Hollowing out national agreements in the NHS? The case of "Improving Working Lives" under a "Turnaround" plan

Article


Roper, I., Etherington, D. and Lewis, S. 2017. Hollowing out national agreements in the NHS? The case of "Improving Working Lives" under a "Turnaround" plan. Employee Relations. 39 (2), pp. 145-159. https://doi.org/10.1108/ER-05-2015-0092
TypeArticle
TitleHollowing out national agreements in the NHS? The case of "Improving Working Lives" under a "Turnaround" plan
AuthorsRoper, I., Etherington, D. and Lewis, S.
Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to consider the resilience of a national-level initiative (Improving Working Lives (IWL)) in the face of local-level initiative (Turnaround) in an NHS hospital and compare to Bach and Kessler’s (2012) model of public service employment relations.
Design/methodology/approach: Case study research consisting of 23 in-depth semi-structured interviews from a range of participants.
Findings: The principles behind IWL were almost entirely sacrificed in order to meet the financial objectives of Turnaround. This indicates the primacy of localised upstream performance management initiatives over the national-level downstream employee relations initiatives that form the basis of the NHS’ claim to model employer aspiration.
Research limitations/implications: The case study was conducted between 2007 and 2009. While the case study falls under previous government regime, the dualised system of national-level agreements combined with localised performance management – and the continued existence of both Turnaround and IWL – makes the results relevant at the time of writing.
Originality/value: Some studies (e.g. Skinner et al., 2004) indicated a perception that IWL was not trusted by NHS staff. The present study offers reasons as to why this may be the case.

LanguageEnglish
PublisherEmerald
JournalEmployee Relations
ISSN0142-5455
Publication dates
Print13 Feb 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Sep 2016
Accepted29 Sep 2016
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright Statement

This is the accepted version of the manuscript "Hollowing out national agreements in the NHS? The case of "Improving Working Lives" under a "Turnaround" plan", published in the journal "Employee Relations" available via the journal site at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/ER-05-2015-0092. This article is © Emerald Publishing Limited and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/ER-05-2015-0092
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