Corporations are important members of the society as they are responsible for providing substantial input in terms of goods and services as well as adding to the growth of the country as a whole. The employees of a company are the only assets which do not have a monetary figure assigned to them yet the benefit accruing from the continued use of the employees is substantial. In a wide range of industries, the employees are members of trade unions which regulate the way in which organizations hire, fire and deal with employees including workplace conditions and wage rates etc.
It is imperative that the organizations and the unions are aware of their roles and responsibilities because a lag by either one would lead to inefficiencies with respect to corporate functioning which would have a negative impact on the economy. The paper also seeks to explore various strategies which could be implemented by both the management and the unions which would allow them to regulate themselves properly as well as encourage the effective functioning of a relationship between the management and the union.
The Role of Management in an Organization As per the agency principle, the management of the company is charged with the role of managing the affairs of the company in a way which is beneficial to the interests of the shareholders. Therefore, in order fulfill the aforementioned requirement; the management is required to exercise various roles and responsibilities. According to Mintzberg, managers within a company exercise a range of roles which can be broken down into three main categories including: Interpersonal Roles As the name suggests, managers within a company need to be good with interpersonal skills and sharing of ideas and information.
The roles described under this ambit include: i. Figurehead: A manager must be inspirational in his conduct and should have the characteristics of a leader i. e. charismatic and influential so that people are able to relate to him and abide by his instructions (“Mintzberg’s Management,” n. d. ). ii. Leader: Building on the above mentioned concept, managers are to act as leaders in their capacity i. e. the same concept applies to lower level managers and to the executives who set a tone of how the organization will operate in the future (“Mintzberg’s Management,” n. . ). iii. Liaison: A company is not a closed entity i. e. the company constantly has to interact with individuals and entities inside and outside the company; therefore it is the responsibility of the manager to ensure that effective and working relations exist between all major internal and external stakeholders of the company (“Mintzberg’s Management,” n. d. ).
Informational Roles The managers also responsible for ensuring that adequate information is available and is flowing throughout all relevant sections of the organization. i. Monitor: The corporate environment today is constantly evolving largely due to changes like globalization and the ever so strict financial constraints. In such a competitive environment, it is imperative for managers to keep a track of all changes to allow effective strategy formulation. It is also important for managers to seek out patterns in internal performance and report regularly to the concerned individuals for prompt action (Cieslinska, 2007). ii. Disseminator: The managers are required not only to track information but to disseminate the same to all the concerned people in a timely manner (Cieslinska, 2007). ii. Spokesperson: Lastly, it is important for managers to realize that they represent a brand name therefore, it is important for them to act in the same capacity i. e. they should be able to communicate the corporate values and beliefs to the outside world in an effective and influential manner (Cieslinska, 2007).
Decisional Roles Not only is it important for managers to track and communicate information but it is even more important to make proper use of the information to make informed decisions. i. Entrepreneur: Within the employment capacity, it is the job of every manager to manage a certain unit responsible for adding value to the overall corporation. Therefore. it is important for managers to have skills to resolve issues, generate innovative new ideas and assist in the effective implementation of the same (Cieslinska, 2007). ii. Disturbance Handler: It is impossible that an organization would run smoothly indefinitely i. e. there are bound to be obstacles and it is the responsibility of the manager to facilitate effective corporate functioning during these times (Cieslinska, 2007). ii. Resource Allocator: The resources that an organization has access to are always scarce, be it material or labor etc. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the managers to ensure that the resources are allocated efficiently (Cieslinska, 2007). iv. Negotiator: Lastly, based on the information that a manager possesses, it is important for the manager to negotiate favorable deals for the company with both internal and external stakeholders (Cieslinska, 2007).
The Role of a Union in an Organization Since employees are probably the most important asset of the company, trade or labor unions are formed in order to safeguard the interests of the same. The primary reasons why labor unions exist is to ensure that equal opportunities for employment exist throughout the company, that the employees operate in a healthy and safe working environment and that the employees are remunerated fairly for their efforts. Among the various responsibilities of labor unions, some of the important ones are as under: Wages All employees work for money and in return the employer extracts benefits through their services.
It is important for organizations to realize the fact that the wages they pay should be proportional to the value they extract from the employees. It is the responsibility of labor unions to ensure that wage rates are adequate considering the environmental conditions like inflation and the consumer buying power, the time value of money i. e. $1 now will not be equal to $1 after a year; the labor unions today also take account of international trends with respect to labor wages in a particular industry and their negotiations are based on the results of the said analysis (Lacoma).
Adequate Structure While the trade unions fight for the rights of their union members, it is important for the union itself to be structured properly i. e. the individuals who are the decisions makers and negotiators should be from among the workers, should have had an experience with how the industry operates. In addition, these members should be completely impartial from the company i. e. there should not exist any conflict of interest because the existence of the same would lead to decisions being made which would be in the best interests of either the industry or the employees (Lenin, 1922).
A minimum of two (2) strategies/actions an organization can implement to create and maintain a conducive working relationship with unions Employee voice: In order to maintain good relations with unions, it is important that there exists an effective employee voice in the company. The meaning of employee voice in this context is the fact that all decisions made by a company should take into account the interests of the employees. If the companies make an effort from the start, they limit themselves to negative criticism from the union itself and in fact motivate the employees to work for the company.
The main reason behind the implementation of the strategy follows the premise that “prevention is better than remedy” i. e. it would be much more effective if the organizations took initiatives on their own as opposed to responding to claims presented by the unions which might be hostile and might cause a rift between the organization and the unions. It is absolutely imperative that the management maintain trust and confidence with the union so that no animosity exists.
It is important for the management to realize that the unions are highly influential in most industries and therefore it would be in the best interests of the company to act in a manner which is acceptable to the union heads (Lenin, 1922). Labor Management Committees: Another effective strategy which can be implemented by the company is the formation of Labor Management Committees. These committees would contain members from both the management and the labor unions.
The committee would be required to meet on a periodic basis and all issues which are sensitive to either the management or the union would be discussed in the meetings. The findings discussed in the meeting should be documented and communicated to all members concerned within the management as well as within the union. This would promote integration and encourage effective communication between the two groups.
The involvement of labor union members in corporate decision making would also be held in high regard y the employees as they would perceive that the organization actually cares about their needs and wants and as a result considers the observations of the unions regularly (Cain). A minimum of two (2) strategies/actions a union can implement to create and maintain a conducive working relationship with management The above mentioned strategies deal with the initiatives the management can take however it is also important to consider the initiatives which can be implemented by the union itself.
Frequent Appraisals of Union Heads: Within the labor unions there should be regular appraisals and evaluations of the union heads. It is important that this activity is carried out because if the unions are headed by individuals who are corrupt or are involved in collusive arrangements with the management, it would hamper the effective functioning of the union which would not only lead to the loss of confidence of the members on the functioning and credibility of the union, but would also lead to an inefficient employee employer relationship which could be devastating for the entire industry.
New people should be given the opportunity to represent the union and there should be triggers in place within the union to highlight if a potential conflict of interest is likely to take place. The results of these appraisals should be communicated to the management on a timely manner so that there is a unanimously accepted practice that the unions are subject to appraisal and the individuals dealing on behalf of the union are credible and impartial individuals.
Frequent Appraisals of Union Members: Another effective strategy which could be implemented by trade unions is conducting an appraisal of its members working for the company and should put in place measures to combat malpractice and unethical conduct. It is important to note that the policies enacted by the management and the practices put in place by the unions are both directed to achieve a perfect tradeoff between employee efforts and the employee remuneration.
While the unions are concerned with the level and adequacy of remuneration, they should also ensure that the performance of the employees is up to the mark and that they are actually adding value to the organization rather than merely being a liability. This is important because it would help create harmony between unions and the management because the management would perceive that the unions actually investigate instances where the employees are at fault and their malpractices and misconduct are dealt with in a timely and effective anner.
As an extreme resort, the unions might even provide recommendations to the management in case they believe that an employee is not up to the mark to ensure that the skills mix within the company is as per the complexity and requirements of the concerned corporation. Therefore, it can be concluded that the management need to ensure that the voice of the employees is heard especially during strategic planning so that strategies are formulated effectively.
In addition, employers also should formulate committees designed specifically to address the concerns of labor unions so that an effective working relation is created. On the flip side, the labor unions can also seek to establish strategies including conducting appraisals of both the unit heads and the members of the union to ensure that there exists no conflict of interest at the head of the union and that any misconducts by the employees are dealt with a manner which is effective and prohibits future instances.
These strategies can only function properly if the management and the union are aware of their responsibilities. It is important for both parties to realize that they are important members of the corporate world and an effective working relation between the two would help promote harmony at the corporate level which would be in the best interests of the overall economy.
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