Industrial relation theories


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Industrial relation theories

  1. 1. Chapter 1 Theories and Concepts Used to Analyse Industrial Relations <ul><li>Approaches Used to Define Industrial Relations (1) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional-based definitions : </li></ul><ul><li>industrial relations are the sum of institutions and institutional processes that establish and administer the rules regulating workplace relations </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>(2) Social Psychology-based definitions : </li></ul><ul><li>industrial relations are the sum of social psychological interactions between individuals </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>(3) Class-based definitions : </li></ul><ul><li>industrial relations are the sum of institutions, interactions and processes that are a product of wider social and economic influences, in particular the class divisions of contemporary capitalism </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>Approaches Used to Define Industrial Relations (2) </li></ul><ul><li>D efinitions that seek to include all matter s contained in the first three definitions within other terms : </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>(4) Human Resource Management : </li></ul><ul><li>contracts of employment ( involving trade unions, worker collectives, labour courts and government agencies ) , as well as management of conflict arising out of the personal interactions of individuals in the workplace, are part of labour management functions ( i.e. recruitment, selection, training, development, performance management, and so on) </li></ul><ul><li>(5) Employment Relations (or Employee Relations ) : </li></ul><ul><li>contracts of employment ( involving trade unions, worker collectives, labour courts and government agencies ) , as well as the management of conflict arising out of the personal interactions of individuals in the workplace, are equal parts of workplace relations , together with the normal functions of Human Resource Management. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Preferred Definition of Industrial Relations <ul><li>Industrial relations encompasses ‘the processes of regulation and control over workplace relations, the organisation of tasks, and the relations between employers and their representatives, and employees and their representatives, and is the sum of economic, social and political interactions in workplaces where employees provide manual and mental labour in exchange for rewards allotted by employers, as well as the institutions established for the purpose of governing workplace relations’ (Gospel & Palmer, 1993, p.2). </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Frames of Reference (1) </li></ul><ul><li>Unitarism </li></ul><ul><li>Assumptions about workplace relations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  - management and employees share common interest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - one source of legitimate authority (management) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Assumptions about workplace conflict </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  - inevitable , aberration , destructive , to be avoided </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - caused by poor management , dissidents , agitators or poor communication </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Assumptions about trade unions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  - a competing and illegitimate source of authority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - an unwarranted intrusion in the workplace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - create conflict where none would otherwise exist </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Assumptions about collective bargaining </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  - creates and institutionalises unnecessary divisions of interest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - serves to generate workplace conflict rather than resolve it </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Frames of Reference (2) </li></ul><ul><li>Pluralist </li></ul><ul><li>  Assumptions about workplace relations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  - managers and employees have different objectives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - multiple sources of legitimate authority </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Assumptions about workplace conflict </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  - inevitable , caused by different opinions and values , benefit to an organisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - avoid by accepting trade unions , include in decision-making </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Assumptions about the workplace role of trade unions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  - not the cause of conflict </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - are expression of diverse workplace interests that always exist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - a legitimate part of workplace relations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Assumptions about the role of collective bargaining </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  - deals with problems on a collective basis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - most efficient means for institutionalising employment rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - fairer outcomes by balancing employee and management power </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Frames of Reference (3) </li></ul><ul><li>Marxist </li></ul><ul><li>  Assumptions about workplace relations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  - reflect s a wider class conflict between capital and labour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - reflects coercion of working class into dominant capitalist values </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Assumptions about workplace conflict </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  - inevitable: capital seeks to reduce costs, workers seek fairer price for labour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - will only cease by revolutionary change in distribution of property and wealth </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Assumptions about trade unions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  - should raise revolutionary consciousness of workers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - should not limit action to improving material lot of workers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- union leaders who accommodate management betray the workers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Assumptions about collective bargaining </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  - merely offers temporary accommodations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  - leave s important managerial powers in tact </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Theories of Industrial Relations (1) </li></ul><ul><li>Human Relations Theory and Neo-Human Relations Theories </li></ul><ul><li>Key proponents : Mayo , Maslow , McGregor , Herzberg </li></ul><ul><li>  Frame of reference : Unitarist </li></ul><ul><li>  Focus : Workers’ social and psychological needs </li></ul><ul><li>  Reference to industrial relations : Implicit </li></ul><ul><li>  Theory : a system of management , maximise output by meeting social and psychological needs of employees in the workplace. