Pluralism - Essay Example

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Today, from many quarters, we come to know that pluralism is a very outdated and never-to-come-again part of industrial relations. It will never shine again the way it did a few decades ago. Pluralism is acceptance of diversity, democracy, many voices, and views; it is against totalitarianism, monism and dualism…
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Download file to see previous pages de Silva, in his article 'Elements of Sound Industrial System', published in International Labour Organisation, ACT/EMP, says "A sound industrial relations system is one in which relationships between management and employees (and their representatives) on the one hand, and between them and the State on the other, are more harmonious and cooperative than conflictual and creates an environment conducive to economic efficiency and the motivation, productivity and development of the employee and generates employee loyalty and mutual trust.1"
Industrial relations were not static, but altered with social, economical and political changes and went through many phases. The first one came under the guise of Communism, initiated by Karl Marx, practised by communist countries and it focussed on totalitarianism, not pluralism. After many decades of absolute success in all communist countries, it spread to other democratic and capitalistic countries, in the form of unions, who could negotiate on behalf of workers, depending on the circumstantial influences.
In his paper 'The Changing Focus of Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management, presented at ILO Workshop on employers' Organisations, in April 1997, Sriyan de Silva says "Industrial relations in countries, sub-regions and regions, have been influenced by a variety of circumstances and actors such as political philosophies, economic imperatives, the role of the State in determining the direction of economic and social development, the influence of unions and the business community, as well as the legacies of colonial governments2."



In non-communist countries, it slowly evolved into pluralism, worker's democracy, according to the prevailing ideologies of the land, as totalitarianism could not survive in free societies. With the collapse of Communism in USSR, totalitarianism anyway came to an end and unions lost their ultimate power. Even in erstwhile communist countries, unions now are practising more of pluralism today, because capitalist countries have won the ideological war, and these countries are trying to walk towards democracy and freedom.


Unions, in their heydays, were not always easy to deal with and all their demands could not be termed as fair and logical. They were more feared than respected. They forced the government intervention on many occasions.

"They had the potential to do serious damage to industry and the economy if the need arose, one reason why the government could not remain aloof from industrial relations, especially later in the period," Aldcroft and Oliver (2000, p.9).



One of the greatest achievements in industries in the last four decades is the introduction of Human Resource Development, which, to some extent, obliterated pluralism by overtaking the union role. S.R. de Silva, in his paper 'Elements of a Sound Industrial Relations System' published in International Labour Publications, reiterates, "The present trend in labour relations and human resource management is to place greater emphasis on employee involvement, harmonious employer - employee relations and mechanisms, and on practices which promote them. One of the important consequences of globalization and intense competition has been the pressure on firms to be flexible3."



After ruling for almost three decades, pluralism and industrial democracy, with the advancement of globalisation and multi national companies, have become quite irrelevant today and this was predicted by ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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