The paper "Challenges and Opportunities Facing a Unitarist Approach" is an outstanding example of an essay on human resources. It is often argued by management scholars that ‘ the employment relationship entails an inbuilt structured antagonism, in that it is characterized by the potential for conflict as well as for cooperation’ (Storey, 2007:82). In practice, however, several employers and managers implicitly or explicitly disagree and prefer to adhere to a unitarist frame of reference in the development of their employment and HR policies. Thus, if this is the assumption, there are challenges and opportunities which the adoption of a unitarist approach to people management may entail for employers.
In the abstract, the unitarist perspective is based on the fact that all employment units are, or are expected to maintain cohesive as well as harmonious grounds with a summative responsibility to a common goal. In such an approach, there is a single source of authority (manager) (Chidi and Okpala, 2016). Also, cases of conflict do not exist between the employer and the workforce (Leat, 2008). It is implicitly recognized that skilled and firm headship or management is a precondition to the pursuit of organizational effectiveness.
However, a challenge is observed in practice where there are increased chances of giving rise to paternalism and authoritarianism on the part of the owners in their approach to employee relations matters (Wallace, Gunnigle and McMahon, 2004). Authoritarianism may put a little concern or forget all together matters pertaining to the welfare of the workers and infringe on their freedom of identifying with a union. A good example was during the nineteenth century when several employers implemented an antagonistic unitary approach, actively excluding trade unions while recruiting women and children on poor wages from protracted hours in unsanitary working environments (Wallace, Gunnigle and McMahon, 2004). A unitarist perspective to employee management does not allow an employment relationship which embraces collective bargaining.
Instead, it permits individualization of the employment relationship (Wallace, Gunnigle and McMahon, 2004). By individualization, it implies that the employer can consult the workforce on a one-to-one basis. They are also inclined toward performance-based pay as well as discretely negotiated contracts. Such a setting rejects the need for unions (Wallace, Gunnigle and McMahon, 2004).
In the modern business atmosphere, employers will find it challenging to channel effective communication to curb grievance and safety concerns as well as ensure discipline among their workforceThe perspective does not justify an uneven share of power among the providers of labour and employers in the decision-making process since the manager is the sole source of authority (Bingham, 2016). Employers remain solely with power. Therefore, there is no mutuality because in due course the employer can decide individually to terminate the company or auction it to another employer or person and the employees cannot do anything about it.
Also, the inferior position of the workers is evident because, via the contract, the employee submits to the unequal exchange of relationship and defers himself or herself to the power of the company manager. A lousy business relationship is created between the employer and the employees. Bingham (2016) highlights that whereas there is undoubtedly lots of communication in companies today, the majority of it seems to be downward discourse since as stated, the management gives more power and in several instances in the form of directives.
Additionally, most of the organization layouts, particularly in the public area, are conventionally hierarchical, and this hinders communication. As a result, the importance of communication as an instrument for management by a unitarist perspective may be a huge challenge in such organizations. The unitary perspective is based on management orientation which adopts an overall accepted value structure. This is an opportunity in any organization with a managerial ideology that has existed till today for various reasons: managers can legitimize their power by enabling the interests of management and workers as being similar and that managers control in the best interest of the whole company (Bingham, 2016).
For instance, when management decides to entail workers, it can apply the unitary perspective to rationalize its rightfulness to take such actions. This is due to the reasons that it becomes strictly essential at times for management to act speedily on a situation without involving the workers. Managers’ right to manage stresses employers working in the interests of everyone in the company since they know best (Harney, Wilkinson and Dundon, 2017).
At this instance, there is an assurance to the management by confirming that the blame for conflict can be placed with workers rather than administration. It is then possible to project it to the world outside the organization as a way of persuading them that management verdicts and actions are correct and that should any challenges arise then it will be regarded as a misguiding or even subversion. By the unitarist approach, management can assert itself. The unitarist approach is likely to yield more production at diminishing unit costs due to the efficient use of effort (Leat, 2008).
Also, peace is expected to prevail in the organizations, as shown by the effective management of apparent conflict conduct. There is a good chance of good employee relations organizational control as well as minimized or absence alternatives for employee loyalty within the company. An employer, therefore, can achieve the production goals and objectives without worrying much on the turbulence in the organization like conflicts among employees or loyalty breach by employees to the employer (Leat, 2008). ConclusionIn any practice, a unitarist perspective in any organization can be both disadvantageous or beneficial to the employer while managing the workers.
It is possible to give rise to an authoritarianism or paternalism form of management of employees. Also, collective bargaining for a prosperous employment relationship is also denied. There is an unequal distribution of power between employers and the providers of work. In situations where a sudden decision needs to be made to provide a solution, a manager can do so without involving the employees and for the benefit of the entire organization.
Sometimes, such times require such measures for the interest of the company. Another opportunity posed by the application of a unitarist perspective by employers is increased production and operationalized effort and also the open management of conflict conduct in an organization.