Sourcing and analysing industrial relation information Essay Example

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Sourcing and analyzing industrial relation information1

A review of a refereed journal; Industrial Relations Journal 40:3, pp. 198-214

Title: Non Union employee representation; exploring the riddle of managerial strategy

Author: Peter Butle

Does the title clearly reflect the content of the article?

The title of the article is relevant to the article since the content of the article is about strategies that the management of organizations employ in order to give their employees some kind of representation that is out of the union arrangements. As long as the title brings out the idea of non union representation and the alternative strategy employed by management, it is reflective of the details of the rest of the article since the article is entirely devoted on these two.

Does the abstract fully summarize the article’s arguments and key findings?

The abstract does touch on the arguments and findings the article presents but fails to consider all the major findings and arguments within the article. There are a number of arguments and findings that can be found within the article which are not captured in the abstract. The abstract has been condensed unnecessarily and this has made some important factors to be left out. For example, among the things that could be included are the views of the employees on the council representation which the management seems to prefer over the unions. The author would also have incorporated the findings from other stake holders such as the officials of the unions within the abstract in order for the reader to get a full overview of the situation. It could add more quality if the author touched on the research methods, the companies in case studies and general overview of the findings according to the data collected.

If the article is based on empirical research data are the research methods used adequately explained?

This article is based on empirical research and the research methods used for data collection have been explained satisfactorily except for tiny bits which seem to be conspicuously missing. The article gives the methods of data collection and data analysis that were used. It details the types of interviews carried out and the objects of these interviews. The author specifies that interviews were carried out on managers in the two organizations; Finance CO and Fridge Co. He also gives us the intention of carrying out the interviews and what he wanted to get form the respondents. The period of the research has been given as from September 1999 to February 2002. The documentary data analyzed in the initial research have been given as well. The article also describes the nature and number of interviews carried out and the groups of people that were targeted for interviewing. In the article there is also a mention of the issues on which the interviews were based in each of the organizations where the interviews were carried out respectively. The author also gives the two research questions that the article seeks to answer especially in data collection. In general this gives a clear overview of what the research methods and process looked like. However the author fails to say anything about the methods he has used in analyzing the data obtained through the survey especially the interviews.

Question 6: What advice would you give to the authors to improve the quality of the article?

The article has been written with the intention of explaining the ways that employees are given representation by their managements in cases where union representation is not allowed. The author could do well to give a slightly bigger abstract that could cover all the major issues. He could mention a few other things in the abstract in order to give the reader a full picture of the article before reading it. The abstract could include the general findings that answer the research questions as well as the names of the companies in the case studies, research methods as well as the methods used in analyzing the data. Within the contents of the article he could also have exploited all the sources of data in his research. For example the reader may be interested in getting the views of union officials alongside what has been given as originating from organizational management and employees. This could be provided through the literature analysis of other people’s works or the case study findings. The case studies featured in the research are based on organizations where non union representation for employees is established i.e FinanceCo and FridgeCo. In order to bring out a clear contrast between union representation and non union representation, the author could have had one case study on an organization with union representation. This is critical since readers could want to dig into the genesis of disapproval of unions by the management of certain organizations.

Summarize how the article added to your understanding of the industrial relation issues and why?

This article is a true eye opener to the issues surrounding employee representation and industrial relations in general. The article explains the way union representation for employees is avoided by management and goes ahead to elaborate on the factors contributing to this. Union representation is for the benefit of the employees but managements try to come up with other strategies that are favorable to them but not to the employees. In reading this article, I have been made to understand the objectives behind the formation of non Union Employee representation organizations. Unions are viewed as obstacles to change as well as any independent representation body that is separate from the organization backed council. The short comings of union representation such as partial representation have also come to light. The article makes it clear that the non union representation strategies initiated by the management do have their problems and benefits as well. An example is given of the increase in wages. However the company strategy of non union representation does not also have all the solutions to the problems that the unions fail to address. The strategy does have its shortcomings for example in the area of market participation as well as in other matters of employee representation. This article is a source of information on industrial relations since prior to reading it, it was not clear why the management should try to deny its employees representation through a union and opt for other strategies. Union representation is the common method and has always been believed to be working for many if not all organizations and employees. Finally, the article has exposed the nature of relations between employees and management especially in the area of representation. What comes out is that there exist unresolved issues between these two parties.


Butler P. (2009); Non Union employee representation: exploring the riddle of managerial strategy;
Industrial Relations Journal 40:3 pp 198-214, Blackwell Publishing Limited.