1.1 The first differences between the unitary, pluralistic and radical frame of reference is their view about conflict arises between employees and employers. Unitary theory rejects the basic antagonism between both because this theory insists all the parties might work together for the common goal and shared purpose, so there is no conflict on self-interest. However, pluralistic theory mention conflict is the natural and inevitable issue between employees and employers due to the inherent competing interest. In the view of pluralistic theory, the presence of conflict is because of the imbalance and division between the interest of capital and labour.
Secondly, the power of authority also attaches importance by these theories. For unitary theory, the management team is the only party who hold the authority where the employees do not have any right in decision making and make a statement. In contrast, pluralistic theory says that the power apportions equally between all the interested parties. The radical theory persists the management is the one who holds the higher power because it is the head of decision making.
Besides that, the perspectives about trade union between the theories are different too. A trade union is viewed as intruders in unitary theory because it will complicate the running of management. Pluralistic theory encourages the establishment of a trade union as it believes trade union is the legitimate right of workers to get their benefits and incentives. The radical theory allows the establishment of a trade union but the function of it has been restricted as expressing and mobilizing the conscious only. The trade union exists when the employees start to respond to the capitalism of the organization. (Bla Bla, 2017)
The feature of unitary theory might bring too much priority to the management and the employees only can receipt what their company offers to them. This theory also treats the conflict negatively. The impact of this theory on employee relations in companies is it will be difficult for the management to generate a policy which balances the welfare, interest, and goal of both employers and employees.
Other than unitary theory, the pluralistic theory will cause lack of efficiency in collective bargaining process because this theory is paying more attention to the employees. The government will play a subsidiary role rather than a dominant role during the negotiation between employers and employees.
Last but not least, the impact of radical theory should be the management is the dominant party in the relationship due to the capitalism. The employees are the weaker party because they exchange their effort for the reward.
1.2 The development of trade unions in Singapore can vary from time to time. The most significant trade unions in Singapore around the 1970s is NTUC which establishes for bargaining the welfare of its members. Omnibus unions and house unions also rapidly develop around the 1980s. After the 1982 Amendment to the Trade Union Act, the role of trade unions has been defined as an association of worker which promotes good industrial relations between workers and employers, develop the working condition and raise productivity for the benefit of workmen, employers and the economy of Singapore. (MOM, 2017) This role remains until today. Relevant legislations and acts have been enacted and amended along the time to fit with the current environment and economic situation.
In addition, the labour movement of Singapore is inseparable with People’s Action Party (PAP). Hence, the nature of industrial relations in Singapore nowadays is intimate with trade unions because they are the one who negotiates with democratic socialist PAP and communicates with the party which is hard to deal with.
Trade unionism has faced three main issues. The millennials in Singapore prefer to be a freelancer through finding freelance work on online apps and platforms. The aspirations of employees in Singapore also raise to a higher demand according to the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The new business models such as online courses and virtual currency which running through the internet are hard for trade unions to contact and protect the relevant parties.
The impacts of these issues on the employee relations are shorter employment periods and more frequent job changes. This may lead to the employees face a problem in finding a new job with better benefits. Besides that, the employees are more likely to join associations which offer networking and learning opportunities. Hence, the employees might suffer a loss when the employers use a trick to decrease their welfares and benefits.
1.3 The main players in employee relations is employees, employers, and government. For employees, their main role is to secure better employment policy and get a better status for themselves. The employers are responsible for creating and sustaining employee motivation. Other than that, employers must ensure the commitment from employees to achieve higher levels of efficiency. There is not at all, the government should develop various laws and regulations which must follow strictly in the workplace. The relevant matters included child labour laws, minimum wage act and the amendments in the health and safety act.
There are many issues which will bring different impacts to the employee relations. They are political, economic, social and technology. From the view of the political element, there are a lot of regulations and acts which protect the employees from the exploitation of employers such as Employment Act (Cap 91), Employment Claims Act and Employment (Part-time Employees) Regulations 1996. Trade Disputes Act (Cap 331) and Trade Unions Act (Cap 333) also have been enacted to guide the right of employers from the over-oppression of employees. Hence, the following political elements have helped to balance the relationships and powers between employee relations.
For economic element, the stage of the business cycle in the country will bring a great impact to the employee relations. If the country is in a recession, the high unemployment rate will make the status of employees worst and vice versa. The population’s education and lifestyle choices which are one of the social elements also have affected the employee relations. Most of the Singapore citizens receive higher education and yearn for high-quality lifestyle. Hence, the employer would face a difficulty in deciding the hire and salary of high capacity employees. Lastly, the use of technology nowadays has caused the employers looking for functional and knowledgeable talents whom can operate and deal well with computer and relevant applications.
