Systems Theory of Industrial Relations Essay

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Industrial Relations is a multidisciplinary field dealing with the study of employment relationship in union and non-union organizations. There have been various theories of industrial relations in place, but the first and most influential theory was put forward by John Thomas Dunlop. Dunlop, as a labor economist, remodelled the work of sociologists and developed a framework of industrial relations system. He developed the System’s Theory which stressed on the interrelationship of institutions and behaviors that enables one to understand and explain industrial relation rules.
According to John Dunlop -“An industrial relation system at any one time in its development is regarded
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Within this environment, actors interact with each other, negotiate and use economic/political power in process of determining rules that constitute the output of the industrial relations system.
Dunlop's model identifies three key factors to be considered in conducting an analysis of the management-labor relationship:
 Environmental or external economic, technological, political, legal and social forces that impact employment relationships.
 Characteristics and interaction of the key actors in the employment relationship: labor, management, and government.
 Rules that are derived from these interactions that govern the employment relationship
Dunlop emphasizes that the core of the industrial systems is the arrangement and relationship of the fields in the industrial relations affecting each other resulting in ways for dealing with certain matters and thus yielding collective results. In effect - Industrial relations is the system which produces the rules of the workplace which are the product of interaction between the key “actors” – workers/unions, employers and associated organizations and government, possessing shared ideology that defines their roles within the relationship and provides stability to the system.
Impact and Success of Systems Theory
Dunlop’s work has had a tremendous impact and had proven a great contribution to industrial relations. The System’s Theory provides a better understanding of the industrial relations by broadening

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