Pluralism and Neo-Liberalism on a Contemporary Workplace Essay

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer

This essay seeks to assess and clearly discus certain aspects within industrial relation context. Importantly, it looks at the challenges to pluralism frame on industrial relation while also addressing neo-liberalism concept on a contemporary workplace. The latter is considered from the perspective of how it affects the political, social, and economic environment at large.

From these perspectives a real example of workplace changes in manufacturing segment is used to assess how the forces bring about their frictional effects, it is from this that a discussion on the role played by the government to bring harmony in elucidated.

As far as the view of pluralists is concerned Industrial relations take into account a vast array of issues. These arise from within and without a working environment. These are healthy for the parties involved because they are able to associate themselves with it.

Pluralism holds a number of concerns in such an environment that may coincide or contradict other views and perspectives. What comes out is the relevance of these doctrines in making the entire place vibrant and live. This is to realise the expectations of all those concerned or affected in one way or the other (Budd, Gomez and Meltz 2004).

Most market orders need civilization from the context of industrial relations. It is thus paramount for some key and essential aspects involving workers standards of living redressed. Even though, there is need to take into consideration, pluralism has a notion of doing away with such approach (Godard 2005).

This will also take note of a sensible approach in protecting workers who may end up being caught up in arbitrary treatment (Heery et al. 2008). Such consideration should be the cornerstone of ensuring a free working environment.

It should respects both the employer and his employees is instituted and implemented. Importation of due processes forms a rich recipe for any sound and rigid relationship within the context of employment.

Reception of the interests of workers according to the context of pluralists fosters limited adversarial relationship between the management and those employed. These relations forms the basis upon which projected and anticipated growth would be realized. Seriousness in fostering such issues will be an added advantage in achieving the overall goal (Greene 2003).

A challenge involves not taking into consideration possible pressures from the external environment. A firm or business place in most cases will be influenced with permeable forces to influence the relationship between the employees and their employers (Heery et al. 2008).

Anticipation of such forces and adequate conceptualization of the entire processes that can be influential in making the firm unproductive is a major setback (Apeldoorn 2004). Most firms have a permeable wall that allows intrusion of these factors.

These can be adequately dealt with in a manner that all the parties involved are not negatively affected in one way or the other. That is why sexual division of labour is more prone in this respect (Kaufman 2004).

Neutrality on the gender basis is a problem that has persisted and still exists within the context of pluralism. Recognition of gender and equality is factor in ensuring good relation. This category shields important aspects of work life (Heery et al. 2008).

A question that remains contentious is whether sexual delineation is appropriate in distribution of what will eventually end in the pockets and working experience indicators (Keith 2006). This factor has not been adequately brought into light to make most firms appreciate the assumption without much political interferences.

Articulation of this aspect challenges this model of industrial relation in the sense that lack of recognition of gender matters may hinder fair environment for the minority groups. This may not necessarily look at the gender imbalance yet they are the most strategic people who can fight for their rights and help bring change that takes into consideration the majority interests (Latham and Craig 2005).

Pluralists have always maintained their biasness towards law regulation of employer’s behaviours. This is regurgitated in the context of collective representation of the employees. This is also felt in combined regulatory mechanism of employment relations. These aspects form the most important part in any healthy and vibrant work place.

The place should at all time take into account the interest of both the employer and the employee. Whenever one party is given more attention chances are that the other party is liable to be on the receiving end. This will have final influence on the work processes (Wachter 2004). However, it is difficult to ensure this is possible.

The best way of coming into terms of equilibrium will employ the method that ensures needs and demands of the most vulnerable is well articulated (Heery et al. 2008). A challenge comes in when a bigger fish gets more attention than the small fish.

Such an approach will pose the latter into a dangerous zone of being swallowed. Most importantly is formulation of a more critical method that seeks to look at both parties without favour or discrimination (Kaufman 2005). This makes the entire place of work considerable and conducive for attaining its mandate.

Power struggle between the employer and the employees is another challenge that this model is not getting right. Relationship at work place will always embrace a set of legitimate interests. The anticipation is that these sets will be at equilibrium with one another. The employer and the employees in this respect needs to exercise irreducible core of conflicting ideas and ideologies.

However, in most case the imbalance sets in to pave way to the predicaments for the vulnerable group. At all cost the employees will always be on the receiving end in such cases.

This model does recognize the fact that workers have the right to combine and come together and form unions to articulate their demands in their place of work (Wheeler 1994). The union will be meant to assess both individual and legitimate interests of both parties and that of the entire community (Heery et al. 2008).

The need for policies and laws will help shape the behaviour of employers as well as bring into existence the model of collective bargaining between the two parties. Their alternatives to the Marxists are that there should be balance in any viable industrial relation.

Pluralist concerns are built by the fact that this approach make is essential to diversify managerial roles and create more opportunities for both the minority and the majority group within a given work place (Keith 2006).

They also assert that a process shaping a business or firm is brought out by a well defined policy and regulations. Key to this is full participation of the minority groups. This keeps the issues of inequality at bay and makes the entire process a productive one.

Neo-liberalism has a different perspective on how they perceive work place. By the fact that they accept the legitimacy of employees to possess certain privileges and pursue them, they open a wider concept of a viable work place (Heery et al. 2008). They however, have a tendency of cutting short these views because they place it at the mercy of employers.

The main issue in this is their containment by a joint effort of competing market and the managerial hierarchy (Kotz 2010). This concept makes this model a more unfriendly one to the employees because their vulnerability is not accurately taken into consideration (Latham and Craig 2005).

Employers’ gets more privilege at the expense of labour. Such an environment will pose more venom to the vulnerable group because institution of unions is less valuable. This gives them very minimal chances to articulate their work place demands.

Power imbalance within the employment segment becomes a chronic ailment that takes a century to form scar. Such employees will not be better placed to have alternative means to prevent them from over relying on their employers for their survival.

Their routinely calls on withdrawal and weakening of forces and legislative dimensions that seeks to prevent healthy market forces lowers the capacity to adapt to market signals (Wheeler 1994). This has a twofold effect on both the managerial hierarchy and their subjects.

This is true in the sense that the former benefits if the relevant authority implements such calls while the fate of the latter depends on the mechanisms laid in to look into their demands after success. This might also depend on the unions, even though their voices may be under the waters.

They have a believe that the role of the unions is to create inefficiency as well as lower quality in productivity lines. This is because it is believed to impose regulations and rules on the working environment (Kotz 2010).

Their jurisdiction mainly features on their ability to weaken the union’s capability of regulating the market labour. In this respect, neo-liberalism is seen as pro-employers and only majors in promoting their interests without compromising on a neutral ground (Nick et al. 2006).

One can strongly assert that neo-liberalism uses incentives in planning to alleviate principal agent issues while taking into consideration of the shareholders interests (Kotz 2010). This concept makes it impossible for the model to create a unified environment that ensures fairness across all the players (Heery et al. 2008).

Neo-liberalism concepts of a unique work environment are built from their enthusiastic nature for sharing profits and employee share ownership. This makes them develop a hard line in their favour by the virtue of their aftermath gains (Nick et al. 2006). A positive concept is one that not only looks at the interests of those represent but also takes care of public opinion to gain their interest.

This is not true with neo-liberalism because its representation does not spread its tentacles well within a diverse area of jurisdiction as far as equality and equilibrium is concerned (Redman and Wilkinson 2001).

As far as workplace change is concerned, my context will look at changes in a typical place of work in a manufacturing facility that houses a number of processes all unified under one managerial hierarchy.

In this respect all the employees are not allowed to join or form any union or trade movement to articulate for a better working environment, salary increment, and other issues that may affect their health while at work station (Wheeler 1994). In this case the cartel instituted by the neo-liberalism concept makes the employer have the ultimate say as far as entire matters of all employees are concerned.

They therefore, have no time to take into account their special and specific need. From the perspective of neo-liberalism, it is the best way to reduce grievances and conflicts between the employer and the employees.

This is believed to increase output because more time is dedicated on work as per the desire of the employer (Nick et al. 2006). But on the other hand, when this is viewed from the perspective of pluralists more output is realized when the work environment takes care of all those concerned, their needs and desires considered and well articulated.

In this context the employer rights are the cornerstone of day to day activities. Yet despite its inability to recognize bodies that articulate the rights of the vulnerable group, chances are that the anticipated productivity will be a dream that was never realized.

The state would come in these scenarios and bring sanity. This is true when the state regulates labour markets as well as union objectives. It can do these by raising wages and challenging the prerogatives of the managerial team. These trade unions are seen as stumbling blocks by the neo-liberalism unlike their fellow counterparts (pluralists) who believe trade unions are the solutions in any working environment (Wheeler 1994).

One of the employment regulations is to look into the minimal wages paid to employees. The government has a role of ensuring it sets legal framework that take into account a diver array of opinion and desires of both the employer and the employees (Wajcman 2000). This recognition of both parties will streamline the sector and reduce chances of conflicts because environment will set an equal bargaining power.

Recognition of trade unions will be the most balanced diets in achieving this. Policies that make these facts a reality will need to be instituted with all parties represented to avoid favour.

Protection of the weak who are the employees receiving minimal wages, preventing discrimination on the ground of sex and race, and laying down minimal standards of working environment as far as hygiene, conditions, health and safety is concerned (Wajcman 2000).


In conclusion the current world will have no room for neo-liberalism concept of workplace environment. This is because the workplace is really changing and people are calling on one another to be accountable. Articulation of diverse views is more welcomed and makes the society a healthy place to live in.

From this discussion neo-liberalism does not take into account the importance of trade unions in articulation of the rights of employees. Its take on weakening legislative interventions that interferes with market forces makes the workplace unhealthy for equality. This model chocks the employees while taking into keen consideration the desires of their masters.

This is unlike the context of pluralism, which seeks to ensure an equilibrium environment for all those concerned. This is also different because it helps set up trade unions that articulates the desires and needs of all the parties without discrimination.

However, the state has a major role of ensuring a more balance workplace environment by instating policies and regulations. Such policies take into account the interests of all parties. Such an approach calls for an equal bargaining power, recognition of unions and diverse interests of the parties.

Reference List

Apeldoorn, B.V., 2004. Transnational Historical Materialism: The Amsterdam International Political Economy Project. Journal of International Relations and Development, 7(2), pp. 1-32.

Budd, J.W., Gomez, R., and Meltz, N.M., 2004. Why a Balance is Best: The Pluralist IndustrialRelations Paradigm of Balancing Competing Interests. In B.E. Kaufman, ed. 2004. Theoretical Perspectives on Work and the Employment Relationship, Champaign, IL: Industrial Relations Research Association, pp. 195-227.

Godard, J., 2005. Industrial Relations, the Economy, and Society. 3rd ed. Concord, Ontario: Captus Press.

Greene, A.M., 2003. Women and Industrial Relations. In P. Ackers and A. Wilkinson, eds. 2005. Understanding Work and Employment: Industrial Relations in Transition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 305-315.

Heery, E., Bacon, N., Blyton, P. and Fiorito, J., 2008. Introduction; the field of industrial relation. In P. Blyton et al., eds. 2008. The SAGE Handbook of Industrial Relations. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, pp. 1-32.

Kaufman, B.E., 2004. The Global Evolution of Industrial Relations: Events, Ideas, and the IIRA. Geneva: International Labour Office.

Kaufman, B.E., 2005. The Social Welfare Objectives and Ethical Principles of Industrial Relations. In J.W. Budd and J.G. Scoville, eds. 2005. The Ethics of Human Resources and Industrial Relations. Champaign, IL: Labor and Employment Relations Association, pp. 23-59.

Keith, A., 2006. A Review of Employment Relations Theories and Their Application. Problems and Perspectives in Management, 1, pp. 187-206.

Kotz, D.M., 2010. Financialization and Neo-liberalism. In T. Gary & S. McBride, eds. 1992. Relations of Global Power Neoliberal Order and Disorder. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, p. 336.

Latham, G.P. and Craig, P.C., 2005. Work Motivation Theory and Research at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century. Annual Review of Psychology, 56(1), pp. 485–516.

Nick, B., Blyton, P., Fiorito, J. and Heery, E., 2006. Chapter 5 Values, Ideologies, and Frames of Reference in Employment Relations Handbook of Industrial and Employment Relations. Minneapolis: Industrial Relations Center University of Minnesota.

Redman, T. and Wilkinson, A. eds., 2001. Contemporary Human Resource Management. London: Financial Times/Prentice Hall.

Wachter, M.L., 2004. Theories of the Employment Relationship: Choosing Between Norms and Contracts. In B.E. Kaufman, ed. 2002. Theoretical Perspectives on Work and the Employment Relationship. Champaign, IL: Industrial Relations Research Association, pp. 163-193.

Wajcman, J., 2000. Feminism facing industrial relations in Britain. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 38(2), pp. 183–202.

Wheeler, H.N., 1994. Employee Rights as Human Rights. Bulletin of Comparative Labour Relations, 28, pp. 9-18.

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