Definition of Industrial Relations

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The study if industrial relations like some other fields of study present a complex set of definitions of which none is universally agreed as the most appropriate definition. Some authors advocate for the definition of the scope of industrial relations in narrow terms in order to grasp its concepts, while others prefer a broader view of a network of social relationships in the industry. Flanders (1965:10) articulates that the study of industrial relations may be described as a study of institutions of job regulation. Job regulation is defined as the process of controlling job content through the creation of rules. There can be unilateral job regulation, by management or by workers/unions, or joint job regulation through collective…show more content…
Such internal job regulation mentioned earlier, maybe unilateral when management imposes rules without consultation and when workers also make their own rules in their groups. In bi-lateral job regulation management negotiates and agrees with employees. External job regulation is unilateral when union rules through strikes, boycotting at any level that is maybe regional or national level. Bilateral job regulation occurs when multi-employer bargaining takes place with one or more unions. Third part job regulations is when rules are determined by arbitration. Hyman argues that the definition of industrial relations in terms of job regulation is unsatisfactory since it diverts attention from the structure of power and interests, the economic, technological and political dynamics of the labour society and factors which inevitably shape the character of relations between employers and their organisations. Such a definition carries with it a danger of reification that is; it becomes easy to ignore the real active men and women who participate in industrial relations. This notion of regulation also conceals the centrality of power, conflict and instability in the processes of industrial relations. Moreover, it does amount to a scholarly discussion to talk of industrial relations without political influences, economic influences, and social influence, hence industrial relations
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