Hemmings, Michael (2013) Public service reform, the labour process and changes in labour management in the voluntary sector. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

This thesis analyses the New Labour government’s extension of public service reform and modernisation to the voluntary sector. It explores the changes that have taken place in the labour process and management practices in the voluntary sector and it locates this within an analysis of wider public service reform. It argues that the reforms of the voluntary sector are part of wider neo-liberal market reforms intended to extend the capitalist labour process to the voluntary and public sectors.

The thesis is based on research in a diverse range of complex voluntary organisations, drawing from academic, industry and organisation documents, from interviews with voluntary organisation, trade union and industry and community representatives, and from an employee attitude questionnaire. Voluntary organisation managers were found to be under severe external pressures, through increased competition between organisations, and through contracting, auditing, monitoring and regulatory regimes. These managers responded by introducing Taylorist forms of performance management to meet external targets, to increase efficiency and to lower unit costs. They have been relatively compliant with reform compared to public sector managers. Performance management has a significant impact on employees, bringing reductions in autonomy, pay, job security and employment conditions and increases in workload and managerial control and discipline.

The character of the labour process in the voluntary sector is being transformed to become more like the labour process in capitalist enterprises. In contrast to the public sector, trade union organisation and influence is weak and unable to mount effective resistance. The voluntary sector is a model for the delivery of public services through a diverse range of semi-autonomous local providers under a tight regime of government regulation. Public service trade unions will need a co-ordinated and comprehensive strategy to resist market reform and further cuts in public service and welfare provision.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Originally available via intralibrary 2013
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2017 12:00
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2017 12:00
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/3726

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