Education ManagementIntroductionThe primary objective of modern businesses is to optimize production while maximizing profits. To this end, businesses invest more time and resources in sourcing; recruiting and retaining a quality work force that helps them meet strategic goals and objectives (Bach & Sisson, 2000 p. 45). Employment relationships are broadly categorized into two groups, namely; managerial relations and market relations. Managerial relations involve the role of management in deployment of an organizations workforce in accordance with the laid down policies and procedures, while market relations involves the economic aspects that influence recruitment of labor, and the terms and conditions that human resource managers employ in the process.
The paper seeks to provide an analysis of conflicts that arise in employment relationships in higher education institutions and how the management attempts to stay in control despite major relationship conflicts and interest disparities. At the advent of trade union movements, employees had little say in regard to the terms and conditions under which they were engaged. This necessitated the emergence of trade unions whose objective was to empower employees. Trade Unions are essentially the umbrella bodies that enable employees to collude with others for a stronger bargaining position.
The primary objective of trade union movements was to economically empower and protect employees against unfavorable employment terms and conditions. The use of employment contracts is a significant phenomenon in modern organizations as well. Contracts are however regarded to be instruments of imposing undesirable conditions on employees, particularly in consideration of the fact that employers retain the final authority to determine terms and conditions of employment. Work relationship challenges are largely attributed to the disparity in power and interest between employers and employees (Jerome, 2004 p. 77-78). Terms and conditions of employment that are instituted by organizations are largely superficial, as employees often do not have the ability to institute legal action in the event of management misconduct.
Contracts often simply provide a framework of responsibility, such as the requirement of employers to create work and pay wages, while employees are required to meet performance targets, be honest, have integrity, and maintain confidentiality of work related issues. Three perspectives have been advanced to explain aspects of employment relationships. They include; unittarism, Pluralism and Marxism (Zagelmeyer, 2004 p. 121).
The objective of this paper is to employ these three perspectives in analyzing the challenges of human resource management in research –intensive higher education institutions. Unitarism Unitarism is a system of management that is based on the assumption that conflict in the workplace involving managers and employees is not inevitable. The relationship between the two is essentially cooperative, even though conflict could arise but on rare occasions. Unitarists hold that the organization is the single source of influence and authority, and other alternatives such as trade unions and shop stewards should be eliminated from the organization (Dorpalen, 1995 p. 64).
Managers and employees are perceived to have similar interests and have equal commitment to the organizations goals and objectives, to the extend that cases of conflict may not necessarily compromise or disrupt the normal working of the organizations functions. Cases of conflict are attributed to improper recruitment, personality disorders, deviance, and ineffective communication. In order to prevent relation conflicts from disrupting normal functioning of the organizations processes, the management team must pay keen attention on eliminating potential sources of conflict.
The management is hence obliged to undertake recruitment processes that are fair, equitable and in consideration of the organizations interests (Lumby, 2003 p. 11). It must as well develop an effective communication framework which ensures that employees are duly informed of their true rights and interests. Individuals who are prone interpersonal conflicts and those who do not cooperate are either dismissed or suppressed.