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Dynamics of Caste in Indian Trade Unions: Results of Qualitative and Quantitative Studies
, Biju Varkkey
Published in Academy of Management
Volume: 2016
Issue: 1
In India two stratifications can be seen. First caste, which has been an age-old mandated closed social stratification prevalent in Hinduism that had led to divisions of society. Second, trade unions are a relatively new optional open workplace stratification that empower workers. This paper reports two studies. The initial qualitative study investigates whether these two systems interact and influence each other. This study initially reviews available literature concerning the impact of the caste system in trade unions in India. To clarify contradictory views from the reviews, we conducted in-depth interviews with 20 active union members and identified the effect of caste on trade union workers through their narratives of their lived experiences. We find that on the surface caste does not have any effect on the relation between union members. However, a deeper analysis reveals that roots of this social reality reflect in the social exchanges of union members. The second study empirically tests the impact of solidarity with one’s caste on the well-established positive relationship between union instrumentality and union loyalty. Our results show that at high level of caste solidarity the relationship between union instrumentality and union loyalty reverses. Our findings have implications for industrial democracy, worker representation and union effectiveness. We conclude by discussing the theoretical underpinnings, implications, and recommendations based on our findings.
About the journal
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
PublisherAcademy of Management
Open AccessNo