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Employee Relation Assignment: Case Analysis of CabinetCo


Task: Write a well-structured employee relation assignment critically discussing the role of employee relations within CabinetCo.


The current case company examined in this employee relation assignment is CabinetCo that is developed as a family-owned manufacturer as well as an assembler of kitchen units. The company has been seen to expand rapidly in South East Melbourne given the current rate of expansion in the Australian homeware industry. It usually gave an above-average payment to its employees and the company was highly profitable. In 019 a large US-based company bought the company to move into the Australian home ware market and gradually transformed its existing management team with people from the US. The employees in the Company earlier were highly satisfied however the management started to disregard the point of view of the employees and applying their views. They also disregarded employee union or their presentation to be heard by the management and deciding on pay reduction even with the presence of pre-booked orders of the company. There are certain relevant areas relative to ethical approaches that need to be considered in regards to evaluating a management-employee relationship, communication channels being affected with the employees, and ways to campaign for getting better payback in the company.

The theoretical framework of Unitarist, Pluralist, and Radical perspective
In an organization unitarist view is regarded as a team that unites a common goal for achieving the success for the organization. A unique view of each member inthe organization being a part of a team lies within a loyalty structure. This view treats all in the organization as part of a large team (Leonardi, 2012). This reveals that there are no barriers amongst the varied groups as well as departments that could lead to poor communication and hostility that runs counter to concepts of shared values and common goals that do not contribute to the overall goal of the company's success (Ogundele, and Olajide, 2012). Setting common goals and values in an attempt to create as well as maintain order in the organization, and a shared set of values and goals is important to all workers. This is important because the people at the bottom of the organization also feel valued because their values and goals match the values and goals at the top of the organization. This perspective believes that the importance of employee sectional interest is also important, but they are secondary to the overall profitability as well success of the organization (Heery, 2015). It sees states as an external institution that can be integrated into their beliefs.

The idea behind the Pluralist perspective is exactly what the name means to see an organization as comprising of different groups (De Búrca et al., 2012). Organizations see a lot of structure in terms of team, leadership, credibility, and loyalty. Micro-democracy, consisting of sectoral groups with different interests, tries to maintain a certain dynamic balance. The main groups are employees and managers, who are often at the other end of the scale. This is due to issues such as wages, working conditions, bonuses, and working hours, and conflicts are common (Heery, 2016). Diversified workers believe that the interests of employees compete with the interests of the organization, as labor prices and tax levels are always adjusted. Trade unions are seen as useful because they believe that they reflect and address new conflicts between workers and employers and help protect the situation of workers so that their representation is at least considered a legitimate union (Donaghey, and Reinecke, 2018). The concept of pluralism is very different, which believes that conflicts are divisive, not structural, and avoidable and that a pluralistic view of conflict is inherent in relations between workers. They believe this is because of recognizing the differences amongst varied employees as well groups inside the organization (Wilkinson et al., 2014). While combined teams try to divide the organization into teams, divers recognize different groups within the organization and realize that sometimes they can't see them face to face and that their interests can change.

The radical perspective has its historical roots in Marx's theory and has surged in reaction to the shortcomings of labelling as well as functional perspectives. This view looks at the capitalist society, where it can be seen a fundamental division of interest amongst labor and capital by viewing workplace relations against the background (Odhong et al., 2014). This perspective views inequalities within economic as well as power wealth with its basis in the capitalist's economic system. Conflict is hence is seen as being a natural outcome from capitalism, from which trade unions are inevitable and arise as the workers are exploited.

Applying theoretical frameworks to analyse the evolution of the management-employee relationship
With application different view of industrial relations such as the unitary view, pluralist view and radical view seen by organizations. The organization is very organized in terms of team, leadership, credibility, and loyalty. A micro-democracy is made up of factions with different interests, while the management tries to maintain a certain dynamic balance. In this respect, the main groups at the other end of the scale are usually employees and managers. This can be caused by problems such as wages, working conditions, bonuses, and working hours, and conflicts often arise with such problems (Aguinis et al., 2014). The different perspectives of the 20th century include the wide separation of social power and power, the division of wealth, the political division, and the industrial conflict, as well as the recognition and institutionalization of conflicts between the two regions (Bellini et al., 2018). The Pluralist perspective has been seen to form the basis for forming a management-employee relationship.

At the heart of the diversity perspective of industrial relations is the fact that each organization includes groups with its objectives, interests, along with leadership qualities (Fischer, and Riedl, 2017). These objectives as well as interests are often at odds with other groups thatlead to tensions that need to be addressed. Pluralist organizations have a great source of loyalty as well as authority between groups, trade unions, and other interest groups (Midgley et al., 2017). A diverse organizational approach addresses conflicts of interest as well as disagreements between managers and employees regarding sharing situations. From a diversity perspective, the conflict between management and employees is rational and unavoidable, depending on various management roles and personnel teams (Kaufman, 2014). As a result, leadership will focus less on law enforcement and control, and more on conviction and coordination. Thus, trade unions are considered to be legal representatives of employees. Conflicts are resolved through collective bargaining which are not considered necessarily bad and, if resolved, can focus on development and positive change (Kilhoffer et al. 2017). Realistic leaders must accept contradictory measures. Conflict is a general trend, not harmony. From a pluralistic point of view, trade unions are legitimate representative organizations that enable workers to influence management decisions (Ackers, 2014). The diversity view also recognizes that employees are loyal to the organization and do not participate in their leadership and that unions are a legitimate source of that loyalty. Proponents of this theory believe that the interests of its employees compete with those of the organization because labor prices and tax levels are always tight. Trade unions are seen as useful because they are seen as an expression and regulation of new conflicts between workers and employers and also help them to defend workers' positions so that they are considered legitimate, at least on their behalf (Dundon, and Dobbins, 2015). Diversity of opinion on conflicts is very different from that of solidarity, who believes that conflicts are destructive rather than structural and avoidable, and that diversity is that conflicts are inextricably linked to the relationship with workers. They think about it because they recognize the differences amongst varied employees and groups in the organization. When someone tries to sensitize the entire organization in a diverse team to the different groups within the organization and understand that sometimes they do not come face to face, their interests can vary (Ritzén, and Sandström, 2017). The solution to this conflict is that different employees as well as groups do not focus on issues, but on resolving differences also working together leading to the benefit of society. Thus, pluralists try to maintain order by dealing with conflicts, rather than pretending that there is no conflict or refraining from trying to correct conflicts, whether single or Marxist. Diversity sometimes sees conflict as constructive because it refers to things that need to change in the organization, which can mean differences that need to be resolved, hence forming the basis for the management-employee relationship (McClintock, 2014).

The voice communication channels have been affected by different approaches to employee relations at CabinetCo
The company was initially being managed by family management of CabinetCo and later it was taken over by a US-based company. Initially, the approach to employee relation had been a pluralist perspective which had given tremendous importance to the voice of communication channels from employees, also encouraging informal communications. The perspective allowed extensive informal communication amongst the shop-floor employees with that of the management and regular communication amongst the employees and the management by ensuring they met regularly. It enabled managers along with employees to resolve problems quickly (Volkov, and Fomin, 2018). In case problems being not resolved with ease, they used to be sent for formal representation to the forum for further agreements. However, with changes in the management of the company, the pluralist’s perspective changed entirely to a unitary perspective. In this approach towards employee relation, where the emphasis is on cooperation, employee loyalty is heavily dependent upon. As can be observed in the case study, there was present one way of communication that is from the management to the employees, all decisions being singularly taken by the management (Lourenço et al., 2014). Also, the management did not take into consideration the point of view of the employees and did not consider the trade union of the employee into perspective. Predominant employee loyalty emphasizes on managerial applications (Korkut et al., 2017). The absence of employee communication in this perspective is seen to be the underlying factor for employee dissatisfaction and differences with the management, which is perceived generally considered to be irrational. Such conflicts with the organization require to be surprised by coercive means. With this approach, the trade unions are also deemed to be unnecessary as loyalty between the organization and employees is considered to be exclusive and not two sides of the industry. Conflicts thus can easily arise in absence of communication, where they are regarded as disruptive and trade unions are generally denied its presence within the organization.

Overview of approach or campaign for getting the workers’ pay reinstated
In case I was the union, which the employees had approached, then the approach or campaign for getting worker’s pay reinstated would have been to apply a pluralist perspective. My role would be to highlight the benefits of the pluralist perspective and negatives of a unitary approach to the organization. The long-term benefits would outweigh the potential short-term profits or payment of wages that the company would pay to its employees. Hence the company should focus upon keeping its employees satisfied to continue its positive market share. The ongoing role would be to act as a representative for the employees such that their points of view can be easily stated. Adhering to the pluralist approach of communication, the voice of the employees needs to be reinforced and heard by the management in taking any decisions or in implementation of any work procedure for the management. It is necessary that employee’s voice and communication is represented in the management as employees forms a crucial part of the workforce. They can bring about effectiveness in the business and overall profitability in the entire system. With implementation of such systems better industrial relations can be attained. The latest approach applied by the management will not be able to yield much of benefits for the company or for the management whatsoever, resulting in tremendous impacts for the future of the business. Therefore, it becomes crucial to implement the past management system within the organization.

In conclusion, the trade union needs the management to agree on their perspective considering the profitability and positive establishment of the business. The organization had been functional and had been able to grow positively due to the prevalence of the pluralist perspective of the management, with their views being taken into account. However, with the US-based company taking over and applying their unitary perspective in place, the employees are seen to face considerably dissatisfied with their no communication or point of view taken into acceptance. Thus, the trade union needs to extend the views of the employees being their representative such that greater satisfaction can be attained.

Ackers, P., 2014. Rethinking the employment relationship: a neo-pluralist critique of British industrial relations orthodoxy. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(18), pp.2608-2625.

Aguinis, H., Shapiro, D.L., Antonacopoulou, E.P., and Cummings, T.G., 2014. Scholarly impact: A pluralist conceptualization. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 13(4), pp.623-639.

Bellini, A., Burroni, L. and Dorigatti, L., 2018. Industrial Relations and Creative Workers–Country Report: Italy. Work.

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Dundon, T. and Dobbins, T., 2015. Militant partnership: a radical pluralist analysis of workforce dialectics. Work, employment and society, 29(6), pp.912-931.

Fischer, T. and Riedl, R., 2017.Technostress research: A nurturing ground for measurement pluralism?. Communications of the Association for Information systems, 40(1), p.17.

Heery, E., 2015. Frames of reference and worker participation. Finding a voice at work, pp.21-43.

Heery, E., 2016. Framing work: Unitary, pluralist, and critical perspectives in the twenty-first century.Oxford University Press. Kaufman, B.E., 2014. History of the B ritish Industrial Relations Field Reconsidered: Getting from the W ebbs to the New Employment Relations Paradigm. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 52(1), pp.1-31.

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Wilkinson, A., Dundon, T., Donaghey, J. and Freeman, R., 2014. Employee voice: Charting new terrain. The handbook of research on employee voice: Participation and involvement in the workplace, pp.1-16.


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