Employee relations is an ambiguous term, but one widely used in academia and amongst practitioners. Employee relations as an area of study and practice evolved from industrial relations, and has as its primary focus conflict in the employment relationship, employment and labour law, and unions and collective bargaining. Perhaps for this reason it is sometimes seen as irrelevant in the modern era of globalization. However, management, from line management to chief executives, have often found to their shock that in reality such matters can be crucial.
The module explores the terrain of employee relations, building from the UK to wider OECD and international experience. It examines the historical development of the national employee relations contexts within which organizations operate and the continuing diversity of these national contexts in the face of the apparent pressures of globalization. The module also considers the implications of employee relations contexts for management and for organizational performance, and assesses whether managements may actively deploy partnership approaches to secure collective employee voice without conflict.
As the module develops, students will apply the concepts, frameworks and approaches it introduces to develop their knowledge of a particular national context assigned to them, collecting and critically interpreting evidence from publicly available sources.