Numerous labor-management issues possess ethical dimensions and pose ethical questions. In this article, the authors discuss four labor-management issues that present important contemporary problems: union organizing, labor-management negotiations, employee involvement programs, and union obligations of fair representation. In the authors view, labor and management too often view their ethical obligations as beginning and ending at the law's boundaries. Contemporary business realities suggest that cooperative and enlightened modes of interaction between labor and management seem appropriate.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Behrman, J.: 1988,Essays on Ethics in Business and the Professions (Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), p. 84.
Bernstein, A.: 1991, ‘Busting Unions Can Backfire on the Bottom Line’,Business Week (March 18), p. 108.
Blum, A.: 1990, ‘Where Have the Bosses Gone?’,Business in the Contemporary Word 3(2), pp. 64–68.
Bowen v.United States Postal Service, 112 LRRM 2281 (1983).
Bowie, N.: 1985, ‘Should Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations Be Less Adversarial?’,4, pp. 283–291.
Carr, A.: 1968, ‘Is Business Bluffing Ethical?’,Harvard Business Review 46, pp. 143–153.
Carson, T. L., Wokutch, R. E. and Murrmann, K. F.: 1982, ‘Bluffing in Labor Negotiations: Legal and Ethical Issues’,Journal of Business Ethics 1, pp. 13–22.
Cavanagh, G. E. and McGovern, A. F.: 1988,Ethical Dilemmas in the Modern Corporation (Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), pp. 34–59.
Deutsch, M.: 1990, ‘Sixty Years of Conflict’,The International Journal of Conflict Management 19901(3), pp. 237–263.
Fisher, R. and Ury, W.: 1983,Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin: New York, N.Y.)
Freeman, R. B. and Kleiner, M. M.: 1990, ‘Employer Behavior in the Face of Union Organizing Drives’,Industrial and Labor Relations Review 43, pp. 351–365.
Green, M. (ed.): 1983,The Big Business Reader (The Pilgrim Press: New York, N.Y.), pp. 47–59.
Hollander, E. P. and Offermann, L.: 1990, ‘Power and Leadership in Organizations’,American Psychologist 45, pp. 179–189.
Kirkland, L.: 1984, cited in Apcar, L. M., ‘Kirland's Call to Void Labor Laws Ignites a Growing National Debate’,Wall Street Journal, November 6, 1984, p. 31.
Kochan, T. A., Katz, H. C. and Mower, N.: 1984,Worker-Participation and American Unions: Threat or Opportunity? (Upjohn: Kalamazoo, MI).
Koehn, D. R.: 1985, ‘Commentary Upon “Should Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations Be Less Adversarial?”’,Journal of Business Ethics 4, pp. 293–295.
Leap, T. L.: 1991,Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations (MacMillan Publishing Co.: New York, N.Y.).
Miller, K. I. and Monge, P. R.: 1986, ‘Participation, Satisfaction, and Productivity: A Meta-analytic Review’,Academy of Management Journal 29, pp. 727–753.
McKelvey, J. T.: 1985,The Changing Law of Fair Representation (ILR Press, Cornell University: Ithaca, N.Y.)
National Labor Relations Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 151et. seq. (1970).
Phalen, T. F.: 1986, ‘The Destabilization of Federal Labor Policy Under the Reagan Board’,The Labor Lawyer 2(1), pp. 1–31.
Post, F. R.: 1990, ‘Collaborative Bargaining: Toward an Ethically Defensible Approach to Labor Negotiations’,Journal of Business Ethics 9, pp. 495–508.
Sargent Electric Co.: 1974, 209 NLRB 630.
Thacker, J. W. and Fields, M. W.: 1987, ‘Union Involvement in Quality-of-Worklife Efforts: A Longitudinal Investigation’,Personnel Psychology 40, pp. 97–111.
Weiler, P.: 1990, ‘Who Will Represent Labor Now?’,The American Prospect 1(2), pp. 78–87.
Weiler, P.: 1990,Governing the Workplace (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.)
Wurf, J.: 1982, ‘Labor's View of Quality of Working Life Programs’,Journal of Business Ethics 1, pp. 131–137.
Vaca v. Sipes: 1967, 87 S. Ct. 903, 914; 64 LRRM 2369.
Robert S. Adler is Associate Professor of Legal Studies at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He teaches courses in Business Law, Business Ethics, and Regulation. Prior to coming to UNC, Professor Adler served as Counsel to the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment of the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the U.S. House of Representatives.
William J. Bigoness is Professor of Business Administration and Director, Center for Management Studies at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His professional interests include organizational behavior, human resource management, and labor-management relations. Dr. Bigoness was Visiting Professor of Business Administration at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) located in Lausanne, Switzerland from 1985 to 1987.
About this article
Cite this article
Adler, R.S., Bigoness, W.J. Contemporary ethical issues in labor-management relations. J Bus Ethics 11, 351–360 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00870547
- Economic Growth
- Ethical Issue
- Contemporary Problem
- Ethical Question
- Ethical Dimension