The process of control within a trade union: a study of internal power in the A. U. E. W.

  • Lawrence E. James

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis examines the nature of power and control in trade
unions. Two theoretical themes are developed; the first concerns the
concept of power and related variables such as authority and control,
the second concerns the concept of trade union government in terms of
democracy, oligarchy and polyarchy. It is suggested that trade union
government may most appropriately be described by the term 'polyarchy'
A model is proposed which aids the analysis of polyarchic trade union
government. This model treats the acquisition and maintenance of power
and control as competitive processes mediated by the structural and
subjective conditions of the competitive arena. Two case studies are
presented in which these processes are seen at work in the engineering
section of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers. The first
examines a conflict between the Manchester district committee and the
Executive Council, the second examines a conflict between the Manchester
district committee and a workshop organization in the district. The
model and case studies together comprise a statement about power and
control in the A.U.E.W. The framework of the thesis suggests several
ways in which the theoretical and empirical analysis may be developed
towards a comprehensive theory of trade union government.
Date of Award1978
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRay Loveridge (Supervisor)


  • control
  • trade union
  • internal power
  • A. U. E. W.

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