Industrial Relations - Industrial Relations Industrial...

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Industrial Relations Industrial relations is a multidisciplinary field that studies the employment relationship. Industrial relations is increasingly being called employment relations or employee relations because of the importance of non-industrial employment relationships; this move is sometimes seen as further broadening of the human resource management trend. To a large degree, most scholars regard trade unionism, collective bargaining and labor-management relations, and the national labor policy and labor law within which they are embedded, as the core subjects of the field. Industrial relations has three faces: science building, problem solving, and ethical. In the science building phase, industrial relations is part of the social sciences , and it seeks to understand the employment relationship and its institutions through high-quality, rigorous research. In this vein, industrial relations scholarship intersects with scholarship in labor economics, industrial sociology, labor and social history, human resource management, political science, law, and other areas. Industrial relations has its roots in the industrial revolution which created the modern employment relationship by spawning free labor markets and large-scale industrial organizations with thousands of wage workers. As society wrestled with these massive economic and social changes, labor problems arose. Low wages, long working hours, monotonous and dangerous work, and abusive supervisory practices led to high employee turnover, violent strikes , and the threat of social instability. Industrial relations scholars have described three major theoretical perspectives or frameworks that contrast in their understanding and analysis of workplace relations. The three views are generally known as unitarism, pluralist and radical . Each offers a particular perception of workplace relations and will therefore interpret such events as workplace conflict, the role of unions and job regulation differently. Pluralist perspective In pluralism, the organization is perceived as being made up of powerful and divergent sub- groups, each with its own legitimate loyalties and with their own set of objectives and leaders. In particular, the two predominant sub-groups in the pluralist perspective are the management and trade unions. Consequently, the role of management would lean less towards enforcing and controlling and more toward persuasion and co-ordination. Trade unions are deemed as legitimate representatives of employees, conflict is dealt by collective bargaining and is viewed not necessarily as a bad thing and, if managed, could in fact be channeled towards evolution and positive change.
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