Incorporating Human Resource Management policies within the regulatory and institutional framework that governs contemporary industrial relations has always been problematic. This paper details the nature and causes of this problem, noting the different conceptual and practical understandings that underpin each form of labour management when being applied in organisational settings. It then looks at a range of industrial relations realities confronting managers when trying to apply HRM practices, and how these practices might be accommodated within the context of such realities as a means of improving organisational effectiveness. In so doing it delineates four approaches an organisation might take in its relations with trade unions when bargaining and concluding labour contracts, and which of these are consistent and inconsistent with the coexistence of HRM and industrial relations practices. It then looks at the issue of workplace change involving trade unions and collective bargaining in terms of three categorical models—the management-driven model, the trade union gatekeeper model, and the management-union alliance model, the intention again being to show which are consistent and inconsistent with the coexistence of these different forms of labour management. The paper concludes by drawing on these conceptual models to outline the issues and policies that need to be considered when applying HRM practices within an industrial relations setting.
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