UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The grievance field; an empirical study of grievance processes in a plywood factory Murphy, Brian C.


There are three major facets to industrial employer-employee relations: work processes, collective bargaining and grievance processes. The form of the first is established mainly at the initiative of the employer. The second is generally initiated by employee organizations and results in a document called a collective agreement which sets forth agreed upon patterns of interaction between employer and employee. The third, Grievance Processes, are the means whereby individual and group differences of opinion regarding interpretation of abstractions in the collective agreement, formal instructions for work performance, etc. are reconciled. This study seeks to determine the important situational, behavioral and personal variables associated with differences in quantity and quality of grievance output and union political activity within the plant. It examines the way in which these variables interact with one another within a "field" to produce grievance activity of given character and quantity. Personality variables, in particular a tendency towards "aggressive" behavior, appear to be of prime importance in determining which employees will be active in presenting grievances, holding union office, and several other activities. Union office-holders and grievers are found to have higher accident rates, to be dunned more by creditors, to participate more on company athletic teams, etc., than other employees. The communication potential of work positions, and repetitiveness of the work cycle are among the few situational variables found to have a significant influence on the grievance outcome. Seniority, a structural variable, is found to be extremely important in determining which employees will take part in grievance and union political activity. High Status seems to increase the likelihood of employees holding union office as evidenced by the greater political activity of those born in English speaking countries, with more education, and with higher pay. Status appears to have little effect on the propensity of employees to engage in grievance pressing. Age appears to be inversely correlated with the tendency of the individual to take part in union political activity. However, it seems to be unrelated to pressing of grievances. Grievance output in a conventional absentee shareholder owned plywood plant is briefly compared with activity in a "worker owned" plywood plant.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.