March 2012 Archives

While in London for the Voice and Value conference (see The Value of Voice entry), we saw the musical Billy Elliot. I might be biased because my family tree includes miners from County Durham, and because of my interest in labor unions, but anyone who does not believe that work has deep connections with family and community should see this musical. I defy them to not be moved by the raw power with which Billy Elliot exposes the impact of the 1984-85 miners' strike on the home life of Billy, his Dad, and his brother, and illustrates the interconnectedness of each family with the entire community. Sometimes this involves solidarity, other times sharp conflict. But in all cases, the relationships are very powerful, and are rooted in class and the nature of work.

The Value of Employee Voice

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I write this from 30,994 feet over the North Atlantic on the way back from London where I had the pleasure of participating in the Voice and Value 2012 conference at the London School of Economics. This engaging conference brought together academics, human resources professionals, and trade unionists who believe in the importance of employee voice and share an interest in the role of employee voice in promoting not only workers' goals, but also organizational goals. This year's focus was therefore on voice and employee engagement. My presentation outlined the implications for engagement and voice that flow from the conceptualizations of work that I developed in my book, The Thought of Work. In return, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing HR professionals from several companies describe how formal voice arrangements in their organizations foster employee engagement.

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About this Blog

Whither Work? is a blog about work created by John Budd. I am a professor of Work and Organizations in the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, and the author of several books including The Thought of Work. Follow me on Twitter: @JohnWBudd.