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The rapid increase in the globalisation of business and the growing significance of emerging markets suggest that the success of managers in this new century will depend upon on the degree to which they develop an understanding regarding the dynamics of managing human resources. Human resource management is concerned with the people’s dimension in organisations. All major activities in the working life of a worker- from the time of his/ her entry into an organisation until he/ she leaves- comes under the purview of Human Resource Management (HRM). Human resource management has societal objectives, which implies that, it needs to be ethically and socially responsible to the needs and challenges of the society while minimising the negative impact of such demands upon the organisation. Human resource management has become a pervasive and influential approach to the management of employment in a wide range of market economies.

        The presence of formalised personnel functions in India can be traced back to the 1920’s and has been common in the Indian organisations for decades. India has a special and unique culture, which varies considerably from East Asian cultures. India is a democratic republic, comprising of six main religious groups, over three thousand castes and has 179 languages. India has one of the largest English speaking populations in the Asia- Pacific region. Though rich in culture and natural resources, India currently faces a number of problems like over population, unemployment and poverty, corruption, an increasing gap between the rich and the poor, excessive bureaucracy etc. These facts show the diverse nature of the Indian workforce. (Budhwar and Debrah, 2001, pg 75). Two important factors that can be considered significant to the management of people in the private and public sectors of India are Employee relations and the Impact of culture.

        “ Employee relations are a set of human resource practices that seek to secure commitment and compliance with organisational goals and standards through the involvement of employees in decision- making and by managerial action.” (Bratton and Gold, 2003, 357). Employee relations are a comprehensive term that includes all those aspects of HRM where employees are dealt with collectively. In addition to industrial relations it includes aspects such as participative management, employee remuneration, employee development, employee safety and health etc. In India, the scenario relating to employee relations is a mixed one. Sparks between enlightened managers and motivated work- force co- exist with large-scale violence leading to destruction and closures.

        Off late the need to adapt to cultural differences has become a major concern to managements and organisations. The increasing globalisation of business is one of the major impulses behind this concern. The cultural differences have significant effects on how people work and consequently on how they can be most effectively managed. Homogenisation of some aspects of life does not result in the disappearance of this significance. Cultural differences extent their influence on what and how employees perceive certain changes and ideas. (Guirdham, 1999, pg1). Culture plays a noteworthy role, in managing people and their activities in an organisation, in a country like India that has a distinctive and diverse culture. It is essential that managers aim to understand the cultural variations and its implications on the employees and their behaviour patterns. This helps to trim down disparities and creates a common wave of thought, which facilitates the achievement of organisational objectives with ease.

        Thus with regards to India, employee relations and management of culture can be considered as two of the significant factors influencing human resource management in the private and public sector.


The term employee relation is used to indicate those areas of the employment relationship in which managers deal with the representatives of employees rather than managing employees directly as individuals (Edwards, 1995). Some authors feel the terms employee relations and industrial relations are synonymous. However this may not be so to some extend. Employee relations are a broader and more comprehensive term. Industrial relations are essentially concerned with the relationship between management and the worker and the role of regulatory mechanism in resolving and individual dispute. Employee relations takes account of several other aspects such as employee development, employee safety etc.

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        Industrial relations are the key for increased productivity in industrial establishments. One of the major problems faced by India is unemployment and illiteracy. Unemployment compels workers, particularly the illiterate and unskilled, to accept jobs under inhumane working conditions with niggardly wages. Industrial relations seek to protect workers interests and to improve their economic conditions. Industrial relations protect the rights of managers too. When the behaviour of workers deviates from the expected lines, it is the management’s prerogative to take action.

        Different people perceive the scenario of industrial relations differently.  The three popular approaches to industrial relations are:


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