Trade union avoidance in foreign direct investment in Ireland

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Condron, Barry
Issue Date
MA of Business Studies
Dublin Business School
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The decline of trade unionism has been a feature of Irish society in recent years. As a result, considerable controversy surrounds the issue of union recognition in Irish industrial relations (IR), particularly in multinational corporations (MNCs). Coinciding with this decline in trade union density has been an influx of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country. This has influenced an increase in the use of new human resource management (HRM) practices and new forms of work organisation. It would appear that some of the successes of these MNCs human resource (HR) values are based around a union avoidance model strongly supported by union substitution strategies. These practices have largely been incorporated under labels such as high involvement, high commitment, and high performance management. This paper empirically explores the advantages FDI firms expect to achieve through union avoidance and / or union substitution strategies.