • HR policies
  • industrial relations

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