Handbook of Research on Employee Voice
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Handbook of Research on Employee Voice

Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Jimmy Donaghey, Tony Dundon and Richard B. Freeman

The term ‘employee voice’ refers to the ways and means through which employees can attempt to have a say and influence organizational issues that affect their work and the interests of managers and owners. The concept is distinct, but related to and often overlapping with issues such as participation, involvement and, more recently, engagement. This Handbook provides an up-to-date survey of the current research into employee voice, sets this research into context and sets a marker for future research in the area.
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Chapter 16: Joint consultative committees

Amanda Pyman


Employee voice takes many forms. Joint consultative committees are one mechanism for the provision of indirect employee voice and have been a durable form of participation in many countries for most of the twentieth century (Beaumont and Deaton 1981; Cregan and Brown 2010). Marchington et al. (1992: 11) define 'joint consultation' as a mechanism for managers and employee representatives to meet on a regular basis in order to exchange views, to utilize members' knowledge and expertise, and to deal with matters of common interest which are not subject to collective bargaining. The distinctive features of joint consultation are that a cross-section of employees and managers come together to solve complex problems jointly and on an ongoing basis, and that consultation is indirect and exercised through workforce representatives (Marchington 1992a, 1992b; Kessler and Purcell 1996). Flowing from the definition of joint consultation, 'joint consultative committees' (JCCs) are a representative structure (management and employee representatives) dealing with collective concerns regarding work organization, and, in some instances, the employment contract (Brewster et al. 2007: 52). JCCs serve to promote cooperation and mutuality and in practice, representative and productivist purposes (Haynes et al. 2005). JCCs are distinct from joint advisory committees or joint decision-making committees, yet nevertheless represent a formal, as opposed to informal, consultative structure (Lansbury and Marchington 1994). They are therefore a forum whereby employees seek to indirectly influence organizational decision-making through labour representatives (Morishima 1992).

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