Applying Budd's model to partnership

Over the last decade, the notions of workplace partnership and labour—management cooperation have resulted in distinctive and vociferous debates regarding forms of employee voice in the UK. It is proposed that there is a need to reconsider how we actually evaluate both the process and outcomes of partnership. This article reports on detailed case studies conducted in three diverse banking organizations in order to understand more about the process and outcomes of partnership. The study then applies the ‘efficiency, equity, voice’ framework developed by Budd, which has not been widely employed in industrial relations research. Accordingly, the article examines if and how partnership contributes to the balancing of efficiency, equity and voice. Judged in this light, the case studies demonstrate various degrees of success in terms of the extent to which partnership has facilitated voice and promoted more considered decision-making, for both management and employees. The article also demonstrates the usefulness of the Budd framework as a device in analysing employment relations processes and outcomes.