An industrial relations system at any one time in its development is regarded as
comprised of certain actors, certain contexts, an ideology, which binds the industrial
relations system together, and a body of rules created to govern the actors at the
workplace and work community. There are three sets of independent variables: the
‘actors’, the ‘contexts’ and the ‘ideology’ of the system
2 -THE OXFORD APPROACH
According to this approach, the industrial relations system is a study of institutions of
job regulations and the stress is on the substantive and procedural rules as in Dunlop’s
model. Flanders, the exponent of this approach, considers every business enterprise as
a social system of production and distribution, which has a structured pattern of relationship.
The “institution of job regulation” is categorised by him as internal and
external – the former being an internal part of the industrial relations system such as
code of work rules, wage structure, internal procedure of joint consultation, and
grievance procedure. He views trade unions as an external organisation and excludes
collective agreements from the sphere of internal regulation. According to him,
collective bargaining is central to the industrial relations system.
3-- THE INDUSTRIAL SOCIOLOGY APPROACH
G. Margerison, an industrial sociologist, holds the view that the core of industrial
relations is the nature and development of the conflict itself.
According to this school of thought, there are two major conceptual levels of
industrial relations. One is the intra-plant level where situational factors, such as job
content, work task and technology, and interaction factors produce three types of
conflict – distributive, structural, and human relations. These conflicts are being
resolved through collective bargaining, structural analysis of the socio-technical
systems and man-management analysis respectively. The second level is outside the
firm and, in the main, concerns with the conflict not resolved at the intra-
4-THE ACTION THEORY APPROACH
Like the systems model, the action theory approach takes the collective regulation
of industrial labour as its focal point. The actors operate within a framework,
which can at best be described as a coalition relationship. The actors, it is claimed,
agree in principle to cooperate in the resolution of the conflict, their cooperation
taking the form of bargaining. Thus, the action theory analysis of industrial relations
focuses primarily on bargaining as a mechanism for the resolution of conflicts.
Whereas the systems model of industrial relations constitutes a more or less
comprehensive approach, it is hardly possible to speak of one uniform action
5-THE MARXIST APPROACH
The Marxist approach is primarily oriented towards the historical development of the
power relationship between capital and labour. It is also characterised by the struggle
of these classes to consolidate and strengthen their respective positions with a view to
exerting greater influence on each other. In this approach, industrial relations is
equated with a power-struggle. The price payable for labour is determined by a
confrontation between conflicting interests. The capitalist ownership of the enterprise
endeavours to purchase labour at the lowest possible price in order to maximise their
profits. The lower the price paid by the owner of the means of production for the
labour he employs, the greater is his profit. The Marxist analysis of industrial
relations, however, is not a comprehensive approach as it only takes into account the
relations between capital and labour. It is rather, a general theory of society and of
social change, which has implications for the analysis of industrial relations within
what Marxists would describe as capitalist societies.
6-THE PLURALIST APPROACH
The focus is on the resolution of conflict rather than its generation, or, in
the words of the pluralist, on ‘the institutions of job regulation.’ Kerr is one of the
important exponents of pluralism. According to him, the social environment is an
important factor in industrial conflicts. The isolated masses of workers are more
strike-prone as compared to dispersed groups. When industrial jobs become more
pleasant and employees’ get more integrated into the wider society, strikes will become
7- WEBER’S SOCIAL ACTION APPROACH
Weberian approach gives the theoretical and operational
importance to “control” as well as to the power struggle to control work
organisations – a power struggle in which all the actors in the industrial relations
drama are caught up.
8 THE HUMAN RELATIONS APPROACH
The human relations approach highlights certain policies and techniques to improve employee morale, efficiency and job satisfaction. It encourages the small work group to exercise considerable control over its environment and in the process helps to remove a major irritant in labour-management relations.
9- THE GANDHIAN APPROACH
This approach to industrial relation is based upon fundamental principal of truth, non-violance and non-possission. This approach presumes the peaceful co-existance of capital and labour. Gandhiji emphasized that if the employers follow the principal of trusteeship than there is no scope of conflict of interest between labour and management, Gandhiji accepted the workers right to strike,but cautioned that they should exercise this right for a just cause and in a peaceful and non-violence manner and this method should only be resorted when all methods failed in getting employers response.