Richard Ivey Building 2365
- High Performance Work Practices
- Changing Union-Management Relations
- Call Centres
- Intensive Care Units
- Steel Industry
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Associate Professor, Organizational Behaviour
Ann C. Frost is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the Ivey Business School. Prior to joining the school in 1995, Frost was a doctoral fellow at the Center for Industrial Competitiveness at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and a research associate at MIT's Industrial Performance Center. She earned her BComm and MSc from the University of British Columbia and a Ph.D. in industrial relations from the Sloan School of Management, MIT.
Frost's research interests include workplace restructuring, dynamics in industrial relations, the high performance workplace, and knowledge management in services. Her research has been funded by the Russell-Sage and Rockefeller Foundations (changes in low skilled - low wage work in the American hospital industry) and SSHRC (job quality in Canadian call centres and care team interactions in Ontario intensive care units). Frost is also involved in a multi-year, SSHRC-funded Major Collaborative Research Initiative project entitled Rethinking Institutions for Work and Employment in the Global Era.
Since joining Ivey, Ann Frost has taught MBA, executive MBA, and undergraduate courses in organizational behaviour and negotiations. Frost has also taught on Ivey's Reconnect Program, Accelerating Management Talent, and is currently the Faculty Director for the City of London Program.
- Executive Education
- BComm, UBC
- MSc, UBC
- PhD, MIT
Recent Refereed Articles
Liu, X., Van Jaarsveld, D., Batt, R., Frost, A.C.,
2014, "The Influence of Capital Structure on Strategic Human Capital: Evidence From U.S. and Canadian Firms", Journal of Management, February 40(2): 422 - 448.
Abstract: Strategic human capital research has emphasized the importance of human capital as a resource for sustained competitive advantage, but firm investments in this intangible asset vary considerably. This article examines whether and how external pressures on firms from capital markets influence their human capital strategy. These pressures have increased over the past three decades due to banking deregulation, technological innovation, and the rise of institutional investors and new financial intermediaries. Against this backdrop, this study examines whether a firm’s capital structure as measured by share turnover, shareholder concentration, and financial leverage is associated with firm investment in strategic human capital. Based on survey and objective financial data from 221 establishments in the United States and Canada, our analysis indicates that firms with greater share turnover, higher shareholder concentration, and higher levels of financial leverage are less likely to invest in human resource systems that create strategic human capital. Differences in national financial systems also lead to differential effects for U.S. and Canadian firms.
Link(s) to publication:
Van Jaarsveld, D., Kwon, H., Frost, A.C.,
2009, "The Effects of Institutional and Organizational Characteristics on Work Force Flexibility: Evidence from Call Centers in Three Liberal Market Economies", Industrial and Labor Relations Review, July 62(4): 573 - 601.
Abstract: This comparative study examines survey data from 464 call centers ill the United States, 167 in the United Kingdom,and 387 in Canada to explore two questions: whether institutional differences shape employers' choices of ways to improve work force flexibility, both numerical and functional; and Whether Strategies for numerical flexibility and functional flexibility are related. The results suggest that institutional differences across these liberal market economies-specifically, in dismissal regulations and union stregth-did affect: how employers chose to achieve work force flexibility. For example, the use of part-time workers was more common in countries with more stringent rules regulating dismissals. Organizational characteristics also mattered, with outsourced firms being more likely than in-house firms to use part-time workers. Evidence also suggests that managers used numerical flexibility and functional flexibility Strategies as Substitutes: higher employee job discr etion was associated with both lower dismissal rates and a lower likelihood of temporary use.
Berg, P., Frost, A.C.,
2005, "Dignity at Work for Low Wage, Low Skill Service Workers", Relations Industrielles-Industrial Relations, Fall 60(4): 657 - 682.
Abstract: Using responses from a telephone survey of 589 low wage, low skill workers in US hospitals, the authors investigate the workplace features that influence workers' perceptions of dignity at work. Both work organization variables and union representation are investigated as potential factors affecting workers' perceptions of fair treatment by their employer, intrinsically satisfying work, and economic security. Work organization and union representation have little effect on dignity at work with the exception of their association with higher wages and therefore a greater degree of economic security. Results indicate that higher pay, adequate levels of staffing and resources, and access to training are the variables that are most closely associated with dignity on the job.
