Human resource management.

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International Business Studies

Registration no. 32520100

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Ann-Marie Doherty

Submission Date   29th November 2002


With reference to the employment relationship and employment market, discuss the reasons for the changing dynamics of the contemporary employment market, that is, the rise in flexible working, and the resultant range of job patterns, which characterise the modern workplace. These issued should be addressed in the context of your own area of study and supplemented with appropriate examples and case studies.


The term’s “employee relations” and more traditionally, “industrial relations” are used to indicate those areas of the employment relationship in which mangers deal with the representatives of employee’s rather than managing employee’s directly as individuals. (Edwards 1995). This essay will endeavour to examine the interaction between employer and employees. It will also examine the dynamic work patterns shaping the modern employment market and reasons why many organisations are adapting a range of suitable job patterns for their employee’s. As these job patterns occur legislation has developed concerning Contingent Employment.  The proposed thought that flexible job patterns could help firms, as a whole will be discussed later, along with whether or not employees need a source of protection from employers. Although there is legislation that covers a vast area of employee’s rights, the balance of power was thought to still have laid with the employer in the early 1990’s. This was because legislation through the 1980’s aggressively hit the trade unions, cutting their powers. At this time redundancies and unemployment was high, so employers had to reassure employees that they were being valued and were being treated equally and fairly and that there was no imbalance of power.


As we can see in everyday life our world is ever changing. We only have to look at supermarkets that are open for business seven days a week along with many more businesses, such as restaurants and public houses. Along with this come new working patterns. Although in some organisations the traditional hours still exist i.e. 9-5, five days per week, there are many new patterns evolving to suit the changing requirements of business. These include part-time work, temporary work etc. which will be discussed in greater detail later in the assignment. Charles Handy (1989) views the new emerging work environment as consisting of three pools of people. (Core employee’s) specialised who are likely to be senior management and are likely to work longer hours. (Contracted professionals) are not part of the organisations central work but specialise in a specific field. (Temporary Staff) who are called upon as and when required.  These new working patterns may well have emerged within the global labour market due to: lack of skilled labour, job sharing, part-time work, and career breaks etc. These issues will be discussed later in the essay.

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With-well qualified job candidates still scarce, employers wont be scaling back on such core benefits on family-friendly work arrangements – flex time, job sharing and telecommuting. If anything, companies are expanding, not contracting flexible working schedules because they’re cheap to implement. Nearly 60% of firms surveyed by the Society of Human Resource Management offer such arrangements, is up to 51% last year.

When there are layoffs, says Jon Van Cleve of Hewitt Associates, flexible working options become even more critical to the performance of remaining employee’s who find themselves working harder.


(Wilcox, M.D (2001) “Kiplinger’s Personal Finance” ...

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