The causal texture of trade union environments
AbstractThis paper is an attempt to fill an important gap in the existing literature on trade unions by providing a more adequate theoretical formulation of trade union environments. The discussion suggests that unlike the environment of business and related organisations whose causal texture is
understood in terms of uncertainty, complexity, instability and turbulence that of trade unions needs to be understood in terms of hostility. In the capitalist state, environmental hostility denotes the existence of a set of subjective and objective barrier conditions that are consciously erected and sustained for the purpose of limiting labour’s self-conscious and self-liberating understanding and actions. These barrier conditions vary in range, density, and scope. Different combinations of levels of density, range and scope of barrier conditions lead to different levels of hostility in the environment which may range from the mildly hostile, through the hostile to the deeply hostile. The discussion also attempts to indicate the
set of conditions that lead to the existence of one rather than another type of trade union environment and the implications that these should have for trade union action.