There are many different approaches and theories regarding industrial relations today and each one of them have different perspective and approach in resolving the conflict at work place. In order to understand and be able to analyze what are the good industrial relations, there is a need first to understand how the industrial relations are actually defined and what do they refer to. As explained by Barnetson, Lesson note 1, Introduction, “it is the relations between the labour and management”. This relations in Canadian capitalist economy includes labor market offer and demands where the“ workers agrees to provide their time and skills (labour) to the employers in exchange of wages and ...view middle of the document...
As long as this division between those two parties is present, the needs of employees to organize in unions to protect or to speak out their interests will exist and therefore a need for good industrial relations.
In order to find the mutual agreements related to wages issues and other work related potential disagreement between employer and employee, three theories of industrial relations are considered in this essay; unitarism, pluralism, and radicalism. They all have different views of workplace relations’ whether it is related to work related conflict, the role of unions or job regulation. The question that we can ask is do any of these theories can be defined as good industrial relations and why.
“Unitarists theory believes that the work organization is held together by common objectives that unite managers and workers” (Barnetson, 2009, Lesson note 6, Unitarism) which means that there is no division and opposition within the organization since all individual (employer and employee) have the same goal towards the success of the company. The conflict is unnatural and abnormal since they believe that the interests of members of the organization converge. However, if the from the conflict occur in the workplace, it is a result of poor management or bad communication, or caused by troublemakers. Their method of resolving the conflict is often based on authority or paternalism.
There is little room in this theory for union involvement. They are rather considered disruptive and “ don’t understand the realities of the market or have an imperfect understanding of economics” (Barnetson, 2009, Lesson note 6, Unitarism and the “New” Industrial relations)
They consider that the employer and employees are free and equal parties and that the interest and goals of all the members of the organisation are unitary and aligned, which if properly managed, will result in the harmonious functioning of the organization (Barnetson, 2009, Lesson note 6, Unitarism). But if not, then what?
In today’s world, every worker has his own opinion about working conditions. Therefore the interpretation by Barnetson, “unitarist theory believes that industrial relations are good when there is an absence of conflict” (Lesson note 6, Conflict Under Unitarism) does not make sense of good industrial relations since the conflict is a part of today’s society and instead avoiding it, it needs to be dealt in proper manner with proper means. However I would like to mention that the strength, which I would see within the unitarist perspective, is the loyalty to the organization and management.
At the same time, this theory is the good theory of industrial relations but only if we look at it from employer perspective where their right to manage is justified. But from employees perspective they have given up their right to negotiate their wages.
I would criticize this theory as a week theory of industrial relations since in my opinion the unequal distribution of power can only result...