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  (i)     managers identify and satisfy employees’ social and psychological needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  (ii)    employees seen as different to other production resources   </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(iii)   employees organised into teams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(iv) employees included in work allocation decision-making processes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Result: worker morale maximised, motivated employees productive. </li></ul><ul><li>Neo-Human Relations theories add individual satisfaction and motivation is through worker ‘self actualisation’ by ‘hierarchy of needs’ </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Theories of Industrial Relations (2) </li></ul><ul><li>Systems Theory </li></ul><ul><li>  Key proponent : Dunlop </li></ul><ul><li>  Frame of reference : Pluralist </li></ul><ul><li>  Focus : a general theory of industrial relations </li></ul><ul><li>  Reference to industrial relations : Explicit </li></ul><ul><li>  Theory : industrial relations is a sub-system of wider society with four elements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  (i)     actors : employers , employees, their representatives, government agencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  (ii)    environmental contexts : technology , market , budgets, distribution of power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  (iii)   procedural and substantive rules governing the actors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  (iv)   binding ideology, common beliefs encouraging actors to compromise </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Theories of Industrial Relations (3) </li></ul><ul><li>Labour Process Theory </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Key proponent : Braverman </li></ul><ul><li>Frame of reference : Marxist </li></ul><ul><li>Focus : Labour’s relationship with industrial processes </li></ul><ul><li>Reference to industrial relations : Implicit </li></ul><ul><li>Theory : improved technology and scientific management techniques are </li></ul><ul><li>(i) de-skilling work </li></ul><ul><li>(ii) fragmenting tasks </li></ul><ul><li>(iii) centralising knowledge in management </li></ul><ul><li>(iv) diminishing workers control of pace and conduct of work </li></ul><ul><li>  Result: labour is increasingly alienated and exploited, leading to resistance by organise d and unorganised industrial conflict. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Theories of Industrial Relations (4) </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic Choice Theory </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Key proponents : Kochan, Katz and McKersie </li></ul><ul><li>Frame of reference : Pluralist </li></ul><ul><li>Focus : a general theory of industrial relations </li></ul><ul><li>Reference to industrial relations : Explicit </li></ul><ul><li>Theory : emphasises the strategic choice of actors in deciding industrial relations outcomes , as influenced by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  (i)    declining union membership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(ii) breakdown of collective bargaining frameworks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(iii) retreating government intervention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(i v )    pro-active human resource management techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(v) spread of organisational authority for industrial relations   </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Theories of Industrial Relations (5) </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific Management </li></ul><ul><li>Key proponent : Taylor   </li></ul><ul><li>Frame of reference : Unitarist </li></ul><ul><li>Focus : Use and control of labour </li></ul><ul><li>Reference to industrial relations : Implicit </li></ul><ul><li>Theory : system of management maximising output by greatest technical efficiency of work methods , achieved by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  (i)     unchallenged management powers to allocate work tasks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  (ii)    managers relationship with employees is rational and objective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  (iii)   managers treat workers impersonally and collectively </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  (iv)   work tasks reduced to basic s for low-skilled, low-paid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> employees in assembly line production </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  (v)   employees are chosen to suits the tasks to be perform ed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  (vi)   employees given training in best work methods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  (vii) employees motivated by incentive payment schemes </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Theories of Industrial Relations (6) </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation Theory </li></ul><ul><li>Key proponents : Stigler and Friedland , Joskow </li></ul><ul><li>Frame of reference : Pluralist </li></ul><ul><li>Focus : State intervention in industrial relations </li></ul><ul><li>Reference to industrial relations : Explicit </li></ul><ul><li>Theory : (i) ‘capture theory’ (ii) ‘bargaining theory’ </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Theories of Industrial Relations (8) </li></ul><ul><li>Labour Market Theory </li></ul><ul><li>Key proponent : Friedman and Friedman </li></ul><ul><li>Frame of reference : Unitarist </li></ul><ul><li>Focus : The settlement of wages, employment and the allocation of work. </li></ul><ul><li>Reference to industrial relations : Explicit </li></ul><ul><li>Theory : people are ‘rational economic maximisers’ , ‘perfectly competitive’ labour and product markets yield most efficient economic outcomes. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>