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Ethics of Frames of Reference in Employment Relations

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Employee relations have three frames of reference in contemporary cooperation’s which are unitarist, pluralist and radical perspectives. The role of unions, job regulation and workplace conflict provide a different interpretation (Edwards, 2003). Each perspective has different views on workplace conflict.

According to the unitarist perspective, organization s are peopled by individuals and groups that have common interests and objectives that are integrated (Flanders and Clegg, 1954). The organization is regarded as an integrated and harmonious group of people with one loyalty culture. All employees within the organization share a mutual purpose have a high requirement for the loyalty of all employees. Trade unions are not necessary for the mutual exclusiveness of the loyalty between organization and employees. Management right to manage is legitimate and rational which means that representing the organization and interests of capital are in the single focus of employee loyalty and the sole source of legitimate authority within the organization. It is characterized as one big happy family.

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Co-operation between interests of capital and labor should be normal in this case. Unitarist management tries to persuade their employees that they don’t need a trade union to represent them and management will look after they and management will look after them whom often try to create circumstances at work to reinforce this message. Employee body acts as a single unit with no opposing groups or leaders with members owing allegiance to the own selected leaders only.

Conflict on employee relations is considered pathological and disruptive outcome caused by interpersonal friction and communication breakdown (Kaufman, 2004). The conflict between labor and management is viewed as necessary and avoidable. Some conflicts are inherent in the capitalist system. Conflict is irrational and pathological and if it does occur, management has the legal right to control or manage. This follows the idea of anti-capitalism; conflict and co-operation are shaped by institutional context which suggests that people and politics shape the workplace institutions and relationships. Source 1 and 2 support this notion.

On the contrary of unitarist view, the pluralist view indicates that collective bargaining is the way of tackling conflict. It implies the importance of conflict management and pays much attention to conflict resolution and how to manage conflict. It is made up of individuals and groups with different interests and objectives. There are conflicts in organization s between different groups of employees and management functions or labor and capital. Views employee relation is a place of a corporate unity mirrored in a single focus of loyalty and authority. Managers have to accept the existence of rival sources of attachment and leadership. Rival sources of attachment and leadership need to be accepted by managerial position holder who is entrusted to rule the plural society (Edwards, 1995).

Management is likely to be confronted by a workforce that does not accept its right to manage and owes loyalty to other sources and interests. Collective bargaining is a mechanism and the formation of trade unions is a realistic and rational response on the part of the labor resource since through their collective strength, provide employees with a counter unfettered power of the employer. The absence of collective organization on the part of the workforce leaves it weak and open to exploitation. The organization made up of various sectional groups. Each group has its legal loyalties, goals and leaders. Management and trade unions are two remarkable sectional groups in the pluralistic perspective. Management responsibility entails persuasion and condition, not enforcement and control. Trade unions are acted as lawful delegates of employees. Conflict is inevitable and solved by collective bargaining if managed well can also take place evolution and positive change from the perspective of pluralism (Kaufman, 2004).

Trade unions and employer associations are chief institutions of industrial relations. Their main relationship is through collective bargaining. Procedural rules regulate collective relations between representation organization like trade unions and employer’s associations while substantive rules regulate managerial or market relations between employees and employers.

Pluralists assume a rough equality of bargaining power between the parties and that the outcome will be negotiated order and stability. Management job to manage to resolve conflict via mechanisms that emphasize the achievement of consensus and involve representation from various interests concerned therefore conflict becomes institutionalized. It shows us the importance of trade unions compared to the management of organization is evident in the sources below. This perspective considers that the power between parties with different interests is equal which is opposite to the Marxist/radical perspective.

There is an ideological divide between pluralists and radicals, largely about the nature and extent of the class conflict and power imbalance in society and work. According to the radical perspective, the organization is employing labor do so to exploit it. The purpose of capitalism according to Marxists is to make a surplus profit from the employment of resources in the labor process and it is argued that labor is exploited. Profit is made from employing labor for a price less than the value of its product. This perspective views the industrial organization as microcosms of the wider society and frictions are reflected and present in the organization s. The Marxist perspective is an assumption that power in a capitalist society is weighed in favor of the owners of capital, the means of production and not with the owners and sellers of the labor resource.

Predicts a fundamental and continuing conflict of interest between labor and capital and the conflict is about who should control the labor process and the price of labor. Such conflict is inevitable and unlike the pluralist perspective isn’t amenable to resolution through mechanisms that emphasize compromising and sharing of power. The only means by which this capitalist status quo can be overcome is through revolution and replacement of control by capital which control by labor suggesting the replacement of capitalism with a dictatorship by the proletariat, in the overthrow of the capitalist system. This is shown in the sources 6 and 7 below which represent revolution and reform.

Trade unions are expected to be desirable as the armies of working class in what will end up a class war leading to the creation of a socialist economy. The radical perspective reveals the nature of the capitalist society. Workplace relations are against history and recognize inequalities in power in the employment relationship and in the wider society as a whole. Conflict is perceived as an inevitable result. A natural response regarding workers against capitalist exploitation is seen as trade unions. Management positions would be improved by institutions of joint regulation from the view of Marxism if having the periods of acquiescence because they don’t challenge the proceeding of capitalism (Hyman, 1975). The inevitability of conflict comes from the inequalities of power caused by capitalist exploitation. Different from the unitarist perspective, it gives different reasons for bringing conflict about.

Unitarist tends to be most popular with employers and governments and other interests that have a liberal and individualistic ideology, whereas pluralists tend to be the most common among employee representatives and governments of a liberal collectivist persuasion. The Marxist or radical approach is unpopular. Conflict management is extremely significant for the sustainable development of organization s. People should not only focus on conflict resolution but also pay attention to the influence of other factors.

These frames of reference are very crucial for every organization to establish positive employee relation so as to attract and retain high-quality staff to improve employee productivity to increase employee loyalty, to enhance working morale, to reduce absence rate and to elevate performance.


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