2.1 There are four types of conflict. First from all is intrapersonal conflict. This is a conflict arises when a person has trouble selecting from among goals. The second conflict is the interpersonal conflict which is a conflict between individuals. For instance, supervisors may face this conflict when they deal with their manager, employee, or customer. The third conflict is the structural conflict which arises from the company structure such as conflict arises between line and staff personnel, and production and marketing departments. The last conflict is strategic conflict. Most of the conflicts stated until now are arising unintentionally when people and groups try to work together. However, sometimes management or an individual intentionally will bring about the conflict to achieve an objective.
The first step a company should take to solve the conflict situation is understanding the situation leading to the conflict because there are different conditions that lead to the rise of conflicts. After that, the management should know the effect of the conflict where it might be either positive or negative to the company. There are different stages of conflict process. The management needs to identify its stage after weighing the effect of the conflict. After understanding all these, the management can start to deal with the conflict. One can assess the different ways of dealing with the conflict and choose the best way according to the situation.
2.2 The first appropriate examples which can use to explain the key feature of employees’ relation is the relationship between female and male employees. The conflicting condition may arise when the male employees are raising their voice against female employees. They might complain continuously about the ineffective allocation of activities. This may cause the negative relationship being created between female and male employees working in the company. Both the employees will not prefer to carry out their activities within given period and overall productivity will be decreased. Furthermore, it can have a direct impact on customers of the company as they cannot be served in an efficient manner.
Another condition would be dissatisfied with the company. Employees might show their dissatisfaction against company if management will not take appropriate steps in relation to the analysed conflicting condition like ineffective allocation of work. This situation will have a negative relationship between both employers and employees. However, undertaking suitable action with this regard will improve the relationship between employees and company. For solving the problem, arbitrator plays a significant role and right resolution can be found easily by keeping in view requirement of both the parties.
2.3 The effectiveness of the procedure which adopted by the company is measured in collective disputes type of conflicting situation. Employees and manager should have a discussion within the company. The male employees express their opinions in where and why they feel the allocation of work is not effective to the managers. The managers can respond by telling the male employees about the reasons behind that decision. This conflict will be solved when the male employees are agreed to the reasons given by managers. If not, this issue will bring to the executive director or HR manager.
Seven-working days will give to the executive director or HR manager in making their decision. In the example, the ineffectiveness of the dispute handling procedure can take place. Collective disputes which generated at the end will present by the employees to the dispute handling team. The entire committee is comprised of effective people, effective capability, and effective solutions. According to this, the procedure taken by the company in the example situation is proved to be effective.
3.1 The negotiation will help to improve the understanding between the employers and the employees. Collective bargaining provides a platform to the both in expressing their opinions and thoughts. A better and deep insight into the problems and aspiration of both parties can promptly voice out. This will develops better understanding between both parties.
Besides that, the negotiation promotes industrial democracy. The participant of the negotiation process included both employers and employees and develop an understanding of the problems. Such participation breeds the democratic process in the company.
There is not at all, it is adjustable to the changing conditions. This is because the dynamic workplace nowadays will cause the changing in employment conditions. This requires changes in organisational processes to match with the changed conditions. The negotiation part in collective bargaining seen to be a better mean to bring changes more companionably.
Lastly, it helps in reaching an effective conclusion. This is because the employees have carried out healthy and formal discussion with top management. It is possible to find an appropriate solution to the problem and it also helps in settlement of disputes that are being faced by the company.
3.2 One of the elements that will contribute to successful negotiation outcomes is the objectivity. We need to know what we really want before the negotiation started. We should work out those purposes through the vigorous attempt. Besides that, the next element is information. Any relevant and come in handy information must be prepared at the early stage of negotiation before the negotiation starts to talk about specific deal or alternatives.
Thirdly, concession also is a useful element must pay attention to succeed a negotiation. Negotiation is a process of bargaining by which agreement is reached between two or more parties. The agreement will not reach immediately due to the contrast contrastive objective of both parties. Concession might take in this situation where the profitability of the outcome will be decided. Last but not least, we should decide which strategy we will use in the negotiation. We also can try to see the negotiation from the opponent side and work out which strategy would bring a successful negotiation outcome.
There are several negotiation strategies which will bring different impact to the employee relations. Ones are compromising. This means the parties in conflict only will get part of what they want rather than in a whole. Both parties might experience a degree of loss but at the level which they are willing to live with. Managers do not take part in determining the middle ground with respect to specific issue being faced by the employers present in the workplace. For instance, managers who adopt collective bargaining type of strategy when facing the collective dispute type of situation will lead to a decline in overall efficiency level.
Other than that, the management can use forcing when ignoring or avoiding are useless to the conditions. This means a person or group with power decides what the outcome will be. The main objective is to accomplish the personal goal at the expense of another. In this type of strategy, the manager gives importance to personal goals rather than focusing on organization one. The result will be employees choose to not take part in the major affairs of the firm. The valuable talents also might be difficult to retain by the company. Hence, the managers suppose to find a win-win situation for all the parties to prevent such situation happens to the company.
