UP:12/11/2012-11:48:17 WM:12/11/2012-11:48:19 M:BE414-5-AU A:12a1 R:1102810 C:2412B3C20A137A45C1C1045F0B3995EAA87D0190
University of Essex
Employee Relations – BE 414
Name: Alexei Leon Student number: 1102810 Word count: 1512
The unitarist approach to management and organization suggests that trades unions are, in Kelly’s (1998; 2005) terms, ‘managers of discontent’. . Discuss
This essay will debate the unitarist perspective by comparing it with three other important UP:12/11/2012-11:48:17 WM:12/11/2012-11:48:19 M:BE414-5-AU A:12a1 R:1102810 C:2412B3C20A137A45C1C1045F0B3995EAA87D0190
employee relations theories: pluralism, radicalism and Kelly`s approach. The argument will expose de differences between the hypothesis aforementioned. It will be argued the role of trade unions within an organisation, the source and types of conflict between the employees and the employers analyzed using different perspectives, and the importance of managers of discontent stated by important authors known for their contribution to the industrial relations theories. The necessity of trade unions is supported by the workers desire ``to promote their common interests in relation to employers, other groups of workers and the state`` (Leisink et al 1996, p.114). For example, the APL1 survey from 1992 highlighted that the members of trade unions point out that the main reason for joining a union is to be a member of an unemployment fund, and it is also an important reason to have one`s interests taken care of and simply because `you ought to be a member`. (Leisink et al 1996, p 114). Trade union membership has diminished since 1979, ``as effects arising from the restructuring of employment and high levels of unemployment decimated the manufacturing heartlands of British unionism``, therefore Special Review Body (SRB) was set up by Trades Union Congress (TUC) in 1987 to examine inter alia the prospects for union recruitment and suggest the means whereby the decline could be reversed. . (Leisink et al 1996, p 153) As reported by Halford Reddish and others, the unitary theory of industrial relations assumes that ``every work organization is an integrated and harmonious whole existing for a common purpose`` and every employee follows without reservations the objectives of the enterprise ( Farnham & Pimlott, 1990 ). Therefore, the conflict of interest between between the investors and their managers is inexistent, and those dedicating their work and job skills Pimlott, 1990). According to Salamon (1987, p26), the unitary approach emphasize the fact that the organisation is a unified group of individuals with only one commitment structure and a set of mutual beliefs, interests and intentions divided up by all members of the organisation. This perspective has been contradicted by various writers, unlike Farnham and Pimlott (1983, p52), 1
( Farnham &
The APL survey (Arbejdsliv og Politik i et Lonmodtagerperspektiv) is part of a major project comprising in a postal questionnaire among a representative sample of members from all unions affiliated with the Danish LO and interviews among a limited number of members. The data in this article are all derived from the survey (the questionnaire) which is reported in Jorgensen, Lassen, Lind and Madsen (1993).
for example, who believe that there is ``no conflict between the interests of those supplying UP:12/11/2012-11:48:17 WM:12/11/2012-11:48:19 M:BE414-5-AU A:12a1 R:1102810 C:2412B3C20A137A45C1C1045F0B3995EAA87D0190
capital to the enterprise and their managerial perspectives, and those contributing their labour``. Salamon (1987) remarks that the presence of conflict is unneeded and infrequent, therefore, the organisational scheme is in basic concordance. Farnham`s and Pimlott`s statement previously quoted has two important implications: first one asserts that the irrational activity is associated with conflict and second one highlights that the competitor of the organisation`s...
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