The paper "Employer’ s Behaviour and Non-Unionism " is a perfect example of a management assignment. First, non-unionism is not as simple as giving the individual employee a voice and to think that transformation from unionized to the non-unionized workforce can enhance cooperation and significantly reduce employee’ s resistance to change is somewhat a bit inflated. In reality, unless the management truly values each and every employee, such gentle voice coming from one or few employees may not reach management or quickly ignored for lack of majority support. For instance, results of studies discussed by Dundon & Gollan (2007) suggest that informal dialogue with employees increase efficiency (p. 1187) thus absence of such factor is the opposite.
Even when represented by a consultative committee, employees in a large organization may still perceive their representation as useless as such consultations, without a legitimate union to worry about, are likely to occur after the management made its decision. Consequently, perceived and later disappointing individual employee representation may develop into militancy or resistance backed not by a legitimate union but team solidarity or large disillusioned workforce. Similarly, trust between employer and employees must be established and maintained otherwise the viability of non-unionised arrangement will suffer.
For instance, the lack of voice or rather heard but not taken seriously may lead to the perception that such an arrangement is biased if not totally useless. Mistrust can also occur when management inert resistance to employees demands particularly when it involves finance and additional resources are discovered in management decisions that are clearly inconsistent with the non-unionised arrangement. Such occurrences may also lead to perceptions that non-union voice arrangement is just pure union avoidance strategy and a hidden tactic to deprive employees of the protective agency.
For instance, employer hostility and revulsion to unionism according to some literature presented by Dundon & Gollan (2007) made them build sophisticated and “ ruthless” (p. 1191) mechanisms such as non-union arrangements, social and cultural initiatives saintly dressed as programmes serving the interest of employees. Some of them may be superficially Catch-22 but they definitely have an important strategic purpose such as extra cost in providing employee benefits just to avoid unionism and associated industrial actions and costly delays in production. Employer’ s behaviour is greatly affected by business needs thus non-union arrangements are commonly viewed by business owners as economic utility and union-free management of employees’ behaviour.
For instance, without non-union voice, an employee who has some objection about his work will likely seek, join, or form a union thus if there are for example hundreds of employees with objections, majority of employees will be members of a union that their employer should recognize whether they like or not. The concept of individual employee voice thus appears much more as an innovative strategy to avoid unionism than mutually beneficial approach.
To succeed in making unopposed unpopular changes and economies in the workplace, such line of thinking must be accompanied by evidence supporting employers’ true intentions and commitment. This is because workplace change regardless of perception can never be achieved with deceit, a “ blatant defensive strategy” (Butler 2009, p. 204) such as exploitative employment arrangements and union avoidance or “ stonewalling union recognition” (Dundon & Gollan 2007, p. 1194). The key however to non-unionism success is plain and simple active and genuine employee participation in decision making, two-way but open and unrestricted communication, reward systems that truly recognized employee performance and not mere cosmetic, and listening to employees’ criticism and consideration of their grievances as legitimate meeting agenda.
Finally, since non-unionism involves all processes of people management, opportunity to voice out concerns, and employee satisfaction employers who selected this alternative should never attempt to decide by themselves otherwise they will achieve the opposite outcome mentioned earlier.
Butler P, (2009), Non-union employee representation: exploring the riddle of managerial strategy, Industrial Relations Journal, 40:3, pp. 198-214
Dundo T. & Gollan, (2007), Re-conceptualizing voice in the non-union workplace, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18:7, pp. 1182 – 1198
Treuren G, 2000, The Concept of the State In Australian Industrial Relations Theory, Labour & Industry, Vol. 11, No.2, pp. 75-98