Unitary, Pluralist, and Radical Perspective in Employment RelationsIntroductionThe objective of this essay is to discuss the different approaches to the study of employment relations such as unitary, pluralist, and radical. The essay also contains an evaluation of each approach in relation to their relevance to field of employment relations. The discussion starts with unitarist perspective followed by pluralist and radical approach to employment relations. The scope includes the main features of each perspective, strength and weakness, importance and relevance to the study of employment relations. The unitarist perspective is broadly defined as an approach emphasizing the importance of sharing the organization goals and team working.
It is a paternalistic approach with more positive attitude towards employees and rejects the pluralist notion of conflict and trade union (Gennard & Judge, 2005, p. 44). The pluralist perspective on the other hand believed in the inherent conflict between employers and employees because the workplace is a microcosm of society where diversity of interest, values, and beliefs exist. The pluralist believed in the effectiveness of trade union and collective bargaining in maintaining the balance of power in the workplace.
(Dzimbri, 2008, p. 3). Radicalism in employment relations holds a highly critical view of Western capitalism and business practices. It is an employment frame of reference where employers are assumed exploitative of their employees and highlights the many injustices of contemporary employment (Redman & Wilkinson, 2002, p. 208). Unitarist perspective of employment relations Main featuresValues and perceptions of an organization play an important role in determining which employee relations will be approach adopted. For instance, there is greater chance of adopting the unitary approach if the one organization views harmony and integration vital to the success of its operations.
This is because the unitarist approach encourages all employees to share organization goals and work together as team (Gennard & Judge. 2005, p. 55). According to Rowley (2009), sharing interest and values is central to unitarism thus the source of authority and focus of loyalty in a unitarist organization is often the senior management (p. 84). Unitarist organization can be authoritarian in its attitude or paternalistic that limits an employee’s autonomy (Genard & Judge, 2005, p. 56). It also possesses a unitarist value system that assumes greater commonality between employers and employees contrary to common belief that they are inherently in conflict (Hunt & Provis, 1995, p. 73).
Since it often assume commonality of values and interest, a unitarist management expect cooperation from workers at all time and view conflict as irrational and avoidable (Rowley, 2009, p. 84). Unitarism confirms the legitimacy and authority of management by establishing a relationship focusing on unity of purpose within a hierarchically led organization. It has an employment relationships constructed from systematic assessment and reward, which is usually based on the extent of a particular employee’s contribution to the shared goals (Mason & Hyman 1995, p. 12).
Overall, a unitary organization has unified structure, purpose, with single source of authority and interconnected members. Evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of this approachContrary to other approaches of employee relation where both common and divergent interest exist (Kaufman& Taras, 2000, p. 178), the unitary model of employee relation that assumes commonality of interest between employer and employee hold different policies and practices that are contributing to its strength. For instance, a unitarist workplace is non-unionized thus no need for collective bargaining or worker strike that often result to further conflict.
Although unitarist organizations do not deny the presence of worker-management conflict, such conflict as mentioned earlier is considered undesirable and can be avoided through an open and trusting environment and effective grievance machinery. A unitarist work environment therefore is almost free from self-serving exploitation and aspirations to counterbalance the employer’s power through collective actions (Kaufman & Taras, 2000,. 178).