Routes to partial success: collaborative employment relations and employee engagement

Keith Townsend, Adrian Wilkinson, John Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The contradictory objectives of consent and control in the employment relationship means that there is no single best way of managing and furthermore, all managerial strategies are 'routes to partial failure' (Hyman 1987, p. 30). This paper examines 'managerial strategies' toward employment relations in three organisations with a focus on the 'success' aspect of Hyman's partial failure notion. The respective management teams of each case study are involved in management strategies to lift the standard of how they engage with employees. While the indeterminacy of labour ensures that managerial strategies will never be complete, we seek to better understand how collaborative approaches to employment relations, for example partnerships, can co-exist, complement, or contradict within organisations with more individualised approaches to managing people, for example, employee engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-930
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • collaboration
  • employee engagement
  • mutual gains
  • partnership


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