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Industrial relations

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Protest against industrial relations reform in Melbourne (15 November 2005). Industrial relations is a multidisciplinary field that studies the employment relationship.[1][2] Industrial relations is increasingly being called employment relations or employee relations because of the importance of non-industrial employment relationships;[3] this move is sometimes seen as further broadening of the human resource management trend.[4] Indeed, some authors now define human resource management as synonymous with employee relations.[5] Other authors see employee relations as dealing only with non-unionized workers, whereas labor relations is seen as dealing with unionized workers.[6] Industrial relations studies examine various employment situations, not just ones with a unionized workforce. However, according to Bruce E. Kaufman "To a large degree, most scholars regard trade unionism, collective bargaining and labor-management relations, and the national labor policy and labor law within which they are embedded, as the core subjects of the field."[7] Initiated in the United States at end of the 19th century, it took off as a field in conjunction with the New Deal. However, it is generally a separate field of study only in English-speaking countries, having no direct equivalent in continental Europe.[1] In recent times, industrial relations has been in decline as a field, in correlation with the decline in importance of trade unions,[7] and also with the increasing preference of business schools for the human resource management paradigm.[8]

Contents
• • •

1 Overview 2 History 3 Theoretical perspectives
o o o

3.1 Pluralist perspective 3.2 Unitarist perspective 3.3 Marxist/Radical perspective

4 Industrial relations today

but also employee equity and voice. . and it seeks to understand the employment relationship and its institutions through high-quality. the Marxistinspired critical camp sees employer-employee conflicts of interest as sharply antagonistic and deeply embedded in the socio-political-economic system. in contrast to scholarship in human resource management and organizational behavior. differ between two camps within industrial relations. regional. Industrial relations scholarship also assumes that there are at least some inherent conflicts of interest between employers and employees (for example. or national level. to "varieties of capitalism" (such as corporatism.[10] The pluralist camp sees the employment relationship as a mixture of shared interests and conflicts of interests that are largely limited to the employment relationship. and other employment and labor laws and public policies. the pursuit of a balanced employment relationship gives too much weight to employers’ interests. In the policy arena. problem solving. and when the employment relationship includes conflicts of interest. Industrial relations scholars therefore frequently study the diverse institutional arrangements that characterize and shape the employment relationship—from norms and power structures on the shop floor. Industrial relations scholars and practitioners therefore support institutional interventions to improve the workings of the employment relationship and to protect workers’ rights. to various levels of public policy and labor law regimes.[11] These institutional interventions are all seen as methods for balancing the employment relationship to generate not only economic efficiency. When labor markets are seen as imperfect. The nature of these institutional interventions. From this perspective. rigorous research. higher wages versus higher profits) and thus. pluralists advocate for minimum wage laws. and neoliberalism). employee voice mechanisms such as works councils and labor unions. collective bargaining. social democracy. and in extreme cases to prevent worker exploitation. to employee voice mechanisms in the workplace. conflict is seen as a natural part of the employment relationship. political science. international labor standards. industrial relations is part of the social sciences. labor and social history. and labor-management partnerships. human resource management. in contrast to mainstream economic theory. law. industrial sociology. pluralists therefore champion grievance procedures. employers typically have greater bargaining power than employees.[12] In contrast. In the workplace. to collective bargaining arrangements at company. and other areas. however.[9] In the science building phase. occupational health and safety standards. then one cannot rely on markets or managers to always serve workers’ interests. and ethical. Militant trade unions are thus frequently supported. industrial relations scholarship intersects with scholarship in labor economics. and instead deep-seated structural reforms are needed to change the sharply antagonistic employment relationship that is inherent within capitalism. Industrial relations scholarship assumes that labor markets are not perfectly competitive and thus. In this vein.• • 5 Notes 6 Further reading Overview Industrial relations has three faces: science building.

Intellectually. Theoretical perspectives This section does not cite any references or sources. each with its own legitimate loyalties and with their own set of objectives and leaders. The radical perspective is sometimes referred to as the "conflict model". Pluralist perspective In pluralism. In Britain.[13] Industrial relations was formed with a strong problem-solving orientation that rejected both the classical economists’ laissez faire solutions to labor problems and the Marxist solution of class revolution. who supported progressive labormanagement relations in the aftermath of the bloody strike at a Rockefeller-owned coal mine in Colorado. endowed chairs in industrial relations at Leeds. Jr. Each offers a particular perception of workplace relations and will therefore interpret such events as workplace conflict.[9] As society wrestled with these massive economic and social changes. (October 2012) Industrial relations scholars have described three major theoretical perspectives or frameworks. and the threat of social instability. Radical theories are strongly identified with Marxist theories. Cardiff and Cambridge in 1930. Rockefeller. Montague Burton.History Industrial relations has its roots in the industrial revolution which created the modern employment relationship by spawning free labor markets and large-scale industrial organizations with thousands of wage workers. and abusive supervisory practices led to high employee turnover. industrial relations was formed at the end of the 19th century as a middle ground between classical economics and Marxism. violent strikes. that contrast in their understanding and analysis of workplace relations. Low wages. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Commons when he created the first academic industrial relations program at the University of Wisconsin in 1920. The three views are generally known as unitarism. although this is somewhat ambiguous. In . another progressive industrialist. the role of unions and job regulation differently. as pluralism also tends to see conflict as inherent in workplaces. monotonous and dangerous work. labor problems arose. and the discipline was formalized in the 1950s with the formation of the Oxford School by Allan Flanders and Hugh Clegg. pluralist and radical. the organization is perceived as being made up of powerful and divergent subgroups. It is this approach that underlies the New Deal legislation in the United States. Industrial relations thus rejected the classical econ. industrial relations was founded by John R. such as the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Early financial support for the field came from John D. Institutionally. although they are not limited to these. long working hours. with Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb’s Industrial Democracy (1897) being the key intellectual work.

interpersonal friction and communication breakdown. industrial relations today is in crisis. could in fact be channeled towards evolution and positive change. The number of academic programs in industrial relations is therefore shrinking. Unitarist perspective In unitarism. Whilst there may be periods of acquiescence. its traditional positions are threatened on one side by the dominance of mainstream economics and organizational behavior. Conflict is perceived as disruptive and the pathological result of agitators. is stronger than ever. the industrial relations emphasis on institutional intervention is trumped by a neoliberal emphasis on the laissez faire promotion of free markets. the two predominant sub-groups in the pluralist perspective are the management and trade unions. if managed. Conflict is therefore seen as inevitable and trade unions are a natural response of workers to their exploitation by capital. the role of management would lean less towards enforcing and controlling and more toward persuasion and co-ordination. The importance of work. being predominantly managerial in its emphasis and application. emphasizing mutual cooperation.. the organization is perceived as an integrated and harmonious whole with the ideal of "one happy family". In policy-making circles. This perspective sees inequalities of power and economic wealth as having their roots in the nature of the capitalist economic system. Furthermore. where there is a fundamental division of interest between capital and labour. Trade unions are deemed as legitimate representatives of employees. unitarism has a paternalistic approach where it demands loyalty of all employees. and sees workplace relations against this background. labor unions are declining and fewer companies have industrial relations functions. especially human resource management and organizational behavior.[14][15][16] In academia. and on the other by postmodernism. Consequently. conflict is dealt by collective bargaining and is viewed not necessarily as a bad thing and. jai hind . In practice. however. and the lessons of industrial relations remain vital. policy. The challenge for industrial relations is to re-establish these connections with the broader academic.particular. and scholars are leaving the field for other areas.. and business worlds. the Marxist view would be that institutions of joint regulation would enhance rather than limit management's position as they presume the continuation of capitalism rather than challenge it. trade unions are deemed as unnecessary since the loyalty between employees and organizations are considered mutually exclusive. where management and other members of the staff all share a common purpose. Industrial relations today By many accounts. Marxist/Radical perspective This view of industrial relations looks at the nature of the capitalist society. Consequently. where there can't be two sides of industry.

7. Sage. Adrian (2005) “British Industrial Relations Paradigm: A Critical Outline History and Prognosis. Stanford University Press. ^ Ed Rose (2008). 14. ^ Philip Lewis.The Best Test Prep for. Edward Elgar. The Global Evolution of Industrial Relations. 10. ISBN 978-0-273-64625-9. p. "The original industrial relations paradigm: foundation for revitalizing the field". Whalen. John W. ^ a b Bruce E. Bruce E. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. p. John W. 3. (2004) The Global Evolution of Industrial Relations: Events. ^ Paul Banfield. Financial Times/Prentice Hall. Charles J. doi:10. Ideas. ISBN 978-0-7386-0125-0. ^ Kaufman. In Charles J. 9. Employee Relations: Understanding The Employment Relationship. ISBN 978-0-273-71008-0. Equity. 16. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. Financial Times/Prentice Hall. Employment Relations. 114.” Industrial Relations Journal. ISBN 978-0-19-929152-6. New Directions in the Study of Work and Employment: Revitalizing Industrial Relations As an Academic Enterprise. and Budd. Rebecca Kay (2008). and the IIRA ." in Sage Handbook of Industrial Relations. Adrian Thornhill. 141. 1. Oxford University Press. "How industrial relations is marginalized in business schools: using institutional theory to examine our home base". and Voice. (2004) Employment with a Human Face: Balancing Efficiency. p.00216 2. Invisible Objectives: Bringing Workplace Law and Public Policy Into Focus. 31. Stephen F. Research & Education Assoc. ^ Daphne Taras (2008). 124. John W. Cornell University Press. 11. . “Reframing Employment Relations. and Frames of Reference in Industrial Relations.Notes ^ a b Ackers. Devasheesh (2008) "Values. Peter and Wilkinson.” Journal of Industrial Relations. International Labour Office. ^ Ackers. ISBN 978-1-84720-452-3. Whalen. 96. Peter (2002) “Reframing Employment Relations: The Case for NeoPluralism. 12. ^ Befort. Introduction to Human Resource Management. and Bhave. The Global Evolution of Industrial Relations ^ Whalen. (2009) Invisible Hands. 8. 15. 13. CLEP Principles of Management W/ CD-ROM (REA) . ^ Budd. Kaufman (2008).” ^ Kaufman. ISBN 978-1-84720-452-3. 4. 6. In Charles J. (2008) New Directions in the Study of Work and Employment: Revitalizing Industrial Relations as an Academic Enterprise. ^ Budd. Mark Saunders (2003). 5. ^ a b Kaufman. New Directions in the Study of Work and Employment: Revitalizing Industrial Relations As an Academic Enterprise. Susan T Cooper (2005). ^ John R Ogilvie. p. 3.1111/1468-2338. ^ Ackers. Ideologies.