4.1 Industrial democracy means the employees will share the responsibilities and authority and making the decision in the workplace. European Union (EU) has influent the industrial democracy in United Kingdom (UK). One of the influences is the legislations which develop by the EU will encourage the competent employees to participate in decision making part. If the entity refuses to follow the legislations, the entity might face strike or lockout by its employees.
Besides that, the partner based relationship is being improved in the industrial democracy of UK due to the influence of EU. The union will work together with the management to achieve the common goal. All the job standard and overall working environment of the workplace should be set by the union to protect its member from any type of harm. This will benefit the companies which follow its guidelines.
Other than that, EU has educated the advantages of involving employees in the decision making process to the management. As a result, positive impact on employees’ performance will be improved such as their contribution to the organization might increase in a significant data. Works councils which included all the representatives from all departments also have been set up to discuss long-term objectives of the business and to suggest strategies for improving the prospects of the business.
If the companies do not want to create the works council, Worker Shareholders and Worker Partners would be an alternative way for the management. Some compensations from shareholding such as share options and saving schemes are example of compensations which will be attractive to the employees. These plans have gained a positive result in the UK because the employees will place themselves in other shoes due to they have a stake in the companies.
4.2 One of the benefits of positive employee engagement is the higher retention and lower turnover. When the employees are glad about the investment of company in employee engagement, the competent employees will be retained by the company and the turnover rates may be lower. As a result, the cost and time-consume by the management to retrain a qualified employee can be saved.
Other than that, the productivity of the employees will increase too. This is because the employees might work harder, faster and stronger. The incentives and motivations may encourage the employees to “going the extra mile” in achieving business success. Hence, the employees might improve their productivity through the initiative action.
Besides that, profitability of company has been increased through the positive employee engagement. The customers’ satisfaction would be improved by the work harder and more quality work of employees. The customers may keep coming back and they also might refer other people to the company. Hence, the profitability will be boost through the returning customers.
One of the methods that can be adopted for gaining employee participation in decision making process in the company is attitude survey. The survey might cover various areas like satisfaction, compensation, adaptability, staff development and interpersonal relations. This method will provide the effectiveness of employees and degree of fairness given between the employees. It also will provide an overall view of the company about the personnel policy.
There is not at all, the company can use quality circle to improve the participation of employees. This way is very suitable for the company which uses “top-down” structure in its management. A group of five to ten people who perform related work will meet regularly to identify, analyse and solve the problems arising in their workplace. Work problems which hidden from managers will be discovered from the discussion of quality circle.
Another method can be used is suggestion scheme. This mean will encourage the employees to provide their unique ideas about specific matters like improvement of current products and services, working conditions, waste management and support processes. The employees would have the opportunity to express their view to the management in improving the operation and efficiency of the company.
The last method can be used is consultation. Most of the company will choose this method because the employees may have the opportunity to express their view to the top management team in the company. This may be motivative to the employees and they will take initiative in favour of company.
4.3 One of the positive impacts of human resource management practices is it will be a good control for conflict resolution. The conflict happens between employees or between employees with the management can be mediated by the human resource managers. They also will help to resolve the incidents like insubordination, bad manner, inappropriate speech, and disrespectful workplace behaviours which may lead to disputes and disciplinary action.
Another positive impact is human resource managers will provide better training and development environment to the employees. Different relevant courses and training programs may be arranged by the managers for the employees who need and get benefit from it. The managers would help the employees to gain additional experience and develop a career track to pursue future opportunities.
Thirdly, human resource management will support the employers in managing employee relations and make the relationship harmony. The managers might be a mediator to solve any discrimination or harassment face by employees. They are responsible to comply with anti-discrimination and harassment laws by helping the employees in legal situations. Any possible litigation between employers and employees also may require the mediation of human resource managers to settle the disagreements.
Human resource management will bring negative impacts to the employee relations too. One of them is the privacy of employee might be offended. All the personal information of employees will be stored in the human resource management system. Although the company will have safety measurement by limit the people who can access to the information, it cannot stop the perfidious people access to the sensitive data. This kind of trouble might embroil the company into litigation and create poor employee relations.
Another negative impact is the loss of subjectivity. Since the human resource managers will list the degrees, certificates, and accomplishments of the employees into the database of the company, this might discourage the supervisors from spending their time to know the employees personally. At the end of the days, the evaluation and promotion of the employees would not be reliable because it is impersonal narrative from the supervisor and the employees may suffer a loss on it.
Lastly, the human resource management practices will result in difficulty in analysis. There are too many data inside the database which will lead to it is hard to do a separate analysis. For instance, if the employers need an analysis about how the compensation their offer impacts the turnover of employees, the employers might accidentally use a wrong data to generate the report and lead to the wrong decision has been made. Consequently, the welfare and interest of employees will be affected and might make the situation worse if a serious mistake is being made.
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