CIRessay - Industrial relations is a field that evolves...

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Unformatted text preview: Industrial relations is a field that evolves over time, adapting to the different managerial eras. In the Taylorist era for instance, industrial relations were relatively simple, fitting with general managerial theory, and encompassing two opponents: the employers versus the employees. However, the growth of big businesses created a division between employers (employing workers) and managers (managing workers while being also employees) whose interests are sometimes in conflict and whose powers to deal with workplace issues are different. Further, the environment characterised by globalisation in the economic and legislative spheres has recently constrained managerial actions. It raised new issues and challenges that managers and employers cannot handle alone because several more parties are at stake due to their increasing interconnections, and issues need to be tackled within a broader context. Indeed, workplace bullying, work-life imbalance, union involvement in workplace learning and the growth of non-union firms seem to be very separate topics but, even though they are different in their manifestation, they possess some common characteristics; more importantly they may be related to each other to undermine some common and broader challenges faced by managers and employers. This essay will examine the four issues in turn by providing some background information on their causes, manifestation and possible implications from a managerial point of view. The last part will expand on their interrelationships and attempt to define managers and employers role in the contemporary industrial relations. PART 1: THE GROWING ORGANISATIONAL COSTS OF BULLYING The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services definition of bullying is that it is an offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient, whose main features are persistence and continuity (www.acas.org.uk, policy discussion paper p.2). Calls about bullying and harassment to the ACAS helpline in 2004/5 numbered over 45,000 showing an increase in one form or another of bullying (sexual harassment, racial discrimination). As Liefooghe&Davey (2001) highlight, bullying can also be part of an organisations culture and processes since deficiencies in work design, leadership behaviours, and low moral standards are prominent organisational factors in eliciting bullying. Other organisational practices such as revealing statistics or showing publicly bad performance can be viewed as organisational bullying. Managers are also increasingly subject to organisational bullying because of competition for scarce managerial roles (leaner organisations), their enlarged roles and the intensity of change processes. Hence the importance of seeing bullying not only as an interpersonal and psychological problem but rather from an industrial relations perspective with the aim of examining wider organisational practices and impacts on workers...
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CIRessay - Industrial relations is a field that evolves...

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