Employment relations are considered to be of paramount importance when it comes to the efficiency and equity of countries and corporations across the globe. In the era of globalization, industrial relations as well as the changing work's nature have had significant implications for the economic prosperity of different countries as well as how workers engage in various forms of employment. Additionally, companies have been in a position to understand the rights of the workers and provide safe and efficient working conditions where higher productivity is achieved (Kalleberg, 2009). Employment relations have led to an increase in employment security, hence contributing to more active citizenship and social participation of citizens. Ultimately, this has led to an improvement in the quality of democratic life because the existence of trade unions as well as other communal organizations have ensured certainty of the labor market. Through international organizations for example International Labor Organization (ILO), different countries have been able to set core principles that guide the labor market, hence fulfilling the aspect of equity across the world. The ILO has come up with policies, principles, and core labor standards that help in conflict reduction, employee loyalty, and productivity in companies.
People get ideas concerning employment relations from different sources such as personal experiences, the media, families, and friends. For example, the social media affects diverse aspects of the relationship between the employers and the employees particularly when it comes to discipline and the recruitment process (Edwards, 2005). Personal experiences also contribute to ideas regarding employment relations such as the need for a pleasant, conducive, and safe workplace. Additionally, friends and families in the workplace advocate for dignity, respect, honesty, open communication, and responsibility, which lead to ideas of effective employment relations. Being involved in the decision-making process, creating a mutually supportive environment, and empowerment further contribute to ideas of better labor relations.
The theory is an important tool when studying employment relations because it puts forward different a viewpoint, or perspective concerning the various aspects of industrial relations. As a result, workers, employers, and companies can get a better experience of the relationship formed, criticize or change circumstances to ensure better outcomes in terms of employee commitment, productivity, and cooperation (Lakhani, Kuruvilla, & Avgar, 2013). Additionally, the theory makes sure that the management assumes of the role of initiating workplace innovation. Theory helps people understand the world by providing ideas and perceptions which can be improved to ensure understanding between different parties as well as comprehend the root cause of major problems that lead to conflicts. An individual with specific theoretical Knowledge is in a position to solve numerous problems related to the workplace because there is a basis for insights, antecedents, and workplace activism.
There exist different theoretical traditions that are used in the study of the employment relationship and theorists assert that they have diverse analytical tools. For example, the unitarist theory emphasizes the interdependency of employers and their employees. According to the unitarists, a company is an integrated, collaborative, and friendly whole that ensure the satisfaction of the parties involved. Since the theoretical approach does not favor the existence of employee unions, its analytical tool is based on the loyalty and bond between the employer and the employee. The pluralist approach emphasizes the representative function of the parties involved through unions where the concept of collective bargaining is reinforced (Lakhani, Kuruvilla, & Avgar, 2013). The analytical tool, in this case, focuses on the level of coordination, communication, and persuasion between the employers and the employees within the management and trade unions. On the other hand, the Marxist approach asserts that capitalism contributes to greed and corruption, hence exposing the employees to suffer as companies make profits. The analytical tool in this approach postulates that corporations would be more effective if employers run them as state organizations and compensation is standardized to promote a non-competitive and cooperative work environment. Therefore, it is evident that each theoretical approach is influenced by different factors proving the claim that there they have diverse analytical factors.
Critics of the various theoretical approaches used in the study of employment relationship lack significant value and hence some are fundamentally irrelevant. For instance, an employment relationship is connected to the broader social, political, and economic developments. However, some of the approaches provide a unilateral view of the concept of labor relations, hence ignoring significant connections that directly impact the relationships (Edwards, 2005). In this case, the western culture believes in investing in its citizens in an inclusive and equal manner. Hence, by adopting specific approaches such as the Marxist approach, it means that the welfare of the employees will be disregarded and corporations would collaborate in setting minimum employment conditions and wages. Additionally, other approaches to employment relationship are obsolete and they do not take into consideration emerging trends in employment and globalization, hence affecting workers in different labor markets. Nevertheless, the pluralist approach is considered to be great value in the modern workplace because it focuses on the needs of all the parties involved through collective bargaining.
a. Terry, Susie, and Li Wen are exposed to three different work situations. Terry works at PastaCo which is a leading national past company as a sales supervisor. He has worked at the company for the past 13 years and has progressed beyond his initial role of being a basic salesperson of promoting pasta products to supermarkets and shops to supervising seven part-time and full-time sales workers. Susie is a human resource (HR) officer at Happy Valley local council and she is supposed to report to the senior human resources manager. Susie is mainly concerned with the recruitment and selection of new employees to join the company although she has been recently assigned a project on absenteeism to undertake. On the other hand, Li Wen worked as a server at the Seaside Restaurant when she was still studying. The job suited her at this time because it was part-time and she could earn a decent amount of money.
b. Terry, Li Wen, and Susie require different skills to complete their assigned roles effectively. For example, Terry has a broader role in his company because he works both as a salesperson and a supervisor. Therefore, he requires basic skills in marketing the various pasta products as well as management and communication skills to deal with the seven part-time and full-time sales staff. Also, Terry needs to understand the concept of industrial relations to make sure that he manages the other staff efficiently. Susie, on the other hand, requires skills related to employee management, communication, and remuneration because she is dealing with the recruitment and selection of new employees. On the absenteeism project, she requires effective record keeping skills that would help in managing the staffing levels and exploring the academic literature on absenteeism. Li Wen requires basic skills in customer service while working at the restaurant. Also, customer management is important to make sure that they are satisfied and the restaurant continues to gain from customer loyalty.
c. The three individuals experience diverse employment relations in their workplaces. In the case of Terry, he is a full-time employee although he has never been associated with any union. However, his wages and working hours have been regulated by the Federal Commercial Sales Award 2010. Terry has worked at the company for a long time and the idea of the unions and awards has never bothered him because the company has treated him well. The introduction of individual contracts is, however, a major concern because although the wages are above the minimum, there are other clauses relating to working hours that are contentious. Susie, on the other hand, faces different employment relations situations in her workplace. For instance, she is supposed to handle the welfare of the employees to ensure their productivity and commitment in the workplace. Issues related to absenteeism and payrolls are also significant in Susie's case. Li Wen encounters issues related to remuneration, labor unions, and employment contracts. In her case, one of the employees who is employed on a full-time basis is involved in an accident although due to the arrangement with the company, he is not under the WorkCover.
d. The three employees work under different conditions and get different wages. Terry's working conditions seem to be nearly perfect because he is treated well by the company and gets decent pay, which matches his efforts. However, since the introduction of the individual contracts, things have changed and Terry is no longer motivated working at the company as he used to earlier. Many employees have decided to move to rival companies with better remuneration strategies and where they are allowed to join unions. In the case of Susie, absenteeism is a key problem which makes some of the employees to be overworked to meet production demands. All employees have the right to use their sick leaves in full although it has emerged that there are strong patterns of absences on Mondays and Fridays. The existence of unions, in this case, ensures that there is a considerable pay for every worker. Lastly, Li Wen is a part-time employee which means that she does not spend much of her time working at the restaurant. The working conditions are conducive because the owner assigns duties and pay in cash. The restaurant does not have a cover for part-time workers which expose them to work-related risks such as injuries (Kalleberg, 2009).
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