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neutral but are themselves tools of power. 3. Are the rules that govern unionization and collective bargaining neutral?In discussing collective bargaining, textbooks typically frame the role of state as ensuring a balance of power exists between unions and employers by enforcing a neutral set of rules. Many people would agree with this and might even suggest that the law is created and administered by an impartial state that rules in the public interests. The law certainly maintains social order by regulating behaviour and punishing transgressions. Since most people favour order, it can seem almost heretical to question the impartiality of the law. Nevertheless, many do question it, suggesting that those in power use it as a tool to maintain the circumstances that made them powerful in the first place. In the context of employment, this suggests that the law may indeed favour those who own and control means of production (capital) over those who do not (labour). Certainly, the common law rights and obligations provide employers with significant power over workers. This is justified because employers are through to be risking their capital, and thus ought to control their operations. This position is qualified by statutory laws. These laws set limits on the rights of employers, in part because employers have historically exploited and endangered workers when it was profitable for them to do so. Despite the protections it offer, stat law continues to give employers significant power. The law recognized trade unions and required employers to bargain with them, yet these laws continue to allow employers the right to manage their business and their employees as they see fit. Some of the features of these laws appear to reinforce this power by channeling conflict into manageable processes. This analysis suggests that employment law is not neutral. Unit 91. How can the priorities of good HRM practice conflict with organizational priorities?
The purpose of HRM is to assist organization to achieve their objectives. In a capitalist system, organizational objectives often centre on realizing a profit or on minimizing expenditures through controlling labour costs. Historically, HRM has focused on the transactional work of bringing workers into the organization, managing them while present, and then moving them out. Over time, an entire HRM industry has emerged, providing advice about “best practices,” and an occupational identity has arisen among HRM practitioners. The demanding nature or hiring, managing, and firing can often limit how much strategic work HRM practitioners can engage in. The tendency of HR to fix problems also limits the perceived strategic role of HRM within the organization: HRM is oftenthough to be about implementing plans, not shaping them. The bottom-line approach of business limits the degreeto which functions that appear core to the HRM prescription can be resourced or funded. The purpose of this discussion is to note some of the organizational constraints that affect HRM practice.