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According to a definition provided by Purcell (1987: 538), collectivism is “the extent to which the organizations recognize the right of employees to have a say inthose aspects of management decision-making which concern them”. However, Marchington and Parker (1990) argued that it “needs to incorporate not only the structure foremployee participation and collective bargaining, but also the approach of management towards these institutions” (cited in Rose, 2004: 68). Further, Rose (2004: 67)has suggested that the ‘collectivist’ form to the employee relation is concerned with the acknowledgment of “the legitimate authority of trade unions as the mainemployee voice mechanism”. The purpose of this essay is to critically discuss whether there is a future for the view of ‘collectivist’ in the relation between employers andemployees in Britain. The overall structure of this paper takes the form of fourth sections, including this introductory section. The second part focuses on some kindof collectivist – trade unions … – in employee relations and briefly looks at how their influence have dwindled since 1979s (Kelly, 1997). Then, the third section setsout to identify and evaluate the management styles mainly the individualistic perspective. Finally, the last part draws upon the entire study.
As we have mentionedabove, the ‘collectivist’ approach in employee relations lays emphasize on trade unions or collective bargaining. According to Rose (2004: 105), trade unions were“developed as a response to the development of capitalism and the realisation that conflicts of interest between employees and owners could only be resolved collectively”.
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