University of Leicester
2013BabbJIDSocSci.pdf (3.25 MB)

How could top-down and bottom-up approaches be used to explain recruitment and recognition of commercial bank staff in Barbados, from 1997 to present?

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posted on 2013-09-25, 08:38 authored by Jasmine Ianthi Babb
Top-down and bottom-up approaches for trade union organising have become popular debates in industrial relations and critical considerations for unions hoping for a renewed status. This study investigated recruitment and recognition of white-collar workers in commercial banks in Barbados during the period 1997 to present in terms of centralised/top-down and workplace/bottom-up union approaches. Case study design was used to examine this phenomenon in five commercial banks by conducting 32 face-to-face interviews with shop stewards, union officials and bank managers involved in the recruitment and recognition processes. Five focus groups were held with shop stewards and documents and archival information were also used. This thesis shows that the Barbados Workers’ Union had initially used a top-down approach to gain recognition in the commercial banks but was initially unsuccessful; however, organisational contexts such as restructuring/reorganising, mergers/acquisitions and a lack of grievance resolution resulted in employee grievances. These grievances included job security, pay equity, and a need for grievance resolution procedure and employee voice which were used by the rank-and-file activists in their bottom-up mobilisation. Evidence from the study showed that the top-down approach was supported by the bottom-up approach once the grievances were framed by activists at the workplace. The findings have shown that when management’s actions create conditions conducive to mobilisation and grievances result which are common to most staff, mobilisation is likely once rank-and-file activists are willing to agitate for unionisation. Further, that once this bottom-up approach supports the top-down approach in a multidimensional way that top-down and bottom-up could contribute to successful recruitment and recognition campaigns. Evidence from this research suggests that rank-and-file mobilisation should be considered along with top-down strategies to increase the chance of recognition. The study contributes to research on top-down and bottom-up approaches and particularly to understanding the workplace dimensions for mobilisation.



Williams, Glynne; Hammer, Nikolaus

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University of Leicester

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  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DSocSci



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