Examination Of The Effect Of Industrial Relation Practices On Organizational Productivity In The Public Sector
The study focuses on achieving organizational effectiveness through sound industrial relations in the Nigerian public sector. The study will cover topics of interests such as definitions and theoretical perspectives of industrial relations, elements and importance of a sound industrial relation system, trade unions and their functions, principles of collective bargaining and decentralizing collective bargain. A total of 134 respondents were selected from the population figure out of which the sample size was determined. The primary source of data collected was mainly the use of structured questionnaire. The data collected will be analyzed using frequency table, percentage and mean score analysis while the nonparametric statistical test (Chi-square) was used to test the formulated hypothesis using SPSS (statistical package for social sciences). The study would also look at the role of the government in industrial relations dispute resolution and the labour reforms in Nigeria.
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 the classical economics (www.wikipedia.org).
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 organization, 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 time 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 industrials relations, and therefore on unions, government and collective bargaining. Paradoxically, industrial relations, though dealing with “relation” has until recently largely ignored the social science 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 public and private sector of the economy.
The essence of good industrial relation lies in the bringing up of good labour relations which gives a forum to understand each other (employer, employee) properly. Creates cooperative 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.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
One major reason for the incessant industrial actions in Nigeria today is due to lack of good salary review policy that would be in line with changes in some macroeconomic factors such as prices of goods and services, and inflation. Prices of goods and services continue to increase everyday while the review of public sector employee’s salaries are only considered years after negotiations and industrial actions. An application of effective industrial relation practices would ensure an established way of reviewing workers salaries in line with changes in the economy.
Over the years, Nigeria has witnessed protests and industrial actions by the public employees through their various labour unions over the non-implementation of agreed policies. Such incidents could be avoided if the government sincerely applies effective industrial relation practices.
Economic reforms and the quest for organizational effectiveness in the public administration, calls for collective bargaining of a good compensation plan/policy which includes better working conditions and motivational incentives in the public sector of Nigeria. Efforts to achieve this had led to protracted industrial actions and low morale of employees in the public sector today.
Another issue affecting the organizational effectiveness of the public sector is governments’ continuous insensitivity and insincerity to policies directly or indirectly affecting the public employees and its lackadaisical approach towards addressing these issues. Thus, the study focuses on achieving organizational effectiveness through effective industrial relations.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The specific objectives of the study include the following:
- 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 identity the benefits derived from effective industrial relations.
- To identify the strategies that could be used to manage industrial relations conflicts.
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions will be addressed in this study;
- What are the industrial relations process of the Nigerian public sector?
- How can the industrial relation’s process of the Nigerian public sector be improved upon?
- What are the benefits obtainable from effective industrial relations?
- What are the strategies that could be used to manage industrial relation’s conflicts?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses are put forward for this study:
- Ho: Industrial relations process in the Nigerian public sector does not include collective bargaining, negotiations, mediation and arbitration.
Hi: Industrial relations process in the Nigerian public sector includes collective bargaining, negotiations, mediation and arbitration.
- Ho: Decentralizing collective bargaining and practicing true Federalism will not improve industrial relations process in the public sector.
Hi: Decentralizing collective bargaining and practicing true Federalism will improve industrial relations process in the public sector.
- Ho: Industrial harmony and organizations effectiveness are not attributed to effective industrial relations.
Hi: Industrial harmony and organizational effectiveness are attributed to effective industrial relations.
- Ho: Collaboration and compromise cannot be used to manage industrial relations conflicts.
Hi: Collaboration and compromise can be used to manage industrial relations conflicts.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study will examine the major issues affecting labour relations with regards to the Nigerian public sector, with focus on the public sector in Enugu State. The research would cover topics of interests such as definitions and theoretical perspectives of industrial relations, elements and importance of a sound industrial relations system, trade unions and their functions, principles of collective bargaining and decentralizing collective bargaining in the public sector. The study would also look at the role of the government in industrial relations dispute resolution and the labour reforms in Nigeria.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
This study has the following constraints.
The researcher does not have sufficient time to carry out this study. There was constraint of time in going to places where data and information relevant to the study could be obtained.
Such an empirical research demands much money for its successful completion. Much money was required to cover transportation costs and materials used for the study.
Attitude of the Respondents
Some of the respondents were unwilling to corporate with the researcher because they felt they would not benefit from the study and equally have the mindset that the secret of the organization will be exposed.
1.8 Significance of the Study
The study is significant to the government as it formulates labour reforms and policies that would be widely accepted and would be of international standards in the country. It would also enable the government promote industrial harmony between the government and its employees. The study will also be significant to the various trade unions in the country as it would educate its members and leaders on the principles and practices of collective bargaining in the public sector.
To a large extent, the study will be of immense benefit to all stakeholders in the public sector, as it would suggest ways on how to address or avoid industrial conflicts.
Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendation
5.2 Summary of Findings
The major findings at the end of this investigation include:
- The industrial relations process of the Nigerian public sector include; collective bargaining, negotiations, mediation and arbitration. Test of hypothesis (1) confirms this 9.8 > 9.4877.
- Decentralizing collective bargaining and practicing true federalism will improve industrial relations process in the public sector. Test of hypothesis (2) confirms this t= -6355.378, P < 0.05.
- Industrial harmony and organizational effectiveness are attributed to effective industrial relations. Test of hypothesis (3) confirms this t= -5436.347, P < 0.05. 4. Collaboration and compromise can be used to manage industrial relations conflicts. Test of hypothesis (4) confirms this 9.58 > 9.4877.
Based on the findings, the researcher concludes that effective industrial relations provide a good strategy in achieving organizational effectiveness. Industrial relations in a general sense, is used to describe the formal relationships between employers and trade unions or other collective groupings of employees, together with the institutional arrangements that arise from these relationships. Industrial relations and organizational effectiveness are both related, since their successes both depends on how well you manage the relationships within and outside the organization.
From the above findings, the researcher wishes to make the following recommendations.
- The federal legislators should bring into consideration the issue of institutionalizing 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 federal government and all state governments to regularly publish its account publicly which would in turn serve as a yardstick during wage negotiations.
- Employees, management and labour unions should be regularly re-orientated to be more collaborative and ready to compromise during collective bargaining and negotiations.
- More industrial courts should be established that would be headed by independent judges whom are to be selected by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
- The Labour Act, Chapter 198, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 which oversees the regulations guiding the Nigerian Industrial relations, are due for amendment and review, to be in line with the International Labour Organization (ILO) standards.
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