Transfer and Adaptation of Management Systems

The author states that when a company takes on a particular mode of employer-employee relations, the choice is often dictated by Purcell’s (1987) "guiding principles" which give due consideration to such factors as the stockholders’ interests, the market conditions in which the company operates, the company’s level of growth, management’s biases and its perceptions of power and conflict. It is believed that personnel management systems are also determined by the different dimensions of organizational ownership, size, strategy, and structure, not to mention past history and market conditions. Based on these influences, the management-labor relations mode that emerges is either the "unitary" or "pluralist" type (Fox, 1966, 1974). The managers inclined to a unitary frame of reference believe that management and employees share a common interest, namely, the survival and growth of the company, and as such should find as aberrant any conflict that may result from the existence of a labor union or any company troublemakers. The pluralist view, on the other hand, recognizes that all stakeholders in the company have legitimate interests that should be met, diverse though they may be. For this reason, the different interest groups, including the unions, are within their rights "to bargain and compete to get a share in the balance of power and to achieve a negotiated order out of diversity (Legge, Karen)."
Individualism and Collectivism. The unitary and pluralist theory of Fox on employee relations resemble Purcell’s concept of individualism and collectivism in many ways, except in the attitude towards unionism and collective bargaining. Individualism and collectivism, as defined, are not opposites but two facets of a managerial belief system concerning employees. The individualist style of management attaches value to the individual and his right to advancement and fulfillment at work. Hence, this leans more on paternalism and eschews the group action characterized by unionism. In a collectivist regime, management recognizes the collective interests and rights of a group of people in the decision-making process, which can best be expressed through a labor union.
There is another, the more radical frame of reference said to be of Marxist origin that looks at society as a jumble of antagonistic class interests. Called "macho management," this theory runs along the same lines of the dog-eat-dog concept in which the weak will be eaten alive by the strong if the former do not watch out. Society, according to this concept, is cleaved by deeply rooted social and political inequalities and is held together as much by coercion as by consent.
Management in this configuration keeps a distance from employees and generally treats them with suspicion. As work inducement, the macho managers try to keep the workers in line with the carrot-and-stick approach.&nbsp.Employee Relations Models. Under the Purcell and Fox frames of reference, there are five different models of management-employee relations: traditionalist, sophisticated-paternalist, consultative, constitutionalist and standard-modern.&nbsp. The traditional style views people as simply a factor of production, as hands to be exploited or a cost&nbsp.to be minimized.