Industrial relations is a field of study that concentrates on employment relationships between management and workers. In fact, it is often referred to as employment relations because non-industrial employment relationships are an important factor. As part of the social sciences, industrial relations attempts to understand relationships throughout industry employment and its institutions. Three perspectives of industrial relations are pluralist, Unitarianism and radical.
Industrial relations stems back to the industrial revolution, when employment relationships created a free labor market and organizations needed many wage workers. Problems arose due to the enormous changes in social and economic relationships. John R. Commons institutionalized the study of industrial relations in the early 1920s---the main concern was avoiding similar labor and employment problems of the industrial revolution. FDR's New Deal created and implemented that strict legislation to protect workers and management
Industry relations, now a scholarly subject, has formed many theories and impacted the complex relationships that form industry standards and practices. Scholars study the diversity in institutional employment and management. They concentrate on power structures, unions, mechanisms that ensure a fair workplace, public policy that affects employment relations ad organizational behavior. Industrial relations consists of principles about works and management, particularly striving for labor as commodity as long as workers are receiving basic human rights.
Factors Affecting Industrial Relations
Employers must be respected by their employees.
It's important to think of a small business as a producer in a market economy. As a producer, you have a need for labor, or employees who make something or provide a service to consumers. The relationships you maintain with your employees will impact your ability to maintain a steady labor force, an essential ingredient for economic stability. It's important to create management and human resources practices that will keep employees happy and feeling like they benefit from working for your business.
The history of industrial relations goes back to when workers felt that employer actions or market conditions caused them to have an unequal share of power in their relationship with their employer. Workers turned to collective bargaining in the public and private sectors to get better wages and working conditions from their employer's representatives. Today, there are many laws ensuring that U.S. workers receive a minimum wage and safe working environments. More labour regulation later decreased the need for collective bargaining.
Another way to look at industrial relations is the impact of the company's human resources practices. These might include low productivity, absenteeism, high employee turnover, low job security, unsatisfactory or unsafe working environments, failure to recognize performance in pay plans, and lack of motivation, according to the International Labour Organisation. Small-business owners can address these problems by updating their HR practices and firing managers who create these problems. They can also address employee motivation, including rolling out more opportunities for training and advancement, pay for performance, performance incentives and worker recognition programs.
You can set up the most research-based HR policies in your firm, but employees will still judge the company by how it feels to work there. Look at how your leadership style affects employees and how your managers manage employees. If there are problems with worker performance among many workers or other indicators such as high turnover or absenteeism, you need to study what's causing those conditions. Start by introducing a new HR goal, such as introducing flexibility and participation into your management model; give managers and workers more authority to decide how to accomplish their goals.
You can use an employee survey to study the sources of conflict or dissatisfaction in employees. They will have a wide range of attitudes about working for you. It's important to determine if they respect you as a leader and care about the company. These are signs of good employee relations and will usually produce better performance. Employees who love the company can often perform well even when faced with tough economic conditions, which may give them a bigger workload and fewer pay increases
In a globalized environment, where low wages abroad continue to drive down wages at home, industrial relations becomes a more vital subject than ever. Improving the means by which management and labor operate together within a specific organization is now a critical subject of discussion. Unions, once strong, have been forced to substantially scale back their activities both in response to globalized competition and increasing integration and economic rationalization at home (see Reference 2). Management must jettison its older adversarial view of organized labor if industrial relations are to progress.