This research study investigated the concept of professional workers’ propensity to
embark on industrial action in the context of organisational justice on an individual
level; as well as the collective conditions of union commitment and professionalism.
The study also made enquiries into the perceived Janus face of professional trade
unions in terms of how they aim to be perceived as professional associations, acting as
guardians of standards, professionalism and their members’ status, which is
contradicted by their organisational mandates to extract concessions from employers
through industrial action on a collective level. Data was collected through a
quantitative approach, using survey questionnaires which were distributed to scheduled
airline pilots in South Africa in their capacity as professional workers. The survey
questionnaires elicited 199 responses, which provided valuable insights into
professional workers’ propensity to embark on industrial action in the context of
The responses, on average, were instructive, aside from the fact that no significance
could be attributed to professionalism as a moderator of professional workers’
propensity to embark on industrial action. Contrary to expectations and prior research,
it was found that the collective conditions captured by union commitment were
statistically more significant than any individual factors, represented by organisational
justice constructs, on professional workers’ propensity to embark on industrial action.
Professional trade unions are indeed Janus-faced; a duality that presents trade unions
with a dichotomy in that on the one hand they have a mandate to extract concessions
from employers, but on the other hand are expected to remain professional and uphold
the status and standards of the industries that they represent.