Case study of underground coal mining productivity in Utah

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Economics
Author Hannah, Richard Lloyd
Title Case study of underground coal mining productivity in Utah
Date 1981-12
Description The central purpose of this dissertation is to examine the reasons for the wide variance in productivity levels among underground coal mining firms in Utah. Related objectives are to test the feasibility of relying on in-depth field research in the coal industry to clarify relationships and develop more useful perspectives concerning productivity, to demonstrate in detail the considerable variance in productivity levels among firms, and to suggest more useful hypotheses for further research. The methodology employed is a series of case studies of individual firms which include in-depth interviews, mine tours, and the collection of firm-specific data. The thesis which emerges from this investigation is that in the Utah case the industrial relations environment is the key to analyzing the determinants of productivity differences. However, this view of industrial relations encompasses more than the traditional area of labor-management relations. From the most narrow perspective it focuses on the impact on productivity of the differences in internal labor market organizations and functions in union and nonunion firms. From a broader perspective it includes such variables as the impact of the United Mine Workers of America on management Philosophy;, the work ethic and motivation of miners, and the impact of the size of the firm. The most general interpretation of the industrial relations framework of analysis concerns the evolution of mine ownership patterns in Utah. The suggestion from this more historical view is that institutional forces have dictated the pattern of acquisition of union and nonunion coal operators. Some specific conclusions are that the case study method of investigation is a feasible and useful method of investigation and that, given the range of productivity variations in Utah from 7 to 35 tons per man shift, the nonunion firms generally emerge as more productive because of greater internal labor market stability and more flexible work arrangements. Based on these and other conclusions several related hypotheses are suggested. In order to test these hypotheses, interregional comparisons should be made. This will allow the determination of whether or not the relationships uncovered in the Utah case are general or only local characteristics. It is further suggested that the case study approach be expanded to include surface mining. Since this segment of the industry now produces more than half of the total U.S. coal production, the importance of developing a strong micro-economic perspective of productivity relationships should not be overlooked.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Coal mines and mining; Coal miners; Coal trade
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name PhD
Language eng
Relation is Version of Digital reproduction of "Case study of underground coal mining productivity in Utah" J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections, HD 30.5 1981 H33
Rights Management ©Richard Lloyd Hannah. To comply with copyright, the file for this work may be restricted to The University of Utah campus libraries pending author permission.
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 10,945,206 bytes
Identifier us-etd2,140239
Source Original: University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections
Conversion Specifications Original scanned on Kirtas 2400 and saved as 400 ppi 8 bit grayscale jpeg. Display image generated in Kirtas Technologies' OCR Manager as multiple page pdf, and uploaded into CONTENT dm.
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