The paper 'Industriаl Rеlаtiоns and Wоrkрlасе Сhаngе' is a wonderful example of a Management Assignment. An industrial relationship takes various shapes from one institution to another depending on the terms of contracts that link employees to their employers. In many cases, workplace conditions warrant the establishment of trade unions to protect the rights of employees. Likewise on the employers’ side, there are federations of employers in different capacities, whose functions are to safeguard the positions, privileges and the fundamental rights of employers. There are various perspectives or orientations of industrial relationships worldwide.
This essay narrows down to discussion four main orientations of industrial relations affecting typical workplaces. Ellem (2010, p. 360) presents the four are unitarian (also known as neo-liberalism), pluralism, radicalism (also known as Marxism), and feminism. Characteristics of the orientations Pluralism Pluralism is a perspective of industrial relations and workplace change in which the organization forms two groups of power; trade unions on one side and the management on the other side. There is usually a conflict between the two groups as they compete over the sharing of work benefits. Workers and employers are always at war.
The management usually protects the interests of the institution, while the trade unions defend the employees’ interests based on legal grounds. The second characteristic of pluralism is the use of mutual and collective bargaining to resolve conflicts (Bé langer & Edwards 2007, p720). Thirdly, there is the involvement of the state in protecting the interest of the public. The state usually avoids taking part in the collective bargaining negotiations but addresses the effects of industrial conflicts on the general public. The challenge with pluralism is that it has vague policies and usually involves violations of procedures.
Secondly, it tends to defend the management more than it does to the workers union. The management disregards the necessary changes that workplaces require. Even though it has written procedure, its implementation more often requires the use of radical forceful methods including strikes and boycotts (Visser, 2006). Radicalism This perspective of industrial relations originated from the theory of capitalist movement and social transformation. One of the characteristics of this orientation is the fundamental conflicts that are inherent between the management and the trade unions (Balser & Winkler 2012, p. 400).
Just like pluralism, it has an unequal division of power between the management and the workers union. The trade unions usually challenge the prevailing systems of management towards relevant workplace changes. The unions oppose the attempts of the management (capitalists) to exploit their workers (Hunter 2006, p. 320). The radicalism perspective has a number of challenges for example; it has no ability to eradicate workplace conflicts. The management misuses power and disregards statutory provisions concerning employee rights. Unitarian Unitarian perspective presents an organization as a system without conflicts.
It assumes that the management and the employees are in a mutual agreement on their interests, values, objectives, and their purposes of co-existence. This theory expects total loyalty of all the workers towards the management. As Treuren (2000, p. 98) explains, trade unions do not find space because this perspective considers conflicts as interferences in the workplace. It enables employees to participate in the active processes of workplace changes. It also welcomes employee initiatives towards creative inventions, problem-solving, and a certain level of decision making. It, therefore, has flexible practices in the organization, including discussions of workplace issues to identify and resolve possible conflicts (Wilkinson et al 2009, p. 370).
One major weakness of the unitarian is that it does not have details and justification for the unequal sharing of power between workers and the management in the processes of decision-making.
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