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The Essence of Employee Relations Management

Human Resource Management MBA I (FT)

Traditional Framework of ER

Conflict (us and them) individual and collective Collectivity of employees unions, associations Agencies (players) employees, employers, government, their respective associations Bargaining for rights and privileges Individual discipline and grievance (punitive, low tolerance for dissent)

Hence a pre-occupation with unions, strikes, (agitational behaviour), courts and the like

How Did This Perspective Evolve and Then Shift

The Initial Phase Industrial Revolution mechanisation and the birth of
factories; shift from self-employment to employment by others; view of humans as a factor of production; the psychological dimension of the shift from being a producer (self employed) to being an employee (alienation, control over environment) the birth of the conflict dimension Development of management thought from early scientific management to the birth of the human relations school; human resources development from exploitative to recognition of the individual ideological shift begins but still about welfare

Other Contextual Factors

The shift gains momentum and shape

Improvement in socio-economic environment; improvement in education and growing awareness of the employees; intervention of the State as a regulator and a moderator of relationships The compulsions of the new economic environment speed, competition, innovation and change, operational efficiency focus shifts from conflict to collaboration tactical approaches

A Theoretical Framework Of Employee (Industrial) Relations

Perspectives in Employee Relations

Systems Model John Dunlop Implant Theories Human Relations, Behavioural Sciences Elton Mayo and others The Unitary Approach the emphasis on management
position and authority

The Pluralist Approach collective bargaining and

mutuality, a role for all

Webers Social Action Approach focus on power

struggle, the haves and have nots

Gandhian Approach

The System Model

Actors Employees, Employers & Govt. (regulator) The Rules result of mutual co-operation and conflict substantive and procedural Environment technology, market (external) opportunities and distribution of power between actors (environment) Ideology These elements and their nature at any point in time determine the nature of ER

System Model Redefined

Inputs legal, economic,political and socio-cultural environments Actors (the roles..) employees, employers, and government (regulator) Conversion processes (..and role playing) unilateral action, collective bargaining,grievance procedures, cooperation, arbitration, political action Output industrial conflict, wages, working conditions, rights, turnover, absenteeism, productivity, attitudes

A modification in conversion process will result in a change in the output

The Scope of Employee Relations

The manager and the individual employee The manager and the team The managers (the employer team) and the individual employee The managers (the employer) and the collectivity of employees

There is an individual and a collective dimension

The Players

The Employer The Employee Individual and the Collective The Employee Organisations The Employer Organisations The Regulator

.And The Issues

Wages Conditions of Work Terms of Employment Rights and Privileges Work Systems and Processes Individual level issues (dignity, self respect)

Some Definitions of HRM A Recall

Human Resources Management involves all

management decisions which affect the nature of the relationship between the organisation and employees its human resources.
Michael Beer Bert Spector

A Role For The HRM Function

To facilitate the achievement (realisation) of the organisations business goals through efficient and effective engagement of human resources.

The Emergence of a New Context

1. 2.

Economic Competition Focus on quality and innovation Decline in Manufacturing activities Growth of services sector From blue collar workers to white collar New products and new industries

The New Context(2)



Decline in Trade Union Role and Importance Employers avoidance and union busting Heterogenous work force Slow response to fast changing environment Decline in Collective Bargaining Non-union enterprises Managements aggressive and proactive Shrinking employment in the traditional sector Less scope for compromise on account of economic compulsions

The Changing Context(3)

5. 6. 7.

Ideological change as response to crisis Quality of work life considerations Changing labour profile Educated New needs Gender mix Casual and part time workers Flexi-time and homework systems of work

. And The Outcomes The New Paradigms

The diminishing role of the collective Customisation, flexibility and the individual employee Human Resource and organisation competitiveness

Ideological Shifts at Different Levels

Macro environmental, collectivity and the regulators Micro organisational, managerial Local - individual

Macro Level Shifts

Regulated Protected

Liberalisation Globalisation

Effect Outcomes Opportunities

Quality and innovation Competition Systems and processes

Public Sector

Accountability for corporate governance

Micro Level Shifts

Industrial relations

Employee Relations

Effect - Outcomes
Respect and mutuality flexibility


Human Relations (admn. Rigidity) Command & Autonomy & control (policing) empowerment Collective Individual (defense)


Individual Level Shifts

Workers Agitational & reactive Collective

Status, behavioural Rights & privileges Wages, benefits, terms and conditions of work

Effect Outcomes Equality

Quality of work life issues Career, opportunities

The New Definitions

Employability and not employment Performance and not work Effective employee going beyond the good employee Employees or associates

Emerging Issues

We have moved towards a unitary system the role of the employer is more dominant; is this a point of concern? As the role of collectivity diminishes, Who is the new champion of ER? New issues have emerged in the new scenario quality of work life, development, work life balance Where does the accountability for efficiency and quality lie? What about individual aspirations?

An Enhanced Managerial Commitment to Organisational Responsibility

Work Environment and Working Conditions health, safety and hygiene Worklife Balance Equity and fairness in dealing with issues of indiscipline, wages and employee grievances A transparent system of managerial accountability for employee relations Design of grievance redressal mechanisms It is more about the dignity and respect of the individual employee and his experience of fairness

Employee Relations Redefined

Health Safety Hygiene Workplace environment ambience, culture, infra-structure, enabling systems Opportunities for career & professional growth Employer brand Qualify of work-life balance

People Management

Sense of dignity Perceived sense of fairness and justice Objectivity in decision making Transparency of process

Thank You