Date of Conferral







Patricia Fusch


As of 2014, union density in the United States had dropped compared to union density during the 1950s. Collective bargaining agreements are the foundational agreement for all issues related to salary, benefits, and working conditions. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore how collective bargaining agreements hindered or enabled managers from creating and sustaining high performance work practices. The conceptual framework included Walton and McKersie's work on behavioral theories for labor negotiations, human capital, and collective bargaining, and Huselid's work on high performance work practices. Fifteen respondents across 5 labor unions in Washington DC were selected through a randomized purposive sampling strategy for face-to-face and telephone semi-structured interviews. Additional sources of data included current and archived collective bargaining agreements, a reflective journal, and personal memos that were analyzed using Yin's 5-step analysis process. The following 5 themes were identified: performance management and accountability, organizational and union culture, intrinsic motivation and performance recognition, management practices, and the future sustainability of unions. These findings may help unionized organizations in the Washington DC metro area consider changing negative hiring and retention practices. Collective bargaining agreements, without a partnership framework linked to organizational sustainability, can hinder the creation and sustenance of high performance work practices in labor unions.