Joint governance in North American workplaces: A glimpse of the future or the end of an era?

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


North American innovations in joint governance (such as Saturn, NUMMI, Xerox, and Shell Sarnia), though limited in number, have drawn world-wide attention from line and staff practitioners, as well as policy makers. These voluntary initiatives in unionized North American settings stand as an important counterpoint to two alternative forms of innovation - legislated forms of joint governance such as European works councils and non-union high-commitment systems that are most common in North America. Current debates on workplace governance in North America are implicitly and sometimes explicitly choosing among these three innovative arrangements as alternative 'ideal types’. This article begins with nine hypotheses on joint governance, which are derived from case-study analysis. The hypotheses focus on the antecedents, dynamics and consequences of joint governance. Together, they can help guide practitioners seeking diffusion of joint governance concepts. The hypotheses can also help guide the construction of public policy on workplace governance. Ultimately, the question remains - are these initiatives a glimpse of the future or do they mark the end of an era?.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-580
Number of pages34
JournalThe International Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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