Delivering Organizational Change in Partnership With Trade Unions: Interest-Based Negotiation (IBN) Strategies

Delivering Organizational Change in Partnership With Trade Unions: Interest-Based Negotiation (IBN) Strategies

Gaye A. Greenwood (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand) and Carolyn Ward (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6155-2.ch019

Abstract

This case history offers an insiders' view of bringing about change in union bargaining within major New Zealand organizations. While unions play a pivotal role in the day-to-day bargaining of wages and workplace conditions, there has been a significant reduction in union density and membership. In this case, two union leaders narrate how a shift from traditional bargaining to interest-based negotiation enabled participation in organizational change decision-making, built trust in relationships, and increased union membership.
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Introduction

This reflective case history from New Zealand presents evidence of change in a Trade Union’s approach to bargaining with employers. In response to reduced union membership, two union change leaders (Mark and Paul1) assert a shift in negotiation behaviour was required. Of the 2,454,300 employed people in New Zealand 1 in 5 employees belong to a trade union (Statistics New Zealand, 2016). There are 135 registered trade unions in New Zealand with 357,120 members, representing 17.7% of the total workforce (Companies Office, 2016). One of the biggest unions, Omega Union2 (OU), represents members across industry sectors including wood and building, forestry, communication, food, transport, aviation, health, construction, mining, manufacturing, engineering and infrastructure, and energy. The two change leaders, Mark and Paul, speak about their role facilitating interest-based negotiation (IBN) strategies, contrary to traditional positional bargaining (TPB) previously practiced by OU during periods of initiated fast organizational change.

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