The changing nature of employment relations
The title – the Changing Landscape of Employment Relations in Britain was seen as an this change – and others – does raise questions as to the nature of. Walker Shaw (Workers - GR II / United Kingdom) the changing nature of work and employment relationships to inform EU employment policy;. UK and. Main Street. Cambridge, MA , USA. THE CHANGING NATURE The radically altered nature of employment relationships is an outstanding.
Within strategic approaches two further strands might be noted. The first remains centred around macro-strategic issues and the general location of HRM within organizational structures overall — perhaps best summed up by the debate over whether HRM has a seat on the Board. The second strand has been more concerned with the formal inputs that HRM can provide — such as better recruitment and selection procedures or better alignment of reward systems with activity — as a way of providing linkages that are demonstrable and robust.
In the NHS, for example, a major factor in stimulating these closer linkages is the realisation that variability of treatment rates between different hospitals may be as much to do with the management of the clinical personnel as with their access to medical technology.
Thus the health service provides an excellent example of the strategic positioning of HRM and the linkage of its inputs.
The Changing Nature Of Work - Employment and HR - UK
This brings together their respective relationships in the debate over the role of HRM in the health service overall. This has become a popular and widely used phrase to describe a wide range of organisational activity into which HRM is expected to link. However, it has an ambiguity and a potential for use across not only strategy, but also style and outcomes.What is Employee Relations?
If it has a meaning, it is probably best viewed as a general description of the territory that HRM now inhabits, rather than the technically defined and narrower role of personnel management of a quarter of a century ago. Some of the antecedents to this can be traced back through the analysis of personnel as a function and personnel managers as actors within organisational settings.
The idea that style of personnel management or industrial relations can materially affect the operation of the function is deeply rooted in UK analysis, and suggests too that it has proved difficult to change over time, except through profound disturbance or acute threat. In these contexts the reason why UK management has not demonstrated a greater interest in, or success with, strategic approaches to HRM in contrast to the USA is largely attachment to a style that is the product of history and institutions over time, each of which is now an embedded feature of the British business system.
The analysis of HRM in terms of style has also revolved around whether it can be regarded as hard or soft Legge, in its intent. What is probably more at issue than either of these two characterisations is the question of whether they are equally routes to work intensification and greater demands on the employment relationship by the organisation at the expense of the employee. As Legge points out, it is quite feasible that hard HRM variants can contain elements of soft practice, while the criticism that can be made of soft variants is that they can be held to deliver hard outcomes in terms of the tightness of the fit with business strategy that is sought.
A more recent approach to the question of style can be found in the work of Ulrich For Ulrich, there are four possible styles or routes that HRM can take. The first is in what he terms work organisation, which involves the practitioner servicing the needs of the organisation in as efficient a manner as possible, but no more than that. It might be that minimal HRM mistakes will be made, but conducting HRM in this manner will not provide any particular competitive advantage for any one organisation.
The second style is to become the employee champion. While this might be a different role from the maintenance function of work organisation, it still places the practitioner in a servicing role and does not necessarily create a role with added value; the emphasis is still on reducing dysfunctions. In the third mode, that of agent for change, the practitioner becomes the protagonist in active change management that has the capacity for added value, while in the fourth mode of business partner the practitioner becomes a fully contributing member of the management team, who is able to participate in the corporate planning process and bring the expertise of HRM into the equation with the responsibility to demonstrate how HRM can add value and give competitive advantage.
For Ulrich the danger for HRM lies in its inability to move on from work organization and seize the developmental opportunity of becoming the business partner. The impetus for this approach was predominantly American, in particular the work of Arthur, McDuffie and Huselidalthough UK work has also developed in this area, West and Patterson in particular. The unifying theme of these studies is that particular combinations of HRM practices, especially where they are refined and modified, can give quantifiable improvements in organisational performance.
In other words, it took the HRM style element a stage further in order to establish whether there was an output effect that could benefit the firm. His analysis argued that it is when practices are used together, rather than simply in isolation or only for the specific effect of some more than others, that superior performance can be achieved.
Three factors were noted in particular: The marked effect on performance was in the combined impact of all three factors working together.
In the UK the study by West and Patterson indicated that HR practices could account for 19 percent of the variation between firms in changes in profitability and 18 percent of the variation in changes in productivity. Once again, the complementarity of HR practices was held to be significant.
But this is no easy matter to settle conclusively. What is obvious about each of these studies is that they were examining patterns of HR strategies, choices, applications and refinements after their introduction.
We have little information about how all these factors came to be in place in some firms and not in others. For practitioners there is no easy or readily available checklist that can be applied.
For each firm contemplating an output model of HRM there has to be a difficult internal process of selecting and testing the bundle that will work in their own circumstances. The mere application of a group of practices, without some assessment of their interconnectedness, is unlikely to have discernible beneficial outcomes. Claims for the contribution of HRM to enhanced organisational performance have been criticised on a number of grounds.
Richardson and Thompson raise several concerns about the research studies. Furthermore, they suggest that many of the studies ignore other measures of managerial effectiveness and thus risk overstating the impact of HRM.
Whitfield and Poole express doubts over attributions of causality; i. Thus the debate over HRM, whether it is pursued by analysts, academics or practitioners, continues to expand and develop.
So far from reaching the high-water mark and ebbing, HRM as a phenomenon continues to thrive.
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Indeed, the fusion of HRM with business focus, noted above, has ensured that many major organisational changes now intimately involve HRM as part of the equation. These changes provide the background against which human resource management has emerged as the predominant contemporary influence on managing employment relationships. It is now commonplace to describe HRM as a managerially derived and driven set of precepts with both line and HR managers actively involved in its operation.
What is distinctive about the debate, and perhaps explains its capacity to renew itself after each wave of analysis has been assessed and absorbed, is the shift from the broad question of whether HRM exists at all to more focused analyses — for example, whether particular combinations of HRM policies produce better results in output or services so that competitive advantage might accrue to those organisations that adopt them.
Thus HRM continues to provide agendas and prescriptions for debate amongst both practitioners and analysts that are contentious and compelling, and have no settled orthodoxy. Why should this be so? Part of the answer lies in the perspective brought to bear upon HRM: For the purposes of this analysis four broad perspectives are set out here: HRM as a restatement of existing personnel practice It is possible to view this first standpoint as a basic but natural reaction to a new and somewhat threatening reformulation of traditional functions.
There is, perhaps, an understandable scepticism that HRM can, or ever could, live up to the wider claims of its ability to transform the employment relationship so totally that some of the inherent problems of managing a volatile set of employee issues can be resolved more satisfactorily than by approaches that have grown out of the historical development of personnel management.
Throughout the past 15 years this view has remained as a strong reaction to what is seen as the renaming pretensions of HRM. For many practitioners the notion that their roles and functions can be seen in anything other than a highly pragmatic light is no more than wishful thinking: In this sense, HRM might be viewed as no more than another trend in the long line of management prescriptions that have each enjoyed a vogue and then lost favour, while the pragmatic nature of established personnel management has ensured that the operational tasks have been accomplished.
HRM as a new managerial discipline The second perspective contains more diversity and complexity, and incorporates such issues as the philosophies of personnel and industrial relations, the professional desire to present the management of employees as a holistic discipline akin to the inclusive approaches of accounting and marketing, for exampleand the belief that an integrated management approach can be provided by HRM. This would not only unite the differing perspectives of PM and IR but also create a new and broader discipline as a result of the fusion of these traditional elements.
An important outcome of this approach is to view some of these traditional components as now irrelevant or outdated and as dealing with problems that typify past, as opposed to current, practice: This retitling is not designed solely to update an image, although that is important in itself, but is more specifically aimed at expressing the nature of the employment relationship in what are seen as changed circumstances.
Connections at Firm In what has been a rather lacklustre economic recovery one standout success for the UK has been job creation. Self-employment is up by a quarter. Britain's unemployment rate today is one of the lowest in Europe and at the lowest level since There are three quarter of a million job vacancies in the UK today.
Common sense suggests that as unemployment falls, and employers struggle to fill vacancies, wages will rise. This relationship is embodied a simple economic model, the so-called Phillips Curve. Yet today this model, and this way of thinking about wage pressures, no longer seems to work for the UK.
The changing nature of employment relationships and its impact on maintaining a living wage
Two years ago real wages, after inflation, were growing at an annual rate of almost 3. A golden age for jobs has also seen what the Resolution Foundation, a think tank, describes as the slowest period of wage growth since the Napoleonic wars. How can we explain the apparent breakdown in the relationship between unemployment and wages? Four forces seem to be at work. Free movement of people within the EU has expanded the potential supply of labour for UK companies from 32 million UK-based workers to tens of millions of people across Europe.
At the same time higher levels of part-time employment, which now accounts for a quarter of UK jobs, means that more people with existing jobs can work longer hours if needed. Globalisation and technological innovation have led to the loss of many mid-level jobs.
Union membership has declined from around 13 million people in the late s to about six million today, in the process eroding the wage premium associated with union membership.
The composition of the workforce has also shifted away from full time jobs. Pay in these growth areas tends to lag behind equivalent full time occupations.