Employee Relations Lecture 1 Introduction

Information about Employee Relations Lecture 1 Introduction

Published on July 8, 2014

Author: reenumohan

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Employee Relations AC219: Employee Relations AC219 Week 1: Employee Relations: History, Context, Analysis Adrian Murton; Tom Vine Timetabling: Timetabling Lectures: 1 – 2 Mondays, LTB06 Seminars: From Week 2 4 – 5 Mondays 9 – 10 Wednesdays 12 – 1 Thursdays Structure: Structure Introduction to course Timetabling and assessment Content: Employee Relations: History, Context, Analysis What is/are Employee Relations?: What is/are Employee Relations? Follows on from AC114 Introduction to Management; looks at organization, leadership and control from employer and employee perspectives How we are managed, how we would like to be managed, how and why conflicts arise and how these can be resolved at work Traditional and new(er) concerns: Traditional and new(er) concerns Traditional focus on ‘actors’ - managers, employees, government, unions Until recently looked at men, unions, manufacturing, manual work Today, increasing interest in ‘new’ actors – customers, families, other interest groups - and in service sector, women and complexity of employment arrangements Widening focus has broadened scope of employee relations concerns Why are Employee Relations worth studying?: Why are Employee Relations worth studying? For many people work is central in terms of time, money, identity, status, social relations Most of us experience work as employees – we have an employment relationship – between ourselves and those who employ us, and an employment status However many different interests at work (‘stakeholders’) – owners, shareholders, managers, employees, customers – all exert pressure on employment relationship Why are Employee Relations worth studying?: Why are Employee Relations worth studying? For employers – the ‘labour question’ a central one Need labour to produce output Need to ensure labour does what employers want Need for control – of labour costs and activities - and need for welfare Tension – control v commitment The Employment Relationship in Employee Relations: The Employment Relationship in Employee Relations It follows that the ‘employment relationship’ is a central feature of work but it is dynamic and often ‘contested terrain’ It is also complex – has many dimensions and levels – economic, legal, social, psychological and political Shaped by historical experiences Employment relationship now seen as core to the study of employee relations Many employment relationships, many employee relations The Employment Relationship: The Employment Relationship Parties to Relationship Employment Relationship Structure Formal rules Informal understandings Substance Individual: reward, job, career Collective: joint agreements Operation Level Process Style Source : Kessler and Undy 1997 AC 219 Employee Relations: AC 219 Employee Relations Assessment Assessment: Basics: Assessment: Basics Two pieces of coursework – no exam Coursework 1 – choice of questions One question invites you to make a comparison between Britain and one other country in terms of employee relations Other question – focuses on changes in British employee relations since 1980s Max 2,000 words. Deadline for submission Monday 15 th December Assessment: Assessment Coursework Two Choice of questions – One from Three distributed in Lecture 6 Trade unions; Employee involvement or Role of legislation 2,000 – 2,500 word essay Deadline for submission 13 th January 2009 Useful Materials: Useful Materials Blyton, P., Turnbull, P, (2004), The Dynamics of Employee Relations (3 rd Ed.) Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan Journals: British Journal of Industrial Relations; Industrial Relations Journal; Work, Employment & Society; Employee Relations Websites: www.cipd.co.uk , www.tuc.org.uk www.cbi.org.uk , www.berr.gov.uk , www.ilo.org , www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro Employee Relations: Employee Relations History, Context, Analysis Employee Relations: Content, History, Analysis : Employee Relations: Content, History, Analysis Industrial Relations, Employee Relations and Employment Relations IR traditionally concerned with ‘the institutions of job regulation’ (Flanders and Clegg 1954) and the generation of employment rules Led to a focus on trade unions and collective bargaining – CB ‘fulcrum’ of industrial relations Not unique to Britain – see US, and Western Europe ‘High point of traditional IR’ in Britain 1970s – collectivist, concern with reform of collective bargaining – 55% of the workforce were trade union members, 75% covered by collective agreements Historical Perspectives: Historical Perspectives Event-driven Government change Technological change Demographic change Management change Changes in ownership and organisation Unique events and conditions - linear Structure-driven Economic trends Political trends Changes to social institutions Regular, patterned, repetitive - circular Historical Perspectives: Historical Perspectives In practice history reveals patterns of both change and continuity Change may be abrupt but may still be affected by path-dependency Short-term and long-term change Significance in employee relations for how history is experienced, how it shapes the present – often casts a long shadow History in culture – stories, rituals, rules Employee relations today the outcome of past struggles – defeats, victories Importance of history in custom & practice Traditional Concerns of IR: Traditional Concerns of IR Theoretical origins of industrial relations/employee relations focused on order and stability within a developed ‘system’ Influence of US writers, particularly Dunlop (1958) Such a ‘system’ in Britain and other western economies based on collective bargaining – seen as democratic and most effective form of regulation Copied by many other countries Outputs of the system – earnings, productivity and minimising of conflict The Industrial Relations ‘System’: The Industrial Relations ‘System’ Dunlop pioneering work in 1950s developed from ‘social systems’ thinking of Talcott Parsons IR system a sub-set of economic system and largely self-contained and self-regulating Focus was national systems, so different countries developed own systems guided by governments Criticisms that concern with stability and ‘order’ ignored very real conflicts that could arise within systems John Dunlop and an Industrial Relations System: John Dunlop and an Industrial Relations System CONTEXTS ACTORS PROCESSES OUTCOMES Economic Employers Managerial Reg Pay and Social Managers Collective Conditions Legal Trade Unions Bargaining Inc Productivity Political Employees Legal Reg. Conflict Techno – Customers* C&P Less Conflict Logical Shareholders* Feedback Shared Ideology Challenges to the ‘system’ - crisis and re-regulation: Challenges to the ‘system’ - crisis and re-regulation Post 1979 ‘Thatcherism’ Public policy – lack of support for old ‘adversarial’ IR system, trade unions, failure of collective bargaining Moves to regulate IR through legal means – restrictive labour law to ‘curb the power of trade unions Re-establishment of managerial prerogative Re-regulation of industrial relations against a backdrop of high unemployment and weakened TU bargaining power Is talk of a system still useful?: Is talk of a system still useful? Can we still talk about ‘national systems’? Often more diversity within as between countries (Marchington 1995) Argued that if we can still talk about a ‘system’ it is now organisation-based – see work of Purcell (1989) Greater diversity in employee relations as managers have sought to re-regulate employment and employment relationships Changing Focus – Managerial agenda: Changing Focus – Managerial agenda Today management-employee relations in Britain more about involvement, engagement, participation and partnership rather than collective bargaining and conflict resolution Employee involvement and high performance work systems (see DTI 2003), employee engagement (CIPD 2006) The role of management choice in shaping employee relations and employee relations strategy Employment Relations and HRM: Employment Relations and HRM HRM and the ‘individualisation’ of employment relations Focus on the individual worker and relationship with management Mainstream HRM – concern with involvement and commitment and relationship to business performance (Guest et al. 2000) Business-model of HR dominant But concern over the costs of both business model and of de-regulation and individualisation and how the employment relationship is regulated – New Labour Also concerns that limited evidence for more involved and engaged workers And Now….: And Now…. Increased concern with both individual and collective aspects of employment Re-focusing on how the employment relationship is regulated – see work of Work Foundation (Coats, Edwards 2006) and of EU ‘flexicurity’ agenda. See also Sisson (2005) Theoretically, this marks a return to a focus on power and authority relations in employment

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