The Face(book) of Unionism

The Face(book) of Unionism

Ray Gibney (School of Business Administration, Pennsylvania State University – Harrisburg, Middletown, PA, USA), Tom Zagenczyk (Department of Management, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA) and Marick F. Masters (Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/ijep.2013100101
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Abstract

Information Communication Technology (ICT) offers unions a greater capacity to build cohesion and expand membership. An important issue in assessing the potential benefits of ICT is the nature and scope of union members’ use of this technology. Unions must have an Internet presence. Using data from a 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS), the authors examine the extent to which union members have and use computers and the Internet. In addition, the authors review Facebook pages and Twitter accounts established by or for national labor organizations. The authors find that labor union usage of these social networks has not produced anticipated usage by members.
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Background

A growing body of research examines the role of ICT in unions. The literature falls into three overlapping streams: (1) a review of how unions use ICT (e.g., Fiorito & Bass, 2002; Greer, 2002; Stevens & Greer, 2005); (2) the impact of IT on union effectiveness (e.g., Fiorito, Jarley, & Delaney, 2002); and (3) the potential benefits IT offers unions and the broader labor movement, both domestically and globally. Most studies treat the union as the unit of analysis, examining, for example, unions’ usage of the web. Diamond and Freeman (2002) offer one of the few analyses of actual union members’ use of IT, studying usage primarily among U.K. rank-and-file and to a lesser extent among U.S. unionists.

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