Preuss, G., Frost, A.C.,
2003, "The Rise and Decline of Labor-Management Cooperation: Lessons from Health Care in the Twin Cities", California Management Review, Winter 45(2): 85 - 106.
Abstract: Labor-management cooperation has been regarded for many years as a panacea for organizations' competitive woes. The academic and popular presses have lauded the joint efforts of companies and their unionized workforces to come together to solve companies' competitive problems while saving employees' jobs. Moreover, research on and examples of labor-management cooperation have found that through joint efforts, unions and firms can improve organizational performance and employee outcomes. Increasingly, however, it appears that cooperation is often but a short-lived phenomenon. This article examines a major initiative of labor-management cooperation that was undertaken to facilitate the fundamental restructuring of the health care delivery system in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. For 10 years, management of more than a dozen hospitals and representatives of the Minnesota Nurses' Association came together to negotiate and manage the process of system integration, rationalization, and delivery improvement. The results were remarkable. Yet, just a few years later, despite the success, only remnants of labor-management cooperation remain in these hospitals. This article examines the reasons for cooperation's demise and provides lessons for these engaged in cooperative undertakings that may help extend the life of those initiatives.
2001, "Creating and Sustaining Local Union Capabilities: The Role of the National Union", Relations Industrielles-Industrial Relations 52(2): 307 - 335.
Abstract: Drawing on case study evidence from the automotive, steel, and glass making industries, this article examines the role played by the national union in shaping local unions' abilities to develop and sustain the capabilities critical to managing on-going workplace restructuring. The author presents evidence suggesting the importance of five national union characteristics. These characteristics are the breadth of the national union's representational coverage; the extent of its education and training focus on new workplace issues; the resources it devotes to research on the implications of new workplace practices; the presence of multiple communication channels; and its structuring of local union representation.
2001, "Reconceptualizing Local Union Responses to Workplace Restructuring in North America", British Journal of Industrial Relations, September 39(4): 539 - 564.
Abstract: To date no clear consensus has emerged about how industrial relations scholars ought to conceptualize union responses to workplace restructuring. Yet, local union responses to management-initiated workplace change can differ markedly and can have important implications for the outcomes of restructuring. This study examines the experiences of three local unions engaged in workplace restructuring in the North American steel industry and suggests a reconceptualization of local union responses, away from a simple 'militant'-'cooperative' dichotomy towards a conceptualization based on the process by which local unions engage with management over restructuring.
2000, "Union Involvement in Workplace Decision Making: Implications for Union Democracy and Governance", Journal of Labor Research, Spring 21(2): 265 - 286.
Abstract: The tension created among 3 distinct dimensions of union democracy - workkplace democracy, the union's own internal democratic practices, and the struggle on behalf of democratic causes in society at large - by the advent of employee involvement in workplace decision making adds to the debate about whether, and the conditions under which, such involvement by unions is appropriate. This paper explores how one union, the Canadian Autoworkers, has dealt with the dilemmas created for union democracy by employee involvement in workplace decision making by developing and implementing a strategy of union-circumscribed involvement in workplace decision-making.
2000, "Explaining Variation in Workplace Restructuring: The Role of Local Union Capabilities", Industrial and Labor Relations Review, July 53(4): 559 - 578.
Abstract: Using data collected from 2 matched pairs of integrated steelmaking sites, the paper describes the variation that occurred in the process and outcomes of workplace restructuring. Four union capabilities appear to have been critical to 2 locals' success in negotiating with management over workplace restructuring in ways that benefited themselves, their members, and their firms. This paper argues for including union locals' capabilities as a key variable in research aimed at understanding differences in outcomes across otherwise similar settings.
1997, "The Strategic Use of Cooperation and Conflict: The Cornerstone of Labour's Success in Workplace Restructuring", International Contributions to Labour Studies 7: 19 - 36.
- Researcher at The Inter-University Research Centre on Globalization and Work (CRIMT or le Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la mondialisation et le travail): a Canadian-based inter-university research centre on the theoretical and practical challenges of institutional renewal for work and employment in a global era
- Doctoral Fellow, Center for Industrial Competitiveness, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
- Doctoral Fellow, Industrial Performance Center, MIT
- High Performance Work Practices in Knowledge Intensive Services
- Unions as Competency Creating Institutions