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[10 Marks] There are four major approaches to manage overseas branches. They are: Ethnocentric Polycentric Regiocentric Geocentric Ethnocentric: It is often seen that the decisions relating to value, culture and strategies are determined by the parent company. Very little power is vested in the subsidiaries. The subsidiaries of a company are managed by an expatriate or a former staff of the parent company. The locals have very little to do with the way things are carried out in a company. Lines of communication are usually uni-directional as commands are issued by the headquarters. The host-country branch has a diplomatic role to play but is dominated by the customs of the parent company. It is believed that this is during the first stage of development of companies intending to go international and the management at the headquarters takes an alternative step only after a specific period of time (when the company has made progress or established itself internationally). Many American and Japanese companies have been charged of trying to introduce employee relations policies and strategies which are suitable to their home culture but incompatible with the host-country tradition. This strategy is followed in organisations as they believe that their strategies are not only the best but also the only way to proceed. The organisation runs the risk of not taking notice of the tradition and culture of the hostcountry thereby offending the local employees. The local employees in the subsidiary may not believe in the same values and thoughts and hence do not adapt to the parent company regime. McDonalds follows the ethnocentric approach. Polycentric: Here the local conditions, values and system are taken into consideration in a company. The subsidiary is governed by a home-country (the country in which the headquarters is located) staff and considered as a self-governing business unit. Major decisions, strategy planning and financial investments are decided at the headquarters. However, in this approach the manager of the subsidiary is a local staff and manageremployee relationship is better. This approach helps in maintaining the policies in employee relations as it is compatible with the culture and regime of host-country. Companies like Lever Brothers and Unilever follow the polycentric approach. Regiocentric and Geocentric: Here the subsidiaries are not limited to boundaries such as home country or the region where an organisation has presence. It is organised on a regional basis or geographic basis such as worldwide or global. Control of staff and decision making responsibility is based on regional or geographic constraints. In case of regiocentric, the managers are appointed from the host-country and in case of geocentric, the managers are from any part of the world, that is, the most suited person is appointed for the job. Colgate and Palmolive are examples of companies that follow geocentric approach. It is seen that the companies which follow Polycentric, Regiocentric or Geocentric are truly globalised. In such companies we can expect development of a region or worldwide approach to employee relations policies and practices.
Q.2) what is Employee participation? Give examples. [10 Marks] Employee participation is the process by which workers take part in the decision making processes, and do not just blindly follow the instructions of their supervisors. Employee participation is essential for empowerment of employees in an organisation. Empowerment implies decentralising authority in an organisation. Team participation is very essential for empowerment. Team members are motivated to make decisions by themselves according to the guiding principles and structures that are set up for self management. Quality initiatives within an organisation require employee participation. Each and every employee is encouraged to take incorporate quality measures in all activities in order to satisfy the needs of the customers. Employee participation is also essential for the efficient management of human resources in organisations. Employees feel motivated when organisations empower employees to take decisions. Employee participation is also known as Employee Involvement (EI). Examples of schemes which encourage employee participation include the following: Project Management Teams or Quality Teams: Workers perform tasks that assign significant responsibilities to the team. Suggestion Schemes: Workers are provided with channels through which they can convey new ideas to their supervisors. Frequently, deserving suggestions are suitably rewarded. Consultation Exercises and Meetings: Workers share their ideas and experiences which help to achieve the common tasks and goals. Delegation of Responsibilities Within the Organisation: Employees who deal with customers often have to be empowered to make their own decisions and assigned more responsibilities. Multi-Channel Decision Making Techniques: Decisions are not only taken in a descending flow, they also result from communications upwards, sideways, and in various other ways within the organisation. By now you must be familiar with Collective Bargaining. It is also a form of employee participation. Collective bargaining represents a process of negotiation about working conditions and terms of employment whereby two or more parties (employers’ and employees’ associations) come together and negotiate with a view of reaching an agreement.3 Thus collective bargaining enables employees to take part in the decision making process through the employee representatives of the trade unions. Adoption of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) makes employees stakeholders in the company and hence increases employee participation and feelings of ownership. For example, United Airlines of the U.S.A. gave 55% of its equity stake to its employees in exchange of pay cuts and was able to secure employee participation. The Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems of U.S.A. also recommends employee participation at all levels in decisions that affect the health and safety of employees. It suggests the use of safety representatives, joint labourmanagement committees, work groups and teams to support employee participation in implementing health and safety schemes. Employees can conduct workplace inspections, analyse safety hazards, develop and revise safety rules, and train new employees.
