Classes Weeks 4 and 5
The influence of contexts on the nature and conduct of employee
The nest page outlines a diagrammatic representation of the Dunlop framework
together with the main areas we wish to cover in the Classes
Please make sure that you set aside some time to consider the questions overleaf
and produce some answers ready for a discussion of these in the class.
Theses sessions are designed to help deepen your understanding of the wider
contexts of employee relations. They also provide essential preparation for the
first assignment whichever of the two questions you decide to answer.
Dunlop (1958) Industrial (Employee) Relations System
CONTEXTS ACTORS PROCESSES OUTCOMES
Economic Employers Managerial Reg Pay and
Social Managers Collective Conditions
Legal Trade Unions Bargaining Inc Productivity
Political Employees Legal Reg. Conflict
Techno – Customers* Custom & Practice Less Conflict
As a framework for identifying and analysing the impact of changes in the external
contexts on (a) the actors, (b) the processes and (c) the outcomes of an industrial
relations system, Dunlop offers a helpful guide through what can be a very
complicated set of issues. Like any framework it has its problems and is deeply
rooted in a pluralist view of employee relations.
The classes in Weeks 4 and 5 are devoted to an analysis and assessment of the key
factors influencing the development of contemporary employee relations in the UK
economy and to get you to consider how these may be affecting other economies.
The class will focus on the PESTLE framework with the inclusion of (H)istorical
influences and will permit the application of Dunlop’s systems framework in thinking
about the interactions between contexts, actors and outcomes. This will also provide
a first stage in considering some of the limitations of Dunlop and other systems
approaches to our understanding of employee relations
1. Identify the key environmental influences currently having an impact on the
main ‘actors’ in employee relations.
2. How is each of the actors affected by these influences and what does this tell
us about the location and significance of bargaining power at the present time?
3. In light of your answer in (2) what changes might these environmental
influences have on processes and outcomes?
4. In what ways do you feel our experiences of employee relations in the past –
how we feel we have been managed and treated - shape the employee relations
5. Dunlop suggests that for any ‘industrial relations system’ to work requires
some degree of ‘shared ideology’. Do you agree? What do you think is likely
to happen to the ‘system’ in the absence of such an ideology?