The “good workplace”: The role of joint consultative committees, unions and HR policies in employee ratings of workplaces in Britain

Emerald Publishing Limited


The purpose of this paper is to take a serious look at the relationship between joint consultation systems at the workplace and employee satisfaction, while at the same time accounting for the (possible) interactions with similar union and management-led high commitment strategies.


Using new, rich data on a representative sample of British workers, the authors identify workplace institutions that are positively associated with employee perceptions of work and relations with management, what in combination the authors call a measure of the “good workplace.” In particular, the authors focus on non-union employee representation at the workplace, in the form of joint consultative committees (JCCs), and the potential moderating effects of union representation and high-involvement human resource (HIHR) practices.


The authors’ findings suggest a re-evaluation of the role that JCCs play in the subjective well-being of workers even after controlling for unions and progressive HR policies. There is no evidence in the authors’ estimates of negative interaction effects (i.e. that unions or HIHR negatively influence the functioning of JCCs with respect to employee satisfaction) or substitution (i.e. that unions or HIHR are substitutes for JCCs when it comes to improving self-reported worker well-being). If anything, there is a significant and positive three-way moderating effect when JCCs are interacted with union representation and high-involvement management.


This is the first time – to the authors’ knowledge – that comprehensive measures of subjective employee well-being are being estimated with respect to the presence of a JCC at the workplace, while controlling for workplace institutions (e.g. union representation and human resource policies) that are themselves designed to involve and communicate with workers.


Gomez, R., Barry, M., Bryson, A., Kaufman, B., Lomas, G. and Wilkinson, A. (2019), "The “good workplace”: The role of joint consultative committees, unions and HR policies in employee ratings of workplaces in Britain", Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 60-90.


  • Guenther Lomas
  • Adrian Wilkinson
  • Alex Bryson
  • Bruce E. Kaufman
  • Rafael Gomez
  • Michael Barry

Publication Type

Journal Name

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership