Double-breasting employee voice: An assessment of motives, arrangements and durability

Tony Dundon, Tony Dobbins, Niall Cullinane, Jimmy Donaghey, Adrian Wilkinson, Eugene Hickland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores employee voice within the specific institutional arrangement of double-breasting. Double-breasting is when multi-plant organizations recognize trade unions in some company sites, with non-union arrangements at other company plants, or where a unionized firm acquires a new site that it then operates on a non-union basis. We examine three research questions in four separate case study organizations that operate employee voice double-breasting arrangements across 16 workplace locations on the island of Ireland. These questions consider employer motives for double-breasting, the practices that characterize double-breasting employee voice, and the micro-political implications of double-breasting. The article contributes to knowledge on the emergence and impact of double-breasting and employee voice systems. We subsequently advance two theoretical propositions: the first theorizing employer motives for double-breasting, and the second explaining the extent to which the practice of double-breasting is durable over time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-513
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number3
Early online date19 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


  • Double-breasting
  • Employee representation
  • Employee voice
  • Union avoidance


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