Employment Relationships- Problems and Perspectives
The employment relationship is the heart of any industrial relations system. It is the relationship between the employer and the employee. A successful employment relationship has always been the foundation of any successful business or organisation no matter how big or small. Variety of philosophers and writers of management have written a lot of theories relating to employment relationship. These theories have changed vastly from the classical era to the modern era, addressing issues that have evolved through changes driven by the nature of work, technology, and globalisation. Managers have adapted diverse management styles as the time has passed by which reflect the environment in which work is carried out. In this paper I will be analysing classical and modern theories of employee relationship and various management styles and discussing the different factors that have brought about changes in these theories and styles of management.
Before industrialization, industries and companies had an environment in which the employees were basically ruled on by the employers, submitting themselves to the rules and regulations imposed on them by the management. Interests of the employers always prevailed over the interests of the employees. In the post war era there was little globalisation and technology, which hadn't played a big role in the industrial world. The employees had to bear the entire workload, which included mental and physical labour, on top of that they had minimum support by their managers due to the management styles they had adapted. Compared to the post modernisation era and nowadays there have been vast improvement in the industries. Today a number of forces influence the workplace environment, such as: political systems, legislation, economics, technology, globalisation, labor unions, and professional organisations, which includes remarkable new technological advances, enhanced working places, educated, trained, and experienced managers and employees with superior competence than those of the classical era. Unitary Theory
One of the earliest theories was the Unitary theory that described the work relationship of the employer and the employee as that of a parent and son. Even though it required harmony in the employment relationship, it agreed with the management exercising authority over the employees. Since the employees weren't as educated as needed to be it demanded the employees to be dependent on the policies of the management. Unitary theory was based on an idealised and a fix situation, with management adapting oppressive approaches. If an employee acted against the interest of the management it would most probably cause a conflict, which would hamper unity in the organisation and would put himself at the brink of losing his job. Therefore the Unitary theory was based on an idealised situation and didn't consider any flexibility or changes brought into the industrial world due to environment, technology, and or expansion of business. Pluralist Theory
Theories kept evolving as the size and scope of businesses expanded, taking into consideration technology and the nature of work of the employees. One of the theories that came about was the pluralist theory, which acknowledged the complex situations such as conflict of interest between the management and the employees. It suggested that these kinds of complex situations could only be resolved through the involvement of government. Pluralist theory originated in the UK when the country was going trough cultural and social reforms. Pluralist theory recommended resolving any complex conflicts of interest by negotiation, compromise or agreement. This also brought about the formation of trade unions and other groups that considered the interests of both the management and the labour. Even though the pluralist theory tried giving some kind of rights to the employee to speak out and be...
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