One of the most pressing issues facing most organizations today is the
need to raise employee productivity. There is a widespread belief that
productivity improvements can only be achieved through a fundamental
reform in the area of employee relations. Changes are thought to be
necessary both in the organization and structure of work and in the way
in which employees are trained, remunerated and motivated. Moreover, it
is argued that these changes cannot be separated from the need to
overhaul our system of interest representation and dispute resolution.
The activities of trade unions and the operations of arbitration
tribunals are often viewed as impediments to management efforts to lift
the competitive performance of their organizations. The purpose of this
study is to evaluate these arguments, identify ways employee relations
affect productivity, and how to improve productivity in organizations.
South Akim Rural Bank was used as a case study for this research, as
various employees and management of the bank were used as respondents
for the study. Responses gotten from the employees and employers were
analyzed to bring out findings as well as recommendations for this
study. With regards to the research methodology of this study, the
casual research design was chosen as the most appropriate research
design for the study. Data was gathered form both primary and secondary
sources of information. Responses from questionnaires and interviews
with management of the bank formed the basis for the primary data, while
books, articles and journals on employee relations acted as the
secondary data. Findings from this study revealed that employee
relations practices affect productivity through employee morale, quality
and quantity of output/product. Other findings include various
challenges that employees face at workplace and various ways to enhance
healthy relationship between employees and their employers in an
organization. The most valuable recommendation given is to treat
employees with great care.
Maintaining healthy employee relations in an organization is a
pre-requisite for organizational success. Strong employee relations are
required for high productivity and human satisfaction. Employee
relations generally deal with avoiding and resolving issues concerning
individuals which might arise out of or influence the work scenario.
Strong employee relation depends upon healthy and safe work environment,
cent percent involvement and commitment of all employees, incentives
for employee motivation, and effective communication system in the
organization. Healthy employee relations lead to more efficient,
motivated and productive employees which further lead to increase in
production level. Over 40 percent of the companies listed in the top 100
of Fortune magazine’s “America’s Best Companies to Work For” also
appear on the Fortune 500. While it is possible that employees enjoy
working at these organizations because they are successful, the Watson
Wyatt WorldwideHuman Capital Index study suggests that effective human resources practices lead to positive financial outcomes more often than positive financial outcomes lead to good practices.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY AND ORGANIZATIONAL PROFILE
Employee relations had its roots in the industrial revolution which created the modern employment relationship by spawning free labour
markets and large-scale industrial organizations with thousands of wage
workers. As society wrestled with these massive economic and social
changes, labour problems arose. Low wages, long working hours,
monotonous and dangerous work, and abusive supervisory practices led to
high employee turnover, violent strikes, and the threat of social
instability. Intellectually, industrial relations was formed at the end
of the 19th century as a middle ground between classical economics and
Marxism, with Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb’s Industrial Democracy being
the key intellectual work. Industrial relations thus rejected the
classical econ. Institutionally, employee relation was founded by John
R. Commons when he created the first academic industrial relations program
at the University of Wisconsin in 1920. Early financial support for the
field came from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. who supported progressive
labour-management relations in the aftermath of the bloody strike at a
Rockefeller-owned coal mine in Colorado. In Britain, another progressive
industrialist, Montague Burton, endowed chairs in industrial relations
at Leeds, Cardiff and Cambridge in 1930, and the discipline was
formalized in the 1950s with the formation of the Oxford School by Allan
Flanders and Hugh Clegg. Industrial relations were formed with a strong
problem-solving orientation that rejected both the classical
economists’ laissez faire solutions to labour problems and the Marxist
solution of class revolution. It is this approach that underlies the New
Deal legislation in the United States, such as the National Labour
Relations Act and the Fair Labour Standards Act.
1.1.2 PROFILE OF THE ORGANIZATION
For the purpose of this study, the South Akim Rural Bank has been
selected as a case study to illustrate the effects of employee relations
on the productivity of a firm. South Akim Rural Bank has its Head
Office situated on the main Suhum – Koforidua road opposite the post
office, Nankese. The South Akim Rural Bank Limited was commissioned and
started banking business in 1984 at Nankese in the Suhum/Kraboa/Coaltar
The bank is still rated first in the Eastern Region in terms of deposits
and among the first ten rural and community banks in the country as a
whole in terms of deposits and assets.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In recent times, while most workers are on job, they do not produce more
simply because of the un-healthy relationship they have with their
fellow colleagues and employers. A recent study conducted by Blyton
(2008) revealed that employees do not put up their best performances at
workplaces when they are un-happy with management, government, or even
their fellow colleagues. Bad employee-employer relationship results in
strike actions and lockouts. All these actions taken by employees to
display their grievances only do the organization harm than good as
productivity will be reduced drastically.
By many accounts, employee relations today are in crisis. In academia,
its traditional positions are threatened on one side by the dominance of
mainstream economics and organizational behaviour, and on the other by
postmodernism. In policy-making circles, the industrial relations
emphasis on institutional intervention is trumped by a neo-liberal
emphasis on the laissez faire promotion of free markets.
1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The objectives for this study are:
- To identify various employee relations practices, and its effect on the productivity of an organization.
- To identify the challenges faced by employees at work places.
- To identify ways of enhancing healthy relationship between employees and employers in an organization.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions were used to achieve the above objectives:
- What are the various employee relations practices in your organization, and how do they affect productivity?
- What challenges do you face in your organization?
- In what ways can healthy relationship be enhanced between employees and employers in an organization?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study seeks to bring out the various employee relations practices
which South Akim Rural Bank has undertaken to increase its productivity
and contribute its quota in the economic development of the communities
which it operates, and the country at large. This study will therefore
help enlighten management of various organizations of the various
effects of relationship practices between employers and employees in an
organization. The study will also bring out specifically, the employee
relations practices which the bank has been able to make available to
its employees. It also seeks to bring out the level of encouragement and
motivation the bank has given to its employees to work effectively,
among others. The importance of this study is therefore to highlight the
various employee relations practices and how it affects the
productivity of an organization. This study will go a long way to
illustrate how organizations should treat employees’ in-order to
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of the research will be limited to South Akim Rural Bank at
the New Juaben Municipal Assembly in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The
research will rely on the bank for vital information as well as
information from secondary source. The research will take duration of
four months to complete.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The researcher encountered a limitation in regards to availability of
information. Thus due to the institutions working ethics, the researcher
could not get access to vital information since it was treated as
confidential and the targeted respondent’s number was not attained
since some employees were on leave. Inadequate funds and availability of
time also became a limitation.
1.8 CHAPTER SCHEME
The project will be organized around following chapters;
Chapter one gives an introduction to the research work. It gives the
basic information about the company and the research being undertaken.
This chapter therefore consists of the background of the study and
organizational profile, statement of the problem, objectives, research
questions, significance of the study, scope of the study, and
limitations encountered by the researcher.
Chapter Twoconsists of the literature review and the theoretical framework
Chapter three gives details of the research methodology. The research
methodology represents the various ways and methods which the researcher
used in order to gain his information.
Chapter Fourgives the analysis and interpretation of the information gathered by the researcher.
Chapter five gives the findings and conclusion of the researcher. Here,
conclusions will be drawn based on the findings and their implications
will also be given.