Parallel Practices of Union Avoidance in Business and Academia

Vincent Serravallo


The strategies and tactics of academic administrators during union representation election campaigns by full-time faculty are described and compared with those of managers of private businesses.  Data from private businesses and two northeastern research universities based on content analysis of workplace memoranda and home mailings, and from analysis of management-organized meetings, personal interactions and theatrics show strong parallels in union avoidance conduct.  Case studies of this form of workplace control add empirical evidence of a hitherto neglected feature of administration in the “corporatized university,” and help develop critical theoretical perspectives on the restructuring of higher education.


union avoidance; academic managers; academic unions

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ISSN 1715-0094  Workplace