Q.3 Write note on organizational justice. [ 10 marks] Organisational Justice is the main factor of citizenship behaviour and its related outcomes are satisfaction, and commitment towards work. It also focuses on employee's equality in outcomes such as payment and the procedures to determine those outcomes. Organisational justice builds trust in employee, which in turn gets displayed in citizenship behaviour. The concept of justice differs based on the people's cultural values. The people with collectivistic cultures differ from the people with individualistic cultures, in terms of equity and equality. With good organisational justice, you can have more positive outcomes from an employee in the workplace. If employees are treated with full justice, they follow all the rules and regulations of an organisation. They will be more committed towards work, have more trust in organisation, and feel more satisfied with the justice they receive. Type of Organisational Justice Organisations focus on three specific forms of justice. They are: Procedural Justice – Procedural justice is identified by the equality of processes that helps to determine the type of outcomes used, the way they are distributed, and to whom the outcomes are given. Some of the organisational procedural justice includes freedom from bias, accuracy, consistency, and correction of errors. Distributive Justice – Distributive Justice is identified by the reasonable employees in an organisation that recognise the actual outcomes they obtain. Issues may arise if the employee experiences something negative in the workplace that cannot be prevented. Issues may also arise if they do not get the same outcome they expected to have or when the outcomes are inadequate. Interactional Justice – Interactional justice is identified by the awareness of equality in the procedural treatment of others. Issues may arise if the employees are judged wrongly and denied of respect or privacy. A low level of interactional justice can be related to possibility of sexual harassment. Recent study shown that differences in personality and aggressive behaviour of an individual effect the way they react to the inequality in the organisation. Employees’ perception of procedural justice is determined by re-organising their performance rating. With this rating system, employees' view of organisational justice increases. Q4) Describe the main actors involved in industrial relations. [10 marks] The following are the main actors, who are directly involved in Industrial Relations: Employers: Are those who engage a worker and pay the worker a fixed salary on return for services rendered. Employers have the right to employ and fire employees. Their decisions like relocation, introduction of new technologies, mergers and acquisitions affects their employees. Employee: Is an individual who is hired by a person or a business and is remunerated for the services rendered. Employees need a good working environment. They have a right to voice their opinions and convey their grievances. Employees generally form a union in order to obtain their rights from the management. Employees expect the union to support them on all issues.
Government: They influence employee relations by means of laws, rules, regulations, and policies. The government establishes the legal framework for management-trade union interaction. The government also helps in settlement of industrial disputes. They also regulate incomes and establish minimum wages. For example, in Australia, the Commonwealth has enabled employers under their jurisdiction, to bypass unions and negotiate directly with individual employees. But the individual states have reaffirmed the collective bargaining process and the role of unions. Trade Unions: They promote and protect employee interests. Trade unions help in making decisions by following the process of collective bargaining and negotiations, with the management. Good trade unions improve communication between the management and the employees. Trade unions also help in settling of industrial disputes. For example, the United States has low levels of unions compared to the European Union. Hence, the companies in the United States hire and fire employees at will, while their European counterparts have to consult the trade unions. Employer Associations: They help in enhancing the performance of enterprises. Employer Associations represent employers in collective bargaining, depose before tribunals and courts, and engage in public and media relations. They also provide a forum for discussions and debates on specialised subjects. Employer Associations advise, educate, and assist members in industrial disputes. They also lobby with the government for industrial reforms. Courts and Tribunals: These help in resolving industrial disputes. Labour courts examine the legality of orders passed by the employers, the discharge of employees, withdrawal of concessions or privileges, matters relating to lock-outs and strikes. Industrial tribunals deal with matters related to wages, compensations and other allowances, bonuses, rules of discipline, retrenchment, and closure of organisations. For example, the Australian Industrial Relations gives great importance to courts. The courts give quick binding decisions thus, minimizes economic losses. The influence of each actor varies in different industrial systems. In some systems, the government dominates the relationships and in some others, it only plays a minor role. Some industrial systems emphasise employee interests while others emphasise employer interests. Employees usually interact with their employers through representative unions. Some countries facilitate these trade unions, whereas some countries discourage them. Hence, the goals and actions of the trade unions vary from country to country. Q5) Explain the steps in formal grievance redressal procedure. [10 Marks] There are three formal stages to redress any grievance. Each stage has a form which is numbered according to the stage it belongs. First, it has to be noted that the grievances have to fall under one of the following categories to be considered as one: Amenities Compensation Conditions of work Continuity of service Disciplinary action Stage I of Grievance Redressal
An employee who has a grievance meets the shift-in-charge and discusses it. If necessary, the employee obtains a copy of grievance form 1. It is done within a week of occurrence of the aggrieving incident or when the employee became aware of the situation. In case of promotion, a time limit of six weeks from the date of the promotion is permitted. The employee fills up the particulars and hands it over to the shift-in-charge and obtains an acknowledgement receipt in return. The shift-in-charge makes the necessary enquiries and returns the form to the employee with remarks filled in the form within two working days from the date of receipt of the form. In cases where reference to higher authorities or to another department is necessary, more time is provided. Stage II of Grievance Redressal If the matter is not resolved at Stage 1, the employee obtains grievance form 2 and submits it to the next senior manager. The senior manager arranges a meeting within three working days. The department head discusses the issue with the concerned supervisor and the employee and returns the grievance form to the employee with remarks. A unionised member may assist the employee at this stage of grievance redressal. Stage III of Grievance Redressal If the employee is not satisfied with the reply of the departmental head, the employee appeals to the Chairman of his Unit Grievance Redress Committee within seven working days of the receipt of reply at Stage II. The employee obtains a copy of grievance form 3 from the shift-in-charge. The recommendations of the Unit Grievance Redress Committee are considered unanimous and binding on the employee, if no objections are raised by either the management or the union. If objections are raised, the matter is sent for further consideration to the resident director who discusses it over with the president or the deputy president before arriving at a definite conclusion. Figure depicts the formal flow of grievance procedure.
Grievance Handling Procedure within an Organisation Q6) What are the different types of disciplinary problems. [10 Marks] The main types of disciplinary problems are explained as follows: Excessive Absenteeism: Absenteeism occurs when an employee does not report to work due to time off, illness or any other reason. Excessive absenteeism results in loss of productivity. Absenteeism is corrected by employing progressive discipline. Employees need to be aware of the absenteeism policy of the company. They also have to be aware
of the fact that the company monitors employee absence. Employees need to take responsibility for their absenteeism and substantiate their absenteeism with valid records like medical certificates in case of health related absences. Poor Timekeeping: Reporting late to work, leaving early, indulging in extended tea or lunch breaks, doing personal work during office hours, and other time-wasting practices reduce the time spent doing productive work. Poor timekeeping disrupts business and creates a bad atmosphere. These habits have to be curbed and employees need to know that it is mandatory for them to spend certain fixed hours at their workstations or premises doing productive tasks. Improper Personal Appearance: Dress codes are enforced in organisations to project a professional appearance or for safety reasons. Employees are to be made aware of the consequences of their inappropriate attire. For example, synthetic clothes can catch fire easily. Company policy also needs to describe situations where the employee has to dress formally. Substance Abuse: Alcohol and drug abuse can lower employee concentration and decrease performance. Substance abuse also results in absenteeism, accidents at workplace and inappropriate behaviour. Organisational policies on substance abuse need to be communicated with the staff. Employees who are addicted to alcohol or drugs have to be counselled or helped in other ways like therapy and detoxification programmes. Defective Performance: Defective performance results when a task is not completed on time, or is of sub-standard quality, or the task is not done according to requirements. An employee may perform poorly either due to lack of interest or due to lack of capability. Managers need to assess poor performances individually, determine the constraints and take corrective actions. Poor Attitudes: Sleeping on the job, being careless while working, fighting with coworkers, gambling in the work place, insulting supervisors, being rude to customers and colleagues, and such practices reflect poor attitudes. These actions can adversely affect other employees. Thus, these attitudes have to be corrected to maintain a good and productive work atmosphere. Violation of Health and Safety Rules: Smoking in unauthorised places, failure to use safety devices, not following safety rules regarding fire safety, dealing with hazardous chemicals, electrical and mechanical equipment and radiation protection are serious violations and have to be dealt with immediately and effectively. Insubordination: Insubordination can take the form of refusing to perform a legitimate task that has been assigned, ignoring the instructions of managers, criticising or challenging the orders of a superior, using abusive language or making disrespectful gestures like rolling the eyes. Insubordination can affect the morale of the entire team. Organisations need to spell out their policies on insubordination. Managers have to be equipped with proper procedures to deal with insubordination. Workplace Violence: Companies need to have training programmes to its security personnel so that they recognise warning signs and know how to deal with violent behaviour of employees. Employee handbooks need to clearly state that violent behaviour will not be tolerated and will result in termination. Harassment: This behaviour causes discomfort to the co-workers and reduces employee morale. Making crude and sexual remarks or forcing another co-worker to do certain non-legitimate tasks constitutes harassment. For example, a manager may
repeatedly ask an unwilling subordinate for a date. Companies need to have in place a clear sexual harassment policy and employees have to be trained on what constitutes harassment. Theft and Sabotage: Sometimes employees steal money, equipment, supplies or confidential information belonging to the company. Some aggressive employees may damage or destroy organisational equipment and facilities. Some employees may falsify records and accept bribes and indulge in actions that are detrimental to the organisation. Organisations have to strictly deal with such problems.
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