Queen's University IRC

Research Briefs – April 2016

Queen’s University IRC - Research Briefs

   Bringing Practitioner-Focused Research to People Management Practitioners

April 2016   

 

 
 

In This Issue…

  1. The Path to Success for Organized Labour
  2. Managing Under the Microscope: The Next Tsunami of Environmental Disasters in the Workplace
  3. Flashback Feature:
    Team Training: Does It Increase Satisfaction and Improve Performance?
 Queen's University Campus 
 

The Path to Success for Organized Labour
Derik McArthur, Director, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) local 175 & 633, 2016

Labour unions are at a critical time in history. Unions are working to engage the current membership and exploring new innovative communication strategies that are needed to reach the younger generation in a meaningful way. Gone are the days of the bulletin board as the primary sources of union news and updates. People are busy and it's a challenge to draw the membership out to a meeting. It was not too long ago when local arenas were filled to capacity to hear the local union president address the membership. Email, text message, Twitter and Facebook are popular forms of communication in the fast-paced world of work, and the membership is demanding multiple communication platforms to access. Contrary to popular belief, union members are interested in their union; they simply don't have the time to participate in the traditional model that is in place, the membership meeting.

Like many organizations, unions are in a time of change and transformation. As stated by Littlemore (2013), union membership is “pretty close to what it was 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years ago.” Many factors affect the decline of union membership and according to Tattersall (2008), these factors include “international economic competition, anti-union legislation and a shift in local industries from unionized manufacturing to non-union services.” Although union membership as a whole has remained constant, the numbers require further investigation. Littlemore (2013) confirms private sector union density has been on a constant decline. With a lens on the private sector unions, a more focused examination is required to understand the decline, what factors may be contributing to the drop in membership, as well as what unions can do to reverse this trend.

>> Download Article

Managing Under the Microscope:
The Next Tsunami of Environmental Disasters in the Workplace

Diane Wiesenthal, FCHRP, Corporate People Responsibility® Ltd, 2015

There is a new wave of environmental disasters that are just beginning to splash onto our daily news feeds. Workplace cultures are the next targets that will be publicly examined and debated in excruciating detail – just ask the CBC, Amazon, or the Lance Armstrong “company machine.” All the dirty laundry of inappropriate behaviours and unacceptable people practices are flooding out in the wash, and every detail is being hung out on the public line to view. However, that’s just the trickle before the tsunami wave that will expose these environmental toxins that currently live in some form or another in vast numbers of organizations.

The human toll is difficult to tabulate, as the toxic waste manifests itself in polluted work environments and it lives and breeds where inefficient business practices, ineffective managers and bad employee attitudes are allowed to roam and run free. Where these toxins live and breed is a force to be reckoned with and containing or eliminating the poison is tricky business. However, not addressing this in a proactive manner has now become very risky business. Like the killer-force of the tsunami, it can destroy carefully crafted and nurtured company brands and can stop business dead in its wake.

>> Download Article

Flashback Feature:
Team Training: Does It Increase Satisfaction and Improve Performance?
Chantal de la Rochelle, 1999

In the global environment of increasing technological change, companies are looking for alternatives to traditional hierarchical organizational structures in order to maintain the competitive advantage that is necessary for their survival. Increasingly, they are turning to self-directed work teams in pursuit of high performance. But building team-based organizations requires challenging behavioural changes and a well-designed program that provides training not only in technical but also in personal skills. Based on a study of seven work teams in five Canadian organizations, the author provides detailed advice on how to design a training program that will succeed.

>> Download Article

 

  

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Copyright 2016 Queen’s University IRC, Robert Sutherland Hall, 138 Union Street, Kingston, ON K7L 2P1
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