Worker participation and productivity: A functional analysis--two case studies in the primary aluminum industry

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


International Studies

First Committee Member

Dean Duane Kujawa, Committee Chair


Two case studies in the primary aluminum industry provided data for a functional analysis of worker participation in decision-making at the firm level, and its impact on productivity. The case studies involved the Kaiser Aluminum Company and the United Steelworkers of America. Participation is defined by the organizations' structures and processes: union, management, and industrial relations. Utilizing a production function, productivity showed dependency on worker participation. In particular, union and management structures with special emphasis on decentralization, representational voice-effect, and an Employee Involvement program all showed a positive impact on productivity. Additionally, it was determined that increases in the quality of working conditions act as a catalyst in enhancing management's, union's and industrial relations' impact on productivity.


Business Administration, Management; Economics, Labor; Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations

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