Queen's University IRC

IRC Archive Project

Relationships by Objectives: The Experience at Petro-Canada

If Canadian industries are to compete successfully in the new economy, unions and management must move away from their traditional adversarial relationships. This study analyzes a conflict resolution method, known as Relationships by Objectives (RBO), that directs unions and management away from conflict and towards cooperation through joint problem solving. RBO was part of the Preventive Mediation Program provided by the Ontario Ministry of Labour beginning in 1978.

Training in the Team-Based Organization

Team-based organizations are growing at a rapid pace. Recent research estimates that `40 to 50 percent of the workforce could be in some kind of empowered work team environment by the turn of the century' (Manz et al. 1997, 4). In addition, as global competition forces organizations to become more productive `there is growing consensus that training must be at the forefront of their attempts to do so' (Martocchio and Baldwin 1997, 7).

Team Training: A Brief Look at the Options

Training is increasingly being recognized as integral to the effectiveness and performance of teams and to the satisfaction of team members. While the methods of team training vary depending on the developmental stage of the team and the reason for the training, most team training falls within the following types: in-house, off-site, simulation/role playing, peer-to-peer, and multi-team training, as well as self-directed learning.

Self-Directed Work Teams: A Brief Description

Faced with global competition and rapid technological change, companies are forced to develop new organizational structures to meet the challenges facing them. One alternative that has gained popularity in recent years is the team-based organization. While there are varying approaches to the designing of a team environment, one common approach is the self-directed work team (SDWT). The SDWT is responsible for a relatively whole task, not just part of a job, and each of the team members possesses a variety of skills relevant to that task.

Team Training: Does It Increase Satisfaction and Improve Performance?

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 her study of seven work teams in five Canadian organizations, the author provides detailed advice on how to design a training program that will succeed.
 

Building a Foundation for Change: Why So Many Changes Fail and What to Do About It

A surprisingly high percentage of organizational changes are doomed to fail. According to recent surveys, reengineering efforts have about a 33 percent chance of success, mergers and acquisitions succeed 29 percent of the time, quality improvement efforts achieve their goals half the time, and new software applications hit the mark in less than 20 percent of the cases. What often goes wrong: Bright people develop a plan that includes a sound business reason for the change.

Whither the Trade Unions?

The trade union movement in Canada, as in many other industrial countries, is in the throes of change. Among other things, it is grappling with pressures stemming from the rapid pace of economic and technological change as well as shifts in business practices, employment patterns and social attitudes. This report briefly examines some of the challenges facing trade unions on the eve of the new millennium.

The Cycle of Change

Resistance to change often appears when people are at different points on the cycle. Take the time to compare the relative positions on the cycle held by everyone involved; it can help you anticipate potential problems and develop the most appropriate strategies.

Labour Law Leads the Way

Labour relations has always played a leadership role in Canada. Businesses and unions represent vital interests in our communities. Their interactions have set many of the important ground rules by which we live. This is because work and work opportunities are central to us all. It is upon businesses or jobs that we build our lives. The content of labour law is therefore very telling about a society and its direction.

Managing the Contingent Work Force: Lessons for Success

Many employers are scaling down their regular fulltime, full-year work force and increasing their use of contingent workers to reduce labour costs and meet the fluctuating demands of the global marketplace. But if a contingent work force strategy is to succeed, employers must take steps to alleviate the well-documented negative impact of contingent work on worker health. If employers do not do so, their savings may be offset by a decrease in productivity and in work quality.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Where once Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) referred to an alter­native to the courts, ADR in the field of labour relations is increasingly being referred to as an alternative to arbitration. The objectives of ADR and the newly emerging Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) are to settle disputes prior to having to go to binding arbitration over which the parties have little control. ADR and IDR are recognized as giving the parties greater direct voice in fashioning remedies and more timely settlements.

A Framework for a Formal Mentoring Program

Mentoring is an ancient concept that experienced a renaissance about a decade ago (Goodson 1992, 19). Mentorships are relationships which provide guidance, support, a role model, and a confidante (known as a mentor) for junior organizational members (known as protégés). An effective mentoring relationship is one in which both mentor and protégé develop a productive level of intimacy, enabling the protégé to learn the ropes and adapt to organizational expectations (Burke and McKeen 1989, 1).

Contingent Work Force Strategy: Guidelines for Success

This overview offers guidelines for managing contingent employees, which may include non-regular part-time workers, temporary workers, independent contract workers, dependent contract workers, and employee leasing arrangements.

The information in these guidelines was extracted from the 1997 IRC Press Publication by Kelly Ann Daly entitled Managing the Contingent Workforce: Lessons for Success, which provides more detailed information on the topic.

Shifting from Traditional to Mutual Gains Bargaining: Implementing Change in Canada

The significant transformation of the Canadian economy and system of production in the past decade has not left the industrial relations system untouched. Managers and union leaders have become more and more aware of their interdependence and vulnerability, through their experience of plant closings, layoffs, loss of market share and technological obsolescence. Does the lower level of labour strife mean that parties are biding their time and expecting the good old days to return?

Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution Systems in Canadian Nonunionized Organizations

Responding to a growing interest in the subject in recent years, this study is intended to improve our understanding of conflict management and dispute resolution systems in nonunionized workplaces in Canada. It sets out the key reasons for the increased interest in effective systems, describes the various procedures being used, and evaluates their effectiveness. The authors identify the strengths and pitfalls of various systems.
 

Disaggregating the Sexual Division of Labour: A Transatlantic Case Study

This paper explores the adequacy of several theories advanced to account for the sexual division of labour – neoclassical, dual labour market, marxist feminist, and technologically determined – by comparing the historical processes by which the gender segregation developed in the hosiery and knit goods industry in Canada and Britain in the period 1890 to 1950. It argues that the sexual division of labor is formed within the shifting mutuality and antipathy of gender relations and the relations of production so that theories of sexual segregation must integrate rather than isolate class and gender based processes.

Outsourcing and the ‘New’ Human Resource Management

Once believed to be strictly an administrative function low on management's priority list, the human resource function is increasingly involved in strategic management decisions. Intense competitive pressures are forcing it to reexamine its structure, the services it provides, and the competencies it requires. As a result, HR is looking at outsourcing as a way to reduce its workload and concentrate on strategic core functions. Interviews with nine HR executives reported in this study provide a snapshot of how Canadian organizations and their HR functions are changing to cope with the new economic environment.

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