Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Elena P. Bastidas

Second Advisor

Urszula Strawinska-Zanko

Third Advisor

Bruce Lilyea


campaign message, labor, mixed method, NLRB election, thematic analysis, union


This dissertation studied the conflict associated with National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) elections from the perspective of employers. Using systems and structural violence theories, the influences that foment conflict were identified and solutions were proffered through the lenses of both theories. This mixed methods study contributed to the scholarship of NLRB campaign messaging and tactics by incorporating the heretofore-omitted voice of the employer, through quantitative correlational analyses of a 300 NLRB elections database as well as a survey of over 30 employer representatives. A third portion of the study incorporated qualitative thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews of seven subject matter experts who provided insight into winning NLRB election campaign messaging and tactics. Key findings for employers included the importance of stipulating or contesting the petitioned-for unit of employees as well as extending the campaign duration. For communication of campaign messages employers experienced greater success with group meetings and 1-on-1 supervisor/employee meetings as well as with letters to employees’ homes. Employers also benefitted from explaining the collective bargaining process and the use of strikes, and by providing comparisons of employee pay and benefits offered at unionized companies. These findings enabled development of the Voice of the Employer: Winning NLRB Elections© model graphically illustrating evidence-based winning campaign messaging and communication tactics. Keywords: NLRB elections, campaign messaging, appropriate unit size, campaign duration, collective bargaining, persuaders, semi-structured interviews, thematic analysis, correlational analysis.