Inside the Unions

A Comparative Analysis of Policy-Making in Australian and British Printing and Telecommunication Trade Unions

by Ed Blissett (Author)
©2014 Monographs XVI, 364 Pages


This book consists of a comparative analysis of policy-making in Australian and British telecommunications and printing trade unions. It tests the validity of different theoretical models of union policy-making and behaviour, whilst also assessing the strength of the book’s hypothesis, that informal micro-political influences inside unions – such as personal friendships, enmities and loyalties – affect union policy-making to a greater extent than has been previously acknowledged in the literature.
Two central questions lie at the heart of this book: How, and why, do unions adopt specific policies? What factors explain the different behaviour of similar unions, when faced with comparable policy choices?
As a former senior union officer the author realised that trade unions are often wary of publically disclosing those factors which informed their policy choices. For this reason an interview-rich methodology was adopted, which involved a seventeen-year longitudinal study, in which over 220 officers and staff of all the relevant unions, were interviewed in depth. The result is a book which throws new light on the rich and complex process of union policy-making.


XVI, 364
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2013 (November)
behaviour friendships loyalties
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2014. XVI, 364 pp.

Biographical notes

Ed Blissett (Author)

Ed Blissett (PhD) is Senior Lecturer in Employment Relations at the University of Hertfordshire. Prior to taking up this post Ed was, for over twenty years, a lay activist and then a senior Regional and National officer for three of Britain’s largest trade unions. His roles included four years as Regional Secretary of the GMB London Region. These positions saw him play a central part in local and national union policy-making and granted him extensive first-hand knowledge of those factors which shape union policy formation. His background as a senior union officer also assisted him in gaining unprecedented access to the Australian and British printing and telecommunication unions, which allows this book to give a unique insight into the richly complex process of union policy-making.


Title: Inside the Unions