Industrial Relations (IR): Concept, Scope and Objectives!
( Compiled from various sources for upcoming UPSC APFC Exam )
Concept of IR:
Basically, IR sprouts out of employment relation. Hence, it is broader in meaning and wider in scope. IR is dynamic and developing socio-economic process. As such, there are as many as definitions of IR as the authors on the subject. Some important definitions of IR are produced here.
According to Dale Yoder’, IR is a designation of a whole field of relationship that exists because of the necessary collaboration of men and women in the employment processes of Industry”.
Armstrong has defined IR as “IR is concerned with the systems and procedures used by unions and employers to determine the reward for effort and other conditions of employment, to protect the interests of the employed and their employers and to regulate the ways in which employers treat their employees”
In the opinion of V. B. Singh “Industrial relations are an integral aspect of social relations arising out of employer-employee interaction in modern industries which are regulated by the State in varying degrees, in conjunction with organised social forces and influenced by the existing institutions. This involves a study of the State, the legal system, and the workers’ and employers’ organizations at the institutional level; and of the patterns of industrial organisation (including management), capital structure (including technology), compensation of the labour force, and a study of market forces all at the economic level”.
Encyclopedia Britannica defined IR more elaborately as “The concept of industrial relations has been extended to denote the relations of the state with employers, workers, and other organisations. The subject, therefore, includes individual relations and joint consultation between employers and workers at their places of work, collective relations between employers and trade unions; and the part played by the State in regulating these relations”.
Thus, IR can now safely be defined as a coin having two faces: co- operation and conflict. This relationship undergoes change from thesis to antithesis and then to synthesis. Thus, the relationship starting with co-operation soon changes into conflict and after its resolution again changes into cooperation. This changing process becomes a continuous feature in industrial system and makes IR concept as dynamic and evolving one.
Scope of IR:
Based on above definitions of IR, the scope of IR can easily been delineated as follows:
1. Labour relations, i.e., relations between labour union and management.
2. Employer-employee relations i.e. relations between management and employees.
3. The role of various parties’ viz., employers, employees, and state in maintaining industrial relations.
4. The mechanism of handling conflicts between employers and employees, in case conflicts arise.
The main aspects of industrial relations can be identified as follows:
1. Promotion and development of healthy labour — management relations.
2. Maintenance of industrial peace and avoidance of industrial strife.
3. Development and growth of industrial democracy.
Objectives of IR:
The primary objective of industrial relations is to maintain and develop good and healthy relations between employees and employers or operatives and management. The same is sub- divided into other objectives.
Thus, the objectives of IR are designed to:
1. Establish and foster sound relationship between workers and management by safeguarding their interests.
2. Avoid industrial conflicts and strikes by developing mutuality among the interests of concerned parties.
3. Keep, as far as possible, strikes, lockouts and gheraos at bay by enhancing the economic status of workers.
4. Provide an opportunity to the workers to participate in management and decision making process.
5. Raise productivity in the organisation to curb the employee turnover and absenteeism.
6. Avoid unnecessary interference of the government, as far as possible and practicable, in the matters of relationship between workers and management.
7. Establish and nurse industrial democracy based on labour partnership in the sharing of profits and of managerial decisions.
8. Socialise industrial activity by involving the government participation as an employer.
According to Krikaldy, industrial relations in a country are influenced, to a large extent, by the form of the political government it has.
Therefore, the objectives of industrial relations are likely to change with change in the political government across the countries.
Accordingly, Kirkaldy has identified four objectives of industrial relations as listed below:
1. Improvement of economic conditions of workers.
2. State control over industrial undertakings with a view to regulating production and promoting harmonious industrial relations.
3. Socialisation and rationalisation of industries by making the state itself a major employer.
4. Vesting of a proprietary interest of the workers in the industries in which they are employed.
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