Employment Relations Theories In Australia Essay


Discuss about the Employment Relations Theories In Australia.



The main aim of this task is to provide a brief outline about the employment relations theories in Australia. The paper explains that how these theories help in resolving issues and conflict at the workplace. These theories play a vital role in each and every organization to address the workplace conflicts. On the other hand, it depicts that how employment relations theories create issues and hurdles in the organization. The University of Sydney has been chosen in the task to explain the conflict at the workplace in Australia.

Employment relations theories and conflict at work

The University of Sydney is an Australian public research university in Sydney, Australia established in 1850. It is one of the leading universities in Australia. The university encompasses 9 faculties and university schools through which it provides doctoral, bachelor and master degrees. HRM plays a major role in the University of Sydney in Australia. Employment relations is one of the most significant and vital parts of the human resource management (Scullion & Collings, 2011). To make an effective and healthy relationship between the employers and employees, everyone needs to understand the concept of employment relations and its significance for the company (Holland, Pyman, Cooper & Teicher, 2011). If the company is unable to understand and evaluate the significance of employment relations and not able to handle the employee and employer relationship successfully then it might affect the power and outcomes of the firm. It will also hinder the profitability and strength of the firm (Barry & Wilkinson, 2011). HRM maintains a link between employees and employers for attaining the long-term objectives and targets (Ravenswood & Markey, 2011).

Employment relation is a major concerned in Australia in order to attain desired goals and objectives. The theories of employment relations include Pluralism, radicalism, and Unitarism. These theories are propounded by Alan Fox in 1966. In unitarism theory, third parties give views as irrelevant to resolve the conflict between employee and employer. This theory comprises of management and employee who are sharing a common goal and objective through their loyalty and trust towards the organization. The organization with this theory may experience misunderstanding and poor communication between the employers and employees. Ultimately, it affects the success and growth of the company (Cairns & Malloch, 2011).

Let’s talk about the pluralism approach focuses on collective bargaining. It comprises different interests of the subgroups that can cause conflict and issues between trade union and management. Pluralism theory is differ from Unitarism in that they start from a set of assumptions, beliefs, and values in the workplace (Dibben, Wood & Klerck, 2011). This theory is good and effective for the organization as it leads to the collective bargaining between the managers and subordinates for unique and effective conflict resolution and handling (Townsend & Wilkinson, 2011).

Lastly, the radicalism theory suggests that employers and employees are bound to have conflict and issues due to the result of capitalism. This approach focuses on the idea of control as most important to the employment relationship and industrial relations. Under this approach, a trade union is used to protect the rights and interests of the employees with maintaining and improving the employee's terms and conditions. The potential of employees could be affected adversely by using this approach (Farr-Wharton, Brunetto & Shacklock, 2011).

Theories of employment relations are not important in Australia because these theories are unable to provide benefits to the companies. The University of Sydney uses pluralism theory to maintain an effective and reciprocal relationship with employees in the workplace. Although, pluralism employment relationship theory encompasses of people with different aspirations, objectives, and interests who distinguish them from each other as it also affects the success and growth of the firm adversely. The pluralism theory creates power imbalance between the competing parties that have varying interest, aspirations and aims. Power imbalance affects the satisfaction level of employees in Australia. As a result, the employees are unable to maintain a good relationship with superior at the workplace. Pluralism approach emphasizes more on the rational, efficient and effective management of issue and conflict within the organization. This theory focuses on rule, regulations, and process to accommodate and manage conflict instead of facts as it appears sophisticated in which unions need to be involved. It is noted that pluralism affects the social stability, concessions, and negotiation. Thus, such emphasizes has the potential outcome in failure to understand proper results and procedures of the difficult workplace. It affects the productivity and efficiency of the employees. Apart from this, it shall be stated that pluralism theory is open minded and indeterminate which creates hurdles and obstacles in the workplace. Also, it creates a causal structural resentment within the organization. On the other hand, due to open-minded characteristic, the supervisors are unable to maintain control over the workers (Knudsen, Busck & Lind, 2011). The most important disadvantage of pluralism approach is that the trade union can only focus on the subordinates that will create inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the collective bargaining process. This may also lead to inefficiency and they just focus their own plans, policies, and procedures for resolving the issues and conflict. The employers are unable to maintain a strong and smooth relationship in the workplace due to pluralism approach. Furthermore, this approach believes that trade union can be the best source of bargaining between the employers and employees. Along with this, external sources also intervene in this approach thus it influences the morale and loyalty of the employees. In addition, the companies think that trade union is the best mediator in this approach. Sometimes, trade union creates hurdles in the workplace. The trade union forces the management to renew the organization policies, plans and strategies time to time as per the needs and requirements of the workers. Furthermore, anti-unionism is growing in employers within the organization (McDowell, 2011).

In Australia, there are various conflict can arise in the University of Sydney due to poor employee relations that may affect the image of the University worldwide. It can also affect the profitability of the University. One of the significant issues in the workplace is poor and ineffective communication. Poor communication leads to conflict in the workplace among the staff. Clear, accurate, timely and concise communication of information and facts will help to ease both the severity and number of conflict. On the other hand, one of the common mistakes made in the Australian workplace is emotions that could influence the decision-making process (Edwards, 2011). In Australia, the minimum wages are set annually by the fair work commission and Australia’s national workplace relations tribunal. Sexual harassment is one of the significant issues that is being dealt by the union in Australia (Gall, Wilkinson & Hurd, 2011). To resolve this issue, employers should make unique policies and processes for the employees. This will help employers and human resource management to create a zero-tolerance culture with reducing the harassment situations. Apart from this, there is discrimination in the University of Sydney among the staff in terms of age, sex and gender (Price, 2011). Along with this, equal pay is not given by the University to employees as it affects the trust and self-respect of the staff. On the other hand, union plays a significant role in employment relations in Australia. Union communicates and organizes workers through delegation of authorities and responsibilities at the workplace. They may involve in the workplace conflicts, enterprise bargaining, and grievances. They help to resolve and handle the issues and obstacles at the workplace. Union put efforts to address and meet the challenges of the future of work. Apart from this, they motivate the workers for doing work effectively and efficiently within the organization. Furthermore, unique and strong culture is maintained by union and employers to encourage workers for handling the conflict in the organization (Kirton, 2011).


The above-mentioned study indicates that employment theories such as Unitarian, Pluralism, and radicalism help in resolving conflicts and issues related to the employee relations. On the other hand, employment relations theories create various issues in the workplace. Due to conflict in the workplace, it is very complex and crucial for the University of Sydney to establish positive employee relations. Therefore, it affects the success and profitability of the University. The University should focus on employment relations theories wisely to increase staff loyalty and enhance their morale in the workplace. Furthermore, it reduces absenteeism rate within the organization.


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