Exploring Employee Relations

An International Approach


  • Mike Leat, Head of Subject Group (Human Resource Management), Plymouth Business School, UK

Exploring Employee Relations is a straightforward and accessible text that is aimed at students who are taking the subject for the first time. The structure is clear and logical, leading the newcomer through the topics in a way to maximise comprehension. Key issues are highlighted and supported by a small case or example from business. Chapters are structured to enable progressive learning with a logical development of the content. Each chapter ends with a summary of the key points met in the text and these are further reinforced by review and discussion questions, with answers and feedback on the activities included at the end of the book. The chapters are grouped thematically into parts and longer case studies are included that are suitable for assignment and seminar work. This new edition is thoroughly revised with a new international approach which provides new material on the European Union and the role of Government and Demography, bargaining power and securing employee commitment. The text has also been written to cover the new CIPD employee relations syllabus
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Final year undergraduates undertaking Employment/Employee/Industrial Relations, International Employee Relations/ International HRM. CIPD Employee relations courses.


Book information

  • Published: November 2006
  • ISBN: 978-0-7506-6939-9


‘The best feature is the shift towards giving more attention to the influence of the EU, globalization and a deeper look at the nature of the labour market. I would like to see a second edition of the text published. After a fallow period, ER is an expanding area of interest again.’ John Kimberley, University of Central England ‘Generally seems in line with previous text – which was quite student friendly, generally a popular text on the subject. Required reading – one of 2 texts recommended for purchase… Leat or Blyton & Turnbull: Dynamics of Employee Relations’ Ian Roper, Middlesex University ‘Yes – would meet the needs of the module for which I have been using it – a third year undergrad module on Employee Relations which forms part of a number of different Business subject degrees. For use in my post grad teaching (part of the CIPD accredited MSc in HRM) the text would need the additional chapter on handling conflict/industrial action referred to. The increasing number of international students on both UG and PG programmes would make a more generic text (as described) useful. Main text for undergrad ER module – approx 100 students per year. Could also be one of number of recommended texts for PG modules – varying numbers. Have been using the first edition for UG module – was planning to change to a more up to date text.’ Fiona Oldham, Napier University

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Employee relations and the employment relationship.Definitions of employee relationsThe employment relationshipA psychological contract? Interests and expectations.Forms of attachment, compliance and commitment Compliance CommitmentConflict, cooperation and perspectives Unitarism Pluralism Radical/MarxistA legal contract and the relevance of ideologyThe quality of employee relationsAn industrial relations system Processes Criticisms of the Dunlop modelA framework for studying employee relationsChapter summaryChapter 2. The nature of workIntroductionTaylorism - scientific management - FordismDisadvantages of Fordism and the emergence of Post-FordismFlexible Specialisation.The flexible firmOther competitive production strategiesJob re-design and the search for commitment, flexibility and quality Commitment, intrinsic satisfaction, involvement and functional flexibilityJapanization? Quality, involvement and commitment as competitive advantageThe quality circleTeam WorkingTotal Quality Management (TQM)Just-in-Time (JIT)Incidence and impact of the new production strategies [en] perceptions and ConclusionsChapter summary.Chapter 3 Globalization, multinational corporations and employee relations.IntroductionGlobalizationMultinational corporations Definition Scale and nature of multinational activity and FDI FDI advantages and disadvantages MNC approaches to the management of employee relations MNCs and the trade unionsInternational trade union organization Global organizations The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)International regulation and control of MNC activities The International Labour Organization (ILO)Chapter summary.Chapter 4 The European UnionIntroductionHistory and membership of the EUInstitutions The Commission. The Council of the European Union The Parliament.The social partnersLegislative formsDecision making processesSubsidiaritySocial Policy -The social dimensionThe Social Charter.Different traditions and systems.Social Policy – The Treaties.Competence.Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the UnionMain initiativesEmployee participationCollective Redundancies The Transfers of Undertakings.The European Works Council Directive 94/45/ECInformation and Consultation at a National Level.Council Directive 2001/86/EC - Statute for a European Company. Financial participationThe Organisation of working time.EqualityArticle 13 Directives.Genuine Occupational Requirements and other exceptions.Positive action.Directive 97/81/EC on Part-Time Work . Directive 1999/70/EC on Fixed term work Directive on Parental Leave (96/34). :Equal Pay.The Europeanisation of social protection and employee relations.Chapter summary. Chapter 5 The Role of Government.IntroductionIdeologies and political approachesLiberalism. CorporatismGovernment and the economy.Keynesian approaches.Monetarism.The UKGovernment as legislator and the legal context.The legislative context in the UK.The Individual Employment relationship.Trades unions and collective processes. Trade unions.Trade union members.Information and consultation.Industrial action. The law on Discrimination and Equality.Government as employer. The UK.Pre 1979.Post 1979The state and dispute resolution.ACAS Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration ServiceChapter summary. Chapter 6. Demography, labour force and market characteristics and trends.IntroductionDemographyLabour force participation By gender Age groupPart-time workUnemployment By gender Age groupLong-term unemploymentEmployment by SectorFactors influencing Female Participation Labour force participation and unemployment by educational attainment.Chapter summary.Chapter 7 Trade unionsIntroductionDefinitionsWhy trade unions and why do people join?The objectives of trade unions Factors influencing objectives/ orientationTrade union structureInternal government and democracy Trade union membership Problems of measurement Reasons for variationsTrade union recognitionChallenges and responsesChapter summaryChapter 8 Managing employee relations.IntroductionHRM –What is it?HRM and implications for employee relationsManagement’s objectivesManagerial style(s)Criticisms and developmentsManaging with or without unions?Employee Involvement and the pursuit of employee commitment.Chapter summaryChapter 9 Employee relations processes.IntroductionEmployee participation Forms and paradigms. Continuum of participation Which decisions?Collective bargaining Scope LevelJoint consultationBargaining power.Chapter summaryChapter 10 Employee relations procedures.IntroductionProcedures - what are they and why have them?Disciplinary procedures RulesProcedure Issues and considerations Stages and warnings, number and type RecordsDisciplinary Procedures and the law in the UKGrievance procedures and handling Definitions Issues and considerations Subject matter coverage/jurisdiction of the procedure Information and representation Stages Time limitsGrievance handling Negotiation The hearing/interview RecordsGrievance procedures and the law in the UKChapter summary.Chapter 11 Current issues and future trends.ion and participation; Employment law; Human resource strategy