Unpacks the complexities of power in the employment relationship and provides a firm basis from which to understand, assess and improve how employees can best shape their working lives. Exploring seven key dimensions, it proposes a dynamic framework to describe the shifting sands of employee relations and identifies how well the dimensions are covered by existing surveys.

Workers’ capacity to influence their jobs is one of the few truly perpetual issues in employment. It has received sustained and explicit attention since the industrial revolution and the formation of the trade union movement, but in essence, its roots lie in the human relationships that encapsulate any kind of employment relationship.

Employee influence is crucial both for its instrumental value, as one of the most significant ways that we can ensure a good quality working life; and for its intrinsic value to us as humans, allowing us a degree of self-determination in the workplace. But the picture of employee influence is fragmented, not least because the mechanisms and capacity for employee influence differ between countries and sectors, and even between (and within) organisations.

Optimising the balance of power in employment relationships does not only stand to benefit workers themselves. Over the longer term, it can also benefit the organisations they work for, the economies they contribute towards and the societies they make up. Our report, Power dynamics in work and employment relationships: The capacity for employee influence, provides thought leadership in this fundamental aspect of working lives.

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Part 1 – Thematic literature review

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Part 2 – Indicators of the employment relationship

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