Explain and critically evaluate the central argument and methodology in the article by Royle, 1999 ‘Recruiting the Acquiescent Workforce’, Employee Relations, 21:6, 540-55.
McDonald is one of the largest fast food chains in the world. Founded in USA, it has more than 12,000 stores in its hometown and has been expanding spectacularly outside the USA. Despite the great number of its stores around the globe, McDonald is well-known for its uniformity of product (Love, 1995; Ritzer, 1993). This uniformity can be achieved as a result of the Multinational Enterprise (MNE). Nevertheless, as different countries have distinct national legalization and units of operating, it is highly impossible for McDonald to have perfectly the same labour relations and practices across these countries. Understand this matter, Tony Royle, in his article “Recruiting the Acquiescent Workforce” compare UK and German McDonald’s workforce setting. This essay will analyse and critically evaluate this study conducted by Tony Royle as reported in Journal of Employee Relations 1999. The study aimed to identify to what extent McDonald’s standardisation approach conveys the employee relations practices between these 2 differing countries, UK and Germany, with distinct labour market regulations and how does McDonald accommodated limitations in regard to the availability of a certain type of works. The study suggest that there is a dynamic relationship between the national employment regulation and MNE, with MNE may still be constrained by the national regulation as the national regulation is deeply rooted in the national industrial relations. The study focuses on McDonald’s workforce characteristics and the restaurants’ hierarchy. The findings presented in the study are a fraction of a larger study conducted in some European Countries about McDonald’s labour relation practices. They are based on questionnaires, interview, and an observation conducted between 1994 and 1997. Most of the analysis is based on the interview material conducted with McDonald’s management and workers in both countries (Royle, 1999). The use of questionnaires, interview and observations in this study is justifiable seeing that the subjects of interests do not need quantification and would be more appropriately assessed via qualitative study. Despite the fact that a qualitative analysis may has some restrictions such as being more resource intensive, and less objective, it gives researchers with more depth and complexity of the issues (Kvale, 1996). In the article, Royle described that the labour market regulation and practices in both countries are notably dissimilar. Milne (1998) stated that labour market in UK is far regulated compared to other European Countries. Different with UK, German industrial relations system is marked as being “social partnership” (Turner, 1998). The dissimilarities will mean the availability of some types of labour may be constrained, and labour may only be employed in particular conducts. Considering this, it is arguable that the UK does not extensively challenge MNEs in their employee relations practices, while Germany has a highly regulated industrial relations system which gives substantial limitation on the MNEs’ employee relation practices. Compared to UK, Germany has more stringent regulations for the young and disabled people and characterized by strong and well organized industrially based trade unions. O’Reilly and Bothfeld (1998) also indicated that German labour market still applies a more coordinated corporatist style and have a lower numbers of part time jobs. In addition, it is also described that, German business organisations manage with overall lower staffing level compared to UK organisations (ibid.). Royle then analyses how this dissimilarity in the national regulation impacts the job, recruitment, and hierarchy of McDonald in both countries. In terms of number of employees, it is apparent that UK employ relatively more than Germany,...
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