Budd, John W. Employment with a Human Face: Balancing Efficiency, Equity, and Voice. ILR Press, 2004. 263p bibl index afp ISBN 0801442087, $39.95.

Scholars often describe the US employment system as "exceptional" compared to those of other industrialized nations. For example, because the US has no national health care program, employers retain discretion to offer health insurance to their employees and may choose to reduce labor costs by eliminating such benefits. Budd (Univ. of Minnesota) presents a powerful case for reform of American employment relations. He focuses primarily on three dimensions of work: efficiency, equity, and voice. Employers require efficient production systems to compete in a global marketplace. Employees seek simple fairness or equity in their compensation and working conditions. The element of voice provides a mechanism through which workers can raise issues that concern them. Using historical evidence, ethical principles, and a broad survey of industrial relations scholarship, Budd argues that the US system lacks an appropriate balance in those three dimensions. He explores alternative forms of workplace governance, such as the European model of works councils, and envisions a field of "human resources and industrial relations" devoted to the study and transformation of the US workplace. The book is a well-researched and thoughtful analysis of an important subject. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper division undergraduate through professional collections.

R.L. Hogler
Colorado State University

Return to the Employment with a Human Face page.
October 10, 2004