The issue of employee involvement in the electronics industry has been raised in recent discussions, both in Scotland and elsewhere (McCalman 1988, EDC 1983, Morgan and Sayer 1988). On the one hand, much of what has been written focuses on the claim that a large proportion of electronics companies do not recognize trade unions, and consequently there are no adequate channels for the representation of employee interests. On the other hand, the picture of the industry given by both the Scottish Development Agency (now known as Scottish Enterprise) and much of the Scottish media – and based, in particular, on the presence and practices of a number of large American blue chip multinational companies – is one of sophisticated and progressive employee relations policies, which encourage active employee involvement in, and commitment to, the firm. Beaumont (1986) has commented on the existence of a widely held belief that high technology firms are ‘overwhelmingly nonunion’ and ‘operate with a management style that has been labelled “sophisticated paternalist”’. In a similar vein, an ACAS commentator, referring to one such high technology firm, went as far as to say that the company in question had achieved ‘a revolution in social thinking’ with respect to its treatment of employees (quoted in Peach 1983). Clearly, the way in which managers approach the issue of employee representation will affect both the conduct and the state of industrial relations within firms. Attitudes towards recognizing trade unions, their roles and responsibilities inside organizations, the existence of non-union channels of representation, and the content and extent of communication and consultation with the work-force, are all issues in which management are likely to have some degree of choice or influence. Indeed, for some observers, the influence 57which management can bring to bear on these aspects of industrial relations is crucial (Brown 1986, Bain 1970).