Managing People at Work: Employment Relations in Globalizing India
Publication Year: 2010
Tremendous changes in global and national economic environments have led to transformations in employment and human resource systems in India. As an emerging economy, studying the employment systems in India assumes unprecedented importance for governments and corporations alike. This book examines the changes in employment relations in India in the post-reform period.
Combining field practices in actual workplaces with frontline theoretical arguments in human resource management and industrial relations, the book examines the validity of the “converging divergences” thesis in employment relations for India. Through this study, it identifies the sources of variations in employment relation practices. It also studies important developments such as increased use of contract labor over regular workers, business management methods of MNCs and how their employment relations practices differ from those ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Convergences and Divergences in Employment Relations
- Chapter 2: Changing Contexts of Employment Relations and Shifts in Capital–Labor Power Balance
- Chapter 3: Union Decline, Growing Inequality, and Divergences in Employment Relations
- Chapter 4: Divergences in Employment Systems in the Indian Textile Industry
- Chapter 5: Restructuring of Firms and Transformation of Employment Relation Systems
- Chapter 6: Employment Relations in IT-Enabled Services
- Chapter 7: Multinationals—Convergences and Divergences in Employment Relations: A Case Study
- Chapter 8: Employment Relations in Small Firms
- Chapter 9: Conclusion: Convergences and Divergences
Copyright © Subesh Das, 2010
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
First published in 2010 by
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Das, Subesh, 1955–
Managing people at work: employment relations in globalizing India/by Subesh Dash.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Personnel management—India. 2. Industrial relations—India. I. Title.
HF5549.2.I4D35 658.300954—dc22 2010 2010032781
ISBN: 978-81-321-0510-7 (HB)
The SAGE Team: Rekha Natarajan, Anupam Choudhury, Nand Kumar Jha and Deepti Saxena
List of Tables[Page vii]
- 2.1 Government Intervention: Major Labor Laws 42
- 3.1 Membership of Central Trade Unions, 1980–2002 (Millions) 58
- 3.2 Membership of Central Trade Unions in Different Sectors (in '000) 58
- 3.3 Unionization in Large Firms 60
- 3.4 Central Union Membership Density in Different Industrial Sectors 64
- 3.5 Membership of Central Trade Unions in Major States 65
- 3.6 Growth of Registered Trade Unions in India 68
- 4.1 Employment Relation Systems in Different Textile Units 92
- 5.1 Firms and Their Contract Workers—Union/Non-union 116
- 6.1 Employment in IT-enabled Service Firms 138
- 6.2 Training Plan in a Call Center 144
- 7.1 Factors that Influence Global–Local Dilemma 161
- 8.1 Legislations Influencing Wages in the Informal Sector 182
- 8.2 Collective Agreements in the Informal Sector: Examples 187
- 9.1 Variations in Employment Relations (ER) within and across Industrial Sectors 206
- 9.2 Different Types of Firm-level Unions 210 [Page viii]
- 9.3 Employment Relations in Union/Non-union Firms 211
- 9.4 Firms Differ in Global Content or Local Embeddedness 219
- 9.5 Firms' Employment Relations (ER) and the Overall Variations 221
List of Figures[Page ix]
- 1.1 Employment Relation Systems 4
- 1.2 Employment Relation Systems—Inputs and Outcomes 6
- 1.3 Global and Local Influences—Indian Firms and MNCs 15
- 2.1 Changes in Employment Relations with Changes in Contexts 32
- 3.1 Structure of Labor Unions and Their Affiliations 57
- 3.2 Growth and Decline of Trade Unions 1950–2003 66
- 5.1 BOC India: Sales Growth 107
- 5.2 BOC India: Decline in Number of Employees 111
- 5.3 BOC India Gases Division: Before Restructuring 113
- 5.4 BOC India: Gas Production and Distribution—After Restructuring 114
- 7.1 House of Gemba (Workplace) Management at MCPI 164
List of Boxes[Page x]
- 1.1 Technical Control and Bureaucratic Control 9
- 1.2 Dominant Patterns of Employment Relation Systems 25
- 3.1 Different Types of Unions by Functions 56
- 4.1 Teams in Jayashree Textiles 90
- 4.2 Employee Communication Initiatives in Jayashree Textiles 91
- 6.1 Industrial Model and Salaried Model of Work Organization 133
- 6.2 IT-enabled Service Firms Differ by Activities 140
- 6.3 Qualities Required for Recruitment as CSRs 141
- 8.1 Dual Control of the Principal: The Employer and the Contractor 189
- 8.2 Responsibilities of the Principal Employers under the Acts 191
- 9.1 Non-union Firms Differ in Their Employment Relations 212
List of Abbreviations[Page xi]
AFL-CIO American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations AITUC All India Trade Union Congress BCCI Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industries BIFR Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction BMS Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh BOC British Oxygen Company CII Confederation of Indian Industry CITU Center of Indian Trade Union CPI(M) Communist Party of India (Marxist) CSR Customer Service Representative DGB Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund EFI Employers' Federation of India EU European Union FDI Foreign Direct Investment GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade GDP Gross Domestic Product GIS Geographical Information System HMS Hind Mazdoor Sangh HR Human Resource HRD Human Resource Development HRM Human Resource Management ICT Information and Communication Technology IHRM International Human Resource Management ILO International Labor Organization IMF International Monetary Fund INTUC Indian National Trade Union Congress IOC Indian Oxygen Company [Page xii]IR Industrial Relations IT Information Technology ITC Indian Tobacco Company ITES Information Technology-enabled Services ITS Information Technology Services JIT Just in Time MCC Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation MCPI Mitsubishi Chemical PTA India MIS Management Information System MNC Multinational Corporation MNE Multinational Enterprise NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement NASSCOM National Association of Software and Services Companies NIC Newly Industrializing Country NSS National Sample Survey OE Organizational Effectiveness QC Quality Circle SICA Sick Industrial Companies Act TPM Total Productive Maintenance TQC Total Quality Control TQM Total Quality Management TUC Trade Union Congress VRS Voluntary Retirement Scheme
This book presents changes in employment relations in India in the post-reform period. The term “Employment Relations” encompasses both Human Resource Management (HRM) and Industrial Relations (IR). Important issues in this include behaviors of workers and managers, their interactions, nature of work organizations, work practices, union representation, and their changes over time. The strength of this book lies in its comprehensive coverage of contemporary issues within the framework of rich theoretical argument.
Most studies on employment relations are on developed countries. They indicate existence of a finite set of dominant employment systems, where each system is identified by an interrelated set of inputs, processes, and outcomes. The recent changes indicate growing variations in employment relation practices within countries (divergences) and emerging commonalities in employment relation practices across countries (convergences). The “converging divergences” thesis in employment relations has been developed based on studies in the industrialized countries. This book examines validity of the thesis in Indian context and finds similar changes. Further, it examines the global factors that influence firms' employment relations. It examines how nature of industries, global [Page xiv]factors, and unionization influence the emerging commonalities and variations. It identifies how some firms in India are adopting world-class manufacturing practices and associated modern HRM practices, while others are unable to do so.
The book has nine chapters. Chapter 1 presents the theoretical framework for the study and puts objectives and scopes of the study in the context of work already done. Chapter 2 identifies the changes in the global and national environment in terms of economic, technological, legal, social, and