Labor-Management Relations in Public (and Business) Administration: A Textbook Case?

James S. Bowman, Jonathan P. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unions are a perennial topic of controversy in American society. This article examines the attention that labor-management relations receive in introductory public administration textbooks. These publications define the focus of the field, its paradigm, and its essential elements; they also likely affect how the subject is presented in the classroom. Given the interest in labor-management relations and their place in the administrative state, how is the topic portrayed in beginning texts? This investigation provides an overview of contemporary union activity and a description of the methodology used, followed by the study findings. While all books reviewed give some attention to employer-employee relations, the context and content of the coverage is, at best, modest. The analysis briefly compares public and business administration texts in each subsection of the findings, and generally reveals small differences between them. The conclusion discusses the implications of the data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-466
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Public Affairs Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Public sector unions
  • business administration textbooks
  • labor-management relations
  • public administration textbooks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration


Dive into the research topics of 'Labor-Management Relations in Public (and Business) Administration: A Textbook Case?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this