Impact of Collective Bargaining and Joint Consultation Influence on Employee’s Organisational Decision-Making The primal intent of this paper is to compare and contrast how joint consultation and collective bargaining are used by employees in influencing management decision making using employee voice frameworks and theory. The two approaches can be compared to the use of vectors in mathematics. In mathematics vectors are used in determining direction to reach a specific destination. In this case, both joint consultation and collective bargaining can be vectors which can be used in reaching a destination which is the employee having an influence on the decision-making process in the organisation.
Collective bargaining and joint consultations are two different approaches that have the same objective. Collective bargaining refers to a process in which employees come together and send their representatives so that they can negotiate their terms as well as work conditions (Leat, 2009:358, Wilkinson, Donaghey and Dundon, 2014:227). Trade unions use collective bargaining so that they can improve or maintain their members working conditions. There are scholars who have defined collective bargaining as a process which involves negotiations, joint regulation, or joint decision-making between groups that represent employee and employer interests (Creighton and Forsyth, 2012:23).
Collective bargaining is quite different from joint problem-solving or consultation since it results in contracts or bargained agreements in which parties are supposed to observe. Joint consultation between employees and employer refers to an act of co-operation which has undertakings in agreements (Deb, 2009:572). Just like collective bargaining, joint consultation is aimed at enhancing a positive work environment. Joint consultations help the management to enable change as well as increase personnel’s chances of accepting change at the work place.
The main difference between joint consultation and collective bargaining is that joint consultation is an instrumental aspect in successful management since information is passed down to the personnel regarding various issues or changes that are likely to come about in the organisation. On the other hand, collective bargaining involves employees negotiating with the management on how they can improve their working conditions (Kurtz and Boone, 2008:309; Aquinas, 2009:247, Daniels and Nicoll, 2011:14). The Citadel intent of joint consultation is to enable the personnel to take part in making decisions before the issue being discussed is settled.
Entirely, at this initial stage, there is a lot of brainstorming. Brainstorming helps the management to get many alternatives or ideas on how the issue at hand can be resolved. During joint consultation the management informs the personnel issues that touch on the company’s economic performance, development goals, as well as offer adequate information so that the issue at hand can be solved through joint consultation approach. According to Blanpain and Baker (2010:548), joint consultation committees’ perform specific functions in the Japanese industrial relations, referred to as joint consultation, to differentiate it from collective bargaining.
Blanpain and Baker (2010:548) state that these bodies discuss issues that employers are indisposed to discuss during bargaining sessions. Apparently, this is the prime objective why joint consultation committee are developed considering that they comprise of representatives or individual who are involved in collective bargaining. Usually, enterprise union has the right to choose employees’ representatives noteworthy this approach is not limited to organisations that have trade unions. In UK, joint consultation committees have been participating in collective bargaining: nonetheless, these initiatives seem to be surpassed by direct communications as well as involvement which are tailored enhancing relations between employer and employees without unions mediating (Hayter, 2011:109).
Noteworthy, joint consultation requires mutual trust between the two parties so that it can be very effective. This implies that joint consultation at the work place involves informal exchange of ideas between the management and the employees. Nonetheless, when the size of firm makes it hard for the management to access employees the management has to develop more formal structures.
In this case, the management or employers want to get employees opinion before making a decision on particular issues. This means that employees have a key role in the decision that the employee will make. Some countries such as Belgium and Germany, workers representatives play a key role in determining provisions of work regulations. On the other hand, in Japan workers representatives have limited rights. The Japanese labour-management relations are founded on dialogue unions and enterprises. Collective bargaining is done between unions and employers (Gazier and Bruggeman, 2008:173).
Collective bargaining deal in many issues and this helps employees make decision on issues such as bonuses, allowances, severance pay, lump-sum payments, days off, hours of work, grounds for dismissal, allowances, transfers, disciplinary action, welfare, employment adjustment measures. Recently, labour management consultation systems have developed considerably, especially in big enterprises: work conditions at shop-floor level are in most cases decided in joint consultation (Creighton and Forsyth, 2012:23). The same union officials as well as representatives attend both joint consultation and collective bargaining meeting. It is not an exaggeration when one argues that daily working conditions are decided in such systems, and it has a considerable influence compared to collective bargaining on decisions that touch on the work environment in general.
Essentially, joint consultation differs from collective bargaining since the latter uses process of negotiation as well as agreement between management representatives and employees (Bach and Edwards, 2012:296; Colling and Terry, 2010). The difference between the two negotiations approaches seem to rest on the idea that both conflict as well as common interests are intrinsic aspects of employment relations which need to be handled through different approaches.
Usually, consultation can be considered to be a way of enhancing action when no conflict of interest exists. On the other hand, joint consultation refers to a means in which settling conflicting interest. It can also be argued that each aspect of employment relationship has a conflict that needs to be legitimised and is subject to collective bargaining. In a nutshell, collective bargaining and joint consultation are instruments that involve employees in determining various issues in the organisation. In this case, the employees through their representative determine the decision that will be arrived at since they give their input.
The striking difference between the two approaches is that in collective bargaining there is a conflict of interest while in joint consultation there is no conflict of interest. References Aquinas, G. (2009) Human resource management, 1E, Vikas Publishing House Pvt Ltd, New Delhi. Bach, S. & Edwards, M. (2012) Managing human resources: human resource management in transition, John Wiley & Sons, Cheltenham. Colling, T. & Terry, M. (2010) Industrial relations: theory and practice, John Wiley & Sons, Cheltenham.
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