Employee Voice

1954 Words Oct 21st, 2008 8 Pages
Employee voice enables workers to effectively communicate their views to management and be actively involved in decision making. Voice arrangements allow employees to express their ideas, raise concerns and help solve problems by influencing workplace decisions and choices. (Gollan, 2006:349; Pymen et al, 2006:543).
The various forms of voice available today in the current industrial relations system include both direct and indirect mechanisms. Indirect mechanisms include unions, non union representative bodies, the media, lawyers and consultative committees (Bryson et al, 2006:445). On the other hand, direct voice can be described as ‘the presence of any two-way communications practices’ (Bryson et al, 2006:445),
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Employees of organisations that do not develop their staff, in ways such as providing them with certain channels of expression, have little motivation to stay (Woodruffe, 2006:3). Voice gives employees the opportunity to generate a sense of purpose and self worth and therefore helps to maintain higher workplace morale. It was emphasised by Cannel (2007), that if employees knowledge and skills are developed and better utilised within an organisation, it can lead to ‘higher valued enterprises and an increasingly knowledge based economy’ – giving employees better opportunities and greater job security.

There are a number of ideologies behind the use of voice mechanisms and how beneficial employee voice is to the employer in manegerial decision making. Some methods of management, such as the Radical or even Pluralist approach, argue that employers have very different objectives and ideologies compared to that of their employees and corresponding union bodies. For example, in regards to profit maximisation, management believe that the decline in union power has lowered the pressure on wage levels, ‘leading to lower production costs and greater profit margins’ (Hammer, 2004:172). Another argument against the implementation of voice mechanisms is that of the inncurred costs compared to the percieved benefits and if implementation of voice mechanisms will be worthwhile. While managemnt see such issues as costs and potential conflict of
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