Formative Assessment 1 (40572/21) 7MER Different theories and perspectives on employee relations


The workforce is a critical part of the organisation. Notably, employees require a supportive working environment that is characterised by profound communication and relationship with leadership and management. This ensures the individual is motivated and satisfied with the job. Employers, therefore, need to manage workplace relationships to ensure smooth running of the firm’s functions. Employee relations entail the organisational endeavours on managing the relationships between employees and the employer. Good employee relations are described by fairness, trust, engagement, and commitment (CIPD 2020). Some of the issues that affect employee relations are rewards, work-life balance, and health and safety at the workplace. This formative assessment entails an evaluation of the theories of employee relations.

There are four major theories in employee relations. These include Unitarist, Pluralist, Radical, and Marxist.

Unitarist model: This model details the co-dependency of the employees and employers. To unitarist, the firm is characterised as friendly, integrated, and collaborative. However, organisations do not favour trade unions. Unitarists further believe that conflicts at the workplace are not inevitable, especially between employees and managers. Rather the conflict occurrences are perceived as aberrations in a collaboration that is subject to be cooperative (Abbott, 2006). Both managers and employees are perceived to have similar interests in the organisation’s survival. Therefore, whenever there are conflicts, both the managers and the employees may not allow the challenges to extend to the point that the firm is rendered insolvent. Examples of the sources of divisions and conflicts at the workplace are poor communication, inappropriate promotion and recruitment practices, and deviance of the employees.

Pluralist theory: This model is concerned with the processes and functions of the management and the trade unions. It further strengthens the importance of the collective bargain approach. For individuals acting as pluralists, they find the management and firms that function within the unions as legitimate. The core responsibility of the management is to communicate, interact, persuade, and discuss, instead of control and demand. Pluralists and unitarists differ in their values and assumptions. In pluralism theory, organisations and businesses are complex and constitute various teams. In this theory, the employees and managers constitute distinct groups who function as a factory system and subscribe to varying objectives and values (Abbott, 2006). This theory also considers conflicts as consistent and inevitable. However, these disagreements are the foundation of a healthy organisation, which is led by the workers. To pluralists, there are different sources of authority in the workplace, which result in conflict. For instance, there are trade unions and shop stewards, which benefit the organisation by establishing profound industrial relations. The importance of these trade unions is a fair working place. From experience, the importance of trade unions is centred on protecting the welfare of the employees. An example of a model that reflect on the pluralist theory is the system’s framework, which demonstrates the importance of small inter-related parts as the foundation of the organisational function as a whole.

Radical theory: This model focuses on industrial relations, which are imperative in protecting individuals from major organisation. According to radicals, firms working to earn profits do not regard beyond the legal obligations. Conflict, according to the radical theory, is also inevitable. It is, however, a reflection of the inequality that exists between the employee and the management (Abbott, 2006). The source of the conflict is centred on the employee’s need to gain power and may want to resist exploitation from the management. The management in radical theory has control over labour and is perceived to have high power. Taking an example of employees that need additional wages, radical theory considers the management as powerful, and with the ability to withdraw or support the individual’s queries.

Marxist theory:

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