The issue of communication between workers and firms has become important in recent political and economic policy debates. The most obvious example of this is the debate over whether the UK should adopt the Social Chapter of the Maastricht Treaty, which would make it mandatory for many firms to consult and communicate with their workforce. Another example is the debate over whether workers should be regarded as 'stakeholders'. In this paper we use establishment level data from the 1990 WERS survey to show that communication is associated with higher productivity growth. However, the strongest effects come from informal contact rather than through more formal bodies such as works councils. We argue that our results are consistent with a causal relationship where communication leads to higher productivity growth and further argue that the evidence is against the alternative interpretation of reverse causation. Our results have interesting policy implications: initiatives that increase communication can increase productivity growth, but will only be effective if they increase the amount of informal communication.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Economics and Econometrics