INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AS A STRATEGY FOR ENHANCING ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE IN NIGERIA
The study of industrial relations has no generally acceptable and agreed definition to the subject matter, no general definition as to the précised meaning of the concept. The reason however is due to the variations as to the fact that the study is a dynamic one constantly evolving.
In any human community, no matter how small, the members must produce goods and services in order to survive – quench thirst, satisfy hunger, provide shelter etc. In doing so, there must be division of labour and specialization of functions, no matter how basic and uncomplicated such might entail. This gives birth to organization of work and workplace. Distribution of work rules in a situation that is characterized by sustenance.
2.2 What is Industrial Relation?
The concept of industrial relations is the harmonization of relationship between the employers and organized workers. In this field, industrial relations cannot be properly analyzed without the contributions and opinions of writers who have attempted to bridge the narrowness to which the discipline has been confined.
Dunlop. J (1958). Industrial relations system, he opined that at any time, industrial relations is regarded as comprised of certain actors, certain contexts and ideology which binds them together, entailing body of rules created to govern actors at the work place and work community.
- A hierarchy of managers and their representatives in supervision
- A hierarchy of non-manager or workers and any spokesman.
- Specialized governmental agencies and specialized agencies created by the first two actors concerning workers, enterprise and the relationship.
In other words, he sees industrial relations as a body of rules and regulations governing the actions of the employers, the employees and the government in the workplace.
Flanders.A (1965) the native of collective bargaining, defines industrial relations as an institution of job regulation through rules and regulations, he wrote in support of the notion opined by Dunlop. J but of the view that he placed too much emphasis on rules relationship within the organization.
Cleggs.H says it is the studies of rules governing employment together with the control by which the rules are made, interpreted and administered. Both Flanders and Cleggs felt Dunlop neglected the formidable role of human behaviors in social interaction. They went further to define industrial relations as the institution of job regulations emphasizing the importance of people an institutions in the making, changing, interpreting and implementing of rules and regulations.
Craig .A. (1975) the framework for the analysis of industrial relations system, reviewed industrial relations as a concept of goals, values, and power conditioned by flow effect from the environmental sub-system. He went further to define it as a system that includes a complex of private and public activities, operating in an environment which is concerned with the allocation of rewards to employees for their services and the conditions under which such services are rendered.
The most recent of all the concepts was that of Hyman Richard (1975) capital and class. He viewed that other approaches and concepts are being deficient in the following ways.
- That others offer a more conservative approach rather than a practical approach to the study of industrial relations. Since they predicted their research on what was obtainable in the capitalist system neglecting the socialist system.
- That they concentrate more on conflict resolution rather than the evolution of the conflict itself.
- That they were guilty of reification, by their emphasis on rules and regulation rather than on the people who make and implement these rules.
He went further to define industrial relations as the process of control over job/work relations. In other works, industrial relations can be defined as the study of rules and regulations pertaining work and wages, the actions and the institutions involved, the conflict that is generated and how it is resolved and the context within which all of theses are achieved.
From the foregoing, industrial relations therefore, can be viewed as the relationship or interactions which occur in any organization be it positive or negative. It talks about relationship that exists between government and non-government, employers and employees, workers and government as well as customers of the organization. In a nut-shell, it emphases on the efficiency and the need to evolve appropriate policies that would minimize conflict and ensure industrial harmony.
Industrial Relations and Productivity in PAN
In any enterprise, whether public or private, profit is primary if not the only. Other objectives include high productivity improving upon the level of production. Management invests their surplus wealth for further production for additional wealth while the employees add in their dispensable physical and mental resources. Both parties then look towards dividend from the returns of the investment. However, the usual intent monopolistic attitude to the detriment of labour, exposes the inherit problems which industrial relations is conceptually designed to control.
Accordingly, a significant study of industrial relations, shows that industries reveals the need for a major change of perspective which will foster industrial harmony and enhance maximum productivity, profits and thus, a proportionate market share of the resultant profit of both the employer (management) and employees (workers). It also involves the harmonization of competing views, inherent in the fundamental clash of power between those in authority and those on whom authority is exercise, from these perspectives industrial relations is simply viewed as the regulator of the relationship between the employers and the organized workers and agencies.
Emergence of Industrial Relations
In the pre-scientific management period (before 1880), workers were completely dominated by their simple economic system into the complex industrial one and the evolution of wage employment around that period gave rise to workers consciousness coupled with other factors that enhanced the demand for share in the economic returns of their productive efficiency. This did not go well with employers and there was frequent conflict between them and employees.
In this trend, Robert Owen, an outstanding pioneer of management opined industrial relations as an instrument for improving working conditions, raise the minimum working age form children, reduced hours of work for employees, providing meals at work place and housing for employees and thus, making the working environment generally attractive.