Queen's University IRC

Research Briefs – May 2014

Queen's University IRC - Research Briefs

   Bringing Practitioner-Focused Research to People Management Practitioners

May 2014   



In This Issue…

  1. Managing People and Labour Relations in Municipal Government
  2. Understanding Generational Differences in the Workplace: Findings and Conclusions
  3. Flashback Feature:
    Industrial Relations in the 1980s: Issues and Implications
  Queen's University Campus  

Managing People and Labour Relations in Municipal Government
Terry Wagar, Professor of Management, Saint Mary's University

Although there has been a lot of research on the links between human resource management and workplace performance, much of the work is focused on the private sector. Moreover, there is less research addressing labour relations practices in municipal government. In discussions with government officials and in presentations to individuals employed in government there has been a particularly strong interest in the management of human resources and labour relations. Among the questions that frequently arise are: (1) what are other municipal government workplaces doing to manage human resources? and (2) what is happening in terms of labour relations in local government workplaces? The current article is aimed at addressing these questions from a practitioner perspective.

The results of this study are based on questionnaire responses from more than 250 municipal government workplaces across Canada. The survey was conducted in 2009. Respondents varied somewhat in size; 45% of the workplaces had 25 or fewer employees, 33% had 26 to 100 employees, and 22% had more than 100 employees. About 57% of the workplaces were unionized and 58% reported that their overhead costs were lower when compared to similar municipalities.

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Understanding Generational Differences in the Workplace: Findings and Conclusions
Tania Saba, Professor, School of Industrial Relations, Université de Montréal, 2013

The study of generational differences has garnered increasing interest among organizations, practitioners and researchers in recent years. There are many reasons for this keen interest, including the need to manage people from several different generations, to better adapt the workplace to a multigenerational workforce, to attract and retain new talent, and to identify the working conditions that will lead to positive attitudes and behaviours among younger workers.

In this research report, we will show that generational differences are a myth and have very little empirical support. Following a contextual overview, we will discuss the theoretical and analytical frameworks that have been used to explain the differences between the generations. We will end with some conclusions.

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Flashback Feature:
Industrial Relations in the 1980s: Issues and Implications
Pradeep Kumar, Fred Curd Jr., Sam Gindin, Harold Giles, John Fryer, John T. Dunlop, 1988

The papers in this volume reflect these diverse and contradictory trends and patterns in Canadian industrial relations in the 1980s in the face of what some observers believe is "a fundamentally altered economic and public policy environment." These papers were presented at a symposium held at Queen's University on November 21, 1987, to mark the 50th anniversary of industrial relations programs at Queen's University. The purpose of the symposium, chaired by the Honourable Senator Carl Goldenberg, was to assess the state of industrial relations in the 1980s and to determine whether recent developments signal a fundamental change in Canadian industrial relations, as some commentators have argued.

The volume was edited by Pradeep Kumar, and includes:

  • Introduction and Summary – By Pradeep Kumar
  • Labour Relations at General Motors of Canada – By Fred Curd Jr.
  • Union Approaches and Responses in the 1980s – By Sam Gindin
  • Flexibility: The Critical Issue in Industrial Relations – By Harold Giles
  • Breakdown of Public Sector Collective Bargaining – By John Fryer
  • Industrial Relations in the 1980s: A Mix of Adversarialism and Cooperation – By John T. Dunlop

>> Download Article



Upcoming Programs

Strategic Grievance Handling
May 13-16, 2014

Labour Arbitration Skills
May 25-29, 2014
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Labour Relations Foundations
June 2-6, 2014

NEW Linking HR Strategy to Business Strategy
June 4-6, 2014
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Managing Unionized Environments
June 10-12, 2014
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Organizational Design
June 10-12, 2014

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