The Effects of National Institutions and Collective Bargaining Arrangements on Job Quality in Front-Line Service Workplaces
This paper analyzes the relationships among national institutions, collective bargaining arrangements, and job quality in call center workplaces, using establishment-level survey data obtained in 2003–2006 in five European coordinated market economies (CMEs) (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, and Sweden) and three liberal market economies (LMEs) (Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom). Overall, the authors find lower dismissal rates, more use of high-involvement management practices, and less performance monitoring in the CMEs, consistent with the notion that national institutions can influence employment practices even in more poorly regulated service workplaces. However, workplace-level collective bargaining arrangements and in-house (compared to outsourced) status also were associated with significantly higher measures of job quality across countries. Findings suggest that within CMEs, dual union/works council representation continues to provide important support for job security, participation, and discretion, but that outsourcing can effect a partial escape from this institution.