Bargaining for Better Jobs: A Meta-Study on Antecedents and Outcomes of Individualized Employee-Employer Negotiations


Individualized employee-employer negotiations are the topic of an emerging literature on idiosyncratic deals (i-deals). I-deals are person-specific work and employment conditions that surface when individual employees seek out and employer representatives authorize deviations from an organization’s standard human resource practices (e.g., development opportunities, work hours). In contrast to “playing favorites” and “old boy networks”, i-deals are defined based on procedural justice and mutual benefits to employees and employer. The purpose of the current meta-study was to synthesize (i.e., to compile, aggregate, integrate, and evaluate) the results of a research program investigating theoretical assumptions on i-deals in a series of altogether eight empirical field studies. Shared study features were a focus on antecedents and outcomes of successful negotiation, use of survey data, partially comparable instruments, and statistical methods. In compiling a meta-model of individualized employee-employer negotiation, antecedents were categorized into organizational (e.g., work arrangement), individual (e.g., proactivity), and interpersonal (e.g., leadership) factors. Outcomes were grouped into those benefitting more strongly the individual (e.g., job satisfaction) and those with more direct benefits for the organization (e.g., task performance), as well as mediating processes (e.g., work design). For all correlates the quality of evidence was rated according to methodological criteria (i.e., single, replicated, and substantiated finding). Based on the meta-model, implications for research and practice as well as limitations are discussed. Finally, reflections are offered on the importance of synthesizing research and the challenges of integrating imperfectly compatible studies, arising from iterative, inductive-deductive, and partially opportunistic features of real-world research processes.

Author Information
Severin Hornung, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Paper Information
Conference: ECP2016
Stream: Industrial Organization and Organization Theory

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