Management of Industrial Relations

Approaches to Industrial Relations

' Approaches to Industrial Relations ' ' Approaches of Industrial Relations '

Psychological Approach

The psychologists are of the view that the problems of industrial relations are deeply rooted in the perception and the attitude of focal participants. The influence of individual ‘ s perception on his behaviour has been nicely studied by Mason Harie. He studied the behaviour of two different groups, namely, “ Union leaders ” and the “ Executives ” through Thematic Apperception Test. For the test, a photograph of an ordinary middle – aged person served as input, which both the groups were expected to rate.

Both the groups rated the photograph in different manner, i. e., the union leaders referred the person in the photograph as “ Manager ” where the group of “ Executive ” saw “ Union leader ” in the photograph.

Human Relations Approach

Human Relations is the integration of people into a work situation that motivates them to work together productively, cooperatively and with economic, psychological and social satisfaction. Accordingly, the goals of human relations are –

  • To get people to produce ;
  • To cooperate through mutuality of interest ; and
  • To gain satisfaction from their relationships.

The human relations approach highlights certain policies and techniques to improve employee morale, efficiency and job satisfaction. It encourages the small work group to exercise considerable control over its environment and in the process helps to remove a major irritant in labour – management relations.

Sociological Approach

The industry is a social world in miniature and the workshop is in reality, a community made up of various individuals and groups with differing personalities, educational background, family breeding, emotions, likes and dislikes, and a host of other personal factors such as attitudes and behaviour. These differences in individual attitudes and behaviour create problems of conflict and competition among the members of an industrial society.

The problems of industrial relations have been looked upon as one basically concerned with wages, employment conditions, and labour -. Welfare. But in fact sociological aspects of the problem are more important than other one. This largely includes various sociological factors like value system, customs, norms, symbols, attitude and perception of both labour and management that affect the industrial relations in varied ways.

Gandhian Approach

Gandhi ji had immense faith in the goodness of man and believed that many of the evils of the modern world have been brought about by wrong systems and not by wrong individuals. He insisted on recognising each individual worker as a human being and believed in non – violent communism, going so far as to say that “ if communism comes without any violence it would be welcome. ” He laid down certain conditions for a successful strike –

  • The cause of strike must be just and there should be no strike without a grievance,
  • There should be no violence, and ·
  • Non – strikers or “ backlegs ” should never be ill – treated.

Socio – Ethical Approach

Though not much widely accepted but one of the often academically discussed approaches to industrial relations is the socio – ethical approach. This approach holds that industrial relations besides having a sociological base do have same ethical ramifications.

Good industrial relations can be only maintained when both the labour and management realise their moral responsibility in contributing to the said task through mutual cooperation and greatest understanding of each other ‘ s problems.

Dunlop ‘ s Approach

John Dunlop has developed a system approach to industrial relations. This approach is quite helpful in studying the industrial relations in the sense that it focuses on participants in the process, environmental forces and the output. Dunlop defines an industrial relations system in the following way –

“ An industrial relations system at any one time in its development is regarded as comprised of certain actors, certain contexts, an ideology, which binds the industrial relations system together, and a body of rules created to govern the actors at the workplace and work community ”.

Unitary Approach

In unitarism, the organisation is perceived as an integrated and harmonious system viewed as one happy family. A core assumption of unitary approach is that management and staff, and all members of the organisation share the same objectives, interests, and purposes ; thus working together, hand – in hand, towards the shared mutual goals. Furthermore, unitarism has a paternalistic approach where it demands loyalty of all employees. Trade unions are deemed as unnecessary and conflict is perceived as disruptive.

Pluralistic Approach

In pluralism, the organisation is perceived as being made up of powerful and divergent sub – groups – management and trade unions. This approach sees conflicts of interest and disagreement between managers and workers over the distribution of profits as normal and inescapable. Consequently, the role of management would lean less towards enforcing and controlling and more toward persuasion and coordination.

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 channelled towards evolution and positive change. Realistic managers should accept conflict to occur. There is a greater propensity for conflict rather than harmony. They should anticipate and resolve this by securing agreed procedures for settling disputes.

Radical / Marxist Approach

This view of industrial relations is a by – product of a theory of capitalist society and social change. Marx argued that –

  • Weakness and contradiction inherent in the capitalist system would result in revolution and the ascendancy of socialism over capitalism.
  • Capitalism would foster monopolies.
  • Wages ( costs to the capitalist ) would be minimised to a subsistence level.
  • Capitalists and workers would compete / be in contention to win ground and their constant win – lose struggles would be evident.

This perspective focuses on the fundamental division of interest between capital and labour, and sees workplace relations against this background. It is concerned with the structure and nature of society and assumes that the conflict in employment relationship is reflective of the structure of the society. Conflict is therefore seen as inevitable and trade unions are a natural response of workers to their exploitation by capital

About the author


Leave a Comment