EXAMINATION OF THE EFFECT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATION PRACTICE ON ORGANIZATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

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ABSTRACT

This study focuses on achieving organizational effectiveness through effective industrial relations. The objectives of the study are: to identify the industrial relations process of the Nigerian public sector; to determine how to improve on the industrial relation’s process of the public sector; to identify the benefits derived from effective industrial relations; and to identify the strategies that could be used to manage industrial relation’s conflicts. The research methodology is descriptive; data were generated through primary and secondary sources. The study approach is based on research questions which have influenced the data generated and pattern of descriptive analysis presented. The researcher analyzed the data collected based on the responses from the distributed questionnaire. The chi-square test and T-test was used to test the hypotheses. The findings from this study revealed that industrial relations process of the Nigerian public sector includes collective bargaining, negotiations, mediation and arbitration; decentralizing collective bargaining and practicing true federalism will improve industrial relations process of the public sector; industrial harmony and organizational effectiveness are attributed to effective industrial relations; and collaboration and compromise can be used to manage industrial relations conflicts.

Based on the findings, the study recommends that the federal legislators should institutionalize a decentralized collective bargaining as a bid to solving the conflicts arising from the national minimum wage; efforts should be made by federal legislators to compel the government to regularly publish its accounts publicly; more industrial courts should be established; the labour laws in Nigeria should be reviewed and updated.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Industrial relations is a multidisciplinary field that studies the employment relationship. Industrial relations is increasingly being called employment relations because of the importance of non-industrial employment relationships. Many outsiders also equate industrial relations to labour relations and believe that industrial relations only studies unionized employment situations, but this is an oversimplification (Ackers, Peter, 2002).

Industrial relations has its roots in the industrial revolution which created the modern employment relationship by spawning free labour markets and large-scale industrial organizations with thousands of wage workers. As society wrestled with these massive economic and social changes, labour problems arose. Low wages, long working hours, monotonous and dangerous work, and abusive supervisory practices led to high employee turnover, violent strikes and the threat of social instability. Intellectually, industrial relations was formed at the end of the 19th century as a middle ground between classical economics and Marxism, with Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb’s Industrial Democracy (1897) being the key intellectual work. Industrial relations thus rejected classical economics.

According to Englama (2001), industrial relations refers to the combination of interactions that take place between the employee and employer in an organization. He believed that the fundamental problem in all organizations, whether business, educational, local or national, was in developing and maintaining a dynamic and harmonious relationship in the workplace. To achieve this, group dynamics, policy making by consultation, diffusion of authority, delegation, vertical and horizontal communication have to be ushered in. In more recent times industrial relations have been influenced by other social sciences such as organizational psychology and behaviour. Traditionally, economics and law were two main influences on industrial relations, which led to a concentration on macro level industrial relations, and therefore on unions, government and collective bargaining. Paradoxically, industrial relations, though dealing with “relation” has until recently largely ignored the social sciences relevant to behaviour and human relations. While labour problems are the result of imperfections in the employment relationship, industrial relations should be seen as the theories and methods which have been developed over time to address and correct these problems, in both the public and private sector of the economy. The essence of good industrial relations lies in the bringing up of good labour relations which gives a forum to understand each other (employer, employee) properly. Creates co- operative thinking and working to achieve the goal of the organization. A good industrial relation increases the morale of employees and encourages them to give their maximum effort. Each thinks of their mutual interest which paves way for introduction of new methods, developments and leading to adoption of modern technology, thereby increasing the industry’s organizational effectiveness in the long run. Good industrial relations increases production, improves quality of work and product and efficiency of workers are increased.

Organizational effectiveness is the measures of how successful organizations achieve their missions through their core strategies. Organizational effectiveness studies are concerned with the unique capabilities that organizations develop to assure that success (McCann, 2004). Industrial relations and organizational effectiveness share a common feature, which is that they are both internalized within the organization. The resulting correlation between the two is that, a good industrial relations system would invariably breed and improve organizational effectiveness, thereby making organizational effectiveness dependent on good industrial relations. Thus, the study focuses on achieving organizational effectiveness through sound industrial relations.