Presentation on theme: "Mobilization of Striking Workers by a Union Via Nava Pliskin (work with Celia T. Romm) Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Department."— Presentation transcript:
Mobilization of Striking Workers by a Union Via E-mail Nava Pliskin (work with Celia T. Romm) PliskinN@BGU.ac.il Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Department of Industrial Engineering & Management
Agenda Motivation Theoretical background Method Findings Discussion What next?
Motivation E-mail diffusion process: Pliskin, 1989 Interacting with E-Mail can be a Dream or a Nightmare: a User's Point of View Pliskin, Ball & Curley, 1989 Impediments to Proliferation of E-Mail: A Study from the Users' Perspective Pliskin and Romm, 1990 Design of Charging Mechanisms According to the Interaction between Information Technology Type and Diffusion Lifecycle Phase
Theoretical Background 1 – DIFFUSION of E-MAIL as a DEPENDENT VARIABLE Technical/non-technical drivers/inhibitors Individual/collective drivers/inhibitors COLLECTIVE-LEVEL REASONS: 1.STRUCTURE 2.ENVIRONMENT 3.CULTURE 4.POLITICS
Theoretical Background 2 – DIFFUSION of E-MAIL as an INDEPENDENT VARIABLE POSITIVE EFFECT OF E-MAIL ON ORGANIZATIONAL PROCESSES 1.ENABLER of DECISION-MAKING 2.ENHANCER of PERFORMANCE, INNOVATION, ATTITUDE TOWARD NEW TECHNOLOGY (Aydin, Finholt, Kiesler, Kling, Markus, Rice, Sproull)
Theoretical Background – 3 DIFFUSION of E-MAIL as an INDEPENDENT VARIABLE NEGATIVE EFFECT OF E-MAIL ON ORGANIZATIONAL PROCESSES 4.FLAMING 5.GENDER RELATIONS 6.DE-INDIVIDUALIZATION 7.MANIPULATION/DOCUMENTATION (Dubrovksy, Herring, Hiltz, Johnson, Kiesler, Markus, Matheson, McGuire, Siegel, Zanna)
Theoretical Background - 4 DIFFUSION of E-MAIL as an INDEPENDENT VARIABLE E-MAIL AS MOBILIZER OF GROUPS 1. Democratization 2. Managerial control 3. Coalition/ unity/cohesion building 4. Industrial disputes (Lie, Rogers, Collins-Jarvis, Mantovani, Schlllitz, Van Tassel, Winner, Zuboff)
Method 1 Rafaeli, Sudweeks, Konstan, Mabry Case study - Project H Technical Report A computer-mediated group of over 300 researchers from 15 countries A series of loosely-defined phases Different issues debated at different points in time
Method 2 Case study about the struggle of 4.500 academics at all universities in Israel to gain salary increases and improved status Previously -- a series of previous strikes - unsuccessful w/o significant raises One (!) successful strike –- 2.5 month long strike + 2.5 month post strike period – 90,000 students affected -- 70% raise
Method 3 DATA COLLECTION in our studies TEXT ANALYSIS, QUESTIONNAIRES, INTERVIEWS, OBSERVATIONS DATA COLLECTION in this study ------------------ Text: In-depth /content analysis of all (hundreds) e-mail messages exchanged by the strikers and their leaders Observations: Being there (Virtual interviews)… + Media reports (TV, Newspapers) covering stake holders: Coordinating Council of Faculty Unions, local unions, government & treasury, VERA, administration, VATAT, MALAG, students/parents
Findings 1 By the time the strike started, in January 1994, most faculty members were active e-mail subscribers, having embraced e- mail technology much earlier to cope with the distance that separated them from colleagues all over the world E-mail adoption and diffusion were not major concerns
Findings 2 At the beginning of the strike, the strikers established an e-mail list called ACADEMIA to cope with being geographically dispersed in seven campuses all over Israel Within the first month of the strike, over 300 subscribers joined the ACADEMIA list Most strikers had direct/indirect access to the list
Findings 3 During the strike, e-mail was used as a major means of communication between the strikers and their leaders to electronically disseminate information about the strike, to air views, and to provide support E-mail was perceived by leaders/strikers as a major weapon in their struggle E-mail was perceived by employers as a threat to which they were trying to respond
Getting Organized, 4-5 weeks Debate Issues Justification of strike Relationships One-sided communication union-to-strikers Negotiation Status Two sides entrenched Stake Holders Negligible influence of students Interested Parties Wide media coverage Network Management ACADEMIA established, message traffic is growing
From Coordinating Council Here is a brief summary for your information. Discussions in our "Bunker" are getting into swing. We are becoming organized. Help is welcome at any time of the day. A circular letter to all members of the union from us has been dispatched. It includes "real data" about our salaries, as opposed to the false data disseminated by the other side. Make as much use of it as possible. We are trying to complete the "network of internal communications" … - if you know of isolated faculties, universities etc. let us know and eventually suggest people who could be used as "contacts" for them.
Message from a striker I don't know if we (our union) accept the government committee's recommendations as the basis for the negotiations. That is, if they promise us at least what the government committee has recommended, will we go back to teach and continue negotiations? Maybe such a stand is too late now, but it definitely would improve our stand in the public. Even if we are not willing to compromise to such an extent, we should at least agree on some principles of the committee's recommendations, e.g., that lower ranking academics should get higher increases to their salaries than higher ranking academics.
From Coordinating Council, Part a Friends. People are sending us interesting and important ideas for things to do. I will mention one such idea that seems worth pursuing. The Labor party is holding a meeting next week in Tel-Aviv. All the party ministers will be there. We should stage a demonstration in front of the building. On another matter, many people have called me, expressing their fears about the other side's threats.
From Coordinating Council, Part b The other side said that they were about to: (1) stop all salaries to academics; (2) stop transfer of money for academic travel grants and study leave; (3) cancel the Summer vacation; and (4) forbid academics from entering the university. We should avoid reacting too emotionally to these threats.
From Coordinating Council, Part c The other side thinks that with threats of this sort they can break our spirit and our unity. I believe that the effect will be the opposite. This will raise our anger to a point the government has not dreamt of. They will discover how essential we are. we already said this time we are not playing games. So, instead of being fearful, we should prepare ourselves to fight back!!
Starting PR Campaign (Weeks 6, 7) Debate Issues Planning the PR campaign Relationships Growing tension among strikers Negotiation Status Unsuccessful interventions Stake Holders Student violence begins Interested Parties Weak support from colleagues overseas Network Management Consolidation, heavy multi- channel traffic on ACADEMIA
Message from abroad Is there a way that friends here in the US can actively help you? I'm willing, as I am sure many of my colleagues here are, to do what we can to help. Reading the messages on the Internet help us understand, but they don't directly help the cause. Peter. US.
From Coordinating Council Dear comrades. The weeks before the holidays will be decisive, since it is clear to everybody that after the holidays, it will be too late to salvage the academic year. We need now more patience and resilience. On the public front colleagues have complained that the strike disappeared from the news in the course of the week. It is likely that in the wake of the Hebron tragedy, it will be even less in the public awareness. We shouldn't worry too much about this, however. In all likelihood, the students and the media will realize the gravity of what is at stake (the fate of the academic year) and then suddenly the subject will return to the media in full force. Finally, about our network.
From Coordinating Council Dear Comrades. It seems that the top political figures are in panic. Let's stand strong and united. On another matter. I just returned from my bank. They have special loans for the faculty members that are on strike. Their loan is for 12 months with a fixed interest of 13%. Return of the loan starts two months from receipt. In addition you can increase your credit line from $3000 to $6000 with an interest of 15%. If necessary, our representative can sit with you and help those with problems. Keep the faith.
Managing Conflicts (Weeks 8, 9) Debate Issues Leadership referendum Relationships Intense tensions between strikers and union Negotiation Status Almost complete stand off Stake Holders Conflict with students escalating Interested Parties Support from colleagues overseas Network Management ACADEMIA loses members who are critical of content
Message from a striker I wish to point out that the calculations of the "average salary of academics in four years" as reported by our representatives are highly inaccurate. When you take into account seniority, the figures are much higher than the $1200 quoted. My colleagues' suggestions that we should compromise are not as ridiculous as the Council is trying to make us think. In fact, the last few letters expressed a widespread unease that many of us apparently feel about the way in which our leaders (mis)lead us.
Message from a striker Here is an interesting question raised in my department. Are we working or are we not? For sure we are not getting a salary. So the question is are the universities paying our other benefits? For example, I come to work daily. What will happen if on my way to work tomorrow I get involved in a car accident? Is my insurance still paid for? Do the universities continue to pay for our pension funds? Those who pay for medical insurance through the university, should they go and pay personally, or is it taken care of? Is anybody in the union giving any thought to these issues? Is anybody taking care of us?
Message from a striker I just received a phone call from a concerned colleague. Someone called his home this morning, shouted "death to the professors" and hung up. It is not surprising that some frustrated students should vent their frustration this way. However, coupled with the violent and abusive verbal behavior of the students who disrupted the TAU senate meeting last week, it may be a cause for concern. There is little we can do to counter such phone calls except, perhaps to monitor their frequency. Thus, I am volunteering to keep track. Please let me know if you receive any abusive calls or if someone you know receives one.
Back to Negotiations (Weeks 10, 11) Debate Issues Negotiation strategy Relationships Conflict between strikers and union subsiding Negotiation Status Intense negotiations to draft contract Stake Holders Administrators also in conflict with academics Interested Parties Media interest peaks, then diminishes Network Management Life line, censorship introduced
From Coordinating Council, Part a Yesterday and today's round of negotiations was possibly the longest in the history of the present dispute. From 3.30pm to 5.00am this morning we were sitting together. All these long hours were dedicated to the discussion of the criteria that will entitle faculty members to receive the special addition to their salary. The other side wants criteria that will accomplish two things at once: differentiate clearly between academics and other groups, differentiate among the academics themselves.
From Coordinating Council, Part b We, on the other hand, contend that the present task is only to define how we differ from others. For we see the special addition as a way for the government to give us the 60% increase to our salary without causing the domino effect the government is so concerned about. We believe that differentiating BETWEEN academics is something that should be done by academics and at this point should not be discussed at all. I know that many of you are tired of this long strike, but hold on. Keep the faith. Justice is on our side and we will win this war. We have to.
Message from a striker Fresh news: today at 12.00 the administration workers shut down the electricity- no electricity!! I am writing from the computation center where we have a bit of light, but most of the other places are dark. I talked to some students a few hours ago and they are organizing some demonstrations here too. They burned some tires earlier... The academics are amazed and lots of TV and radio people are here too. There are many arguments in the corridors between administrative staff and academics. At least we too (at BGU) got some action now. Bye for now. I gotta get back to the center of events.
Toward New Contract (Last 2.5 months) Debate Issues The need for ACADEMIA Relationships Controversy about the results of the strike Negotiation Status New contract finally signed Stake Holders Student pressure lead to academic concessions Interested Parties Media and general public lose interest Network Management ACADEMIA acknowledged as “secret weapon”, traffic dwindles
Findings – Why? Due to: SPEED, MULTIPLE ADDRESSING, PROCESSING, ROUTING E-MAIL IS POLITICALLY POTENT E-MAIL IS MEDIA-RICHER THAN PREVIOUSLY RATED (BETWEEN THE TELEPHONE AND WRITTEN MEDIA)
Discussion 1 During the strike, the striker community evolved from a large disorganized group of dispersed individuals into a united virtual community that was able to overcome employer pressures (to stop the strike prematurely) and won the struggle E-mail seemed to enable group transformation that allowed the strikers to succeed in what was presumed to be a hopeless battle
Discussion 2 Over time, the virtual community formed has gone through a series of phases that marked its evolution into a united goal- oriented group HOW DO VIRTUAL COMMUNITIES (OF ANY SIZE) DEVELOP? EVOLVE? TRANSFORM? WHAT ARE THE GROUP DYNAMICS?
Discussion 3 Transforming roles of E-mail in this case: Helping strikers to communicate among themselves and maintain unity Enabling information flow from leaders to their constituents Allowing constituents to advise leaders on negotiation strategy and tactics
Discussion 4 The group evolution process resembled small group development models: Tuckman (1965), Gersick (1988), or Robbins (1993) Book by Robbins Organizational Behavior – Small Group Development model : Forming and norming, Low performing, Storming, High performing, Adjourning E-mail created an illusion of smallness?
Group Development: Network Management Forming and norming - ACADEMIA established, message traffic is growing Low performing - Consolidation, heavy multi- channel traffic on ACADEMIA Storming - ACADEMIA loses members who are critical of content High performing - ACADEMIA becomes life line, censorship introduced Adjourning - ACADEMIA acknowledged as “secret weapon”, traffic dwindles
WHAT NEXT? EXPLORE WHAT ARE THE POWER AND POLITICS IMPLICATIONS OF E-MAIL? HOW E-MAIL CAN BE USED TO ACHIEVE POLITICAL PURPOSES? AT THE ORGANISATION LEVEL AT THE LOCAL/NATIONAL LEVEL AT THE GLOBAL LEVEL
WHAT NEXT? Virtual politicking = use of Internet facilities as e-mail to support organizational politics VIRTUAL POLITICKING IS DELIBERATE The employees’ perspective – promising The employer perspective – risky EFFECTIVELY MANAGED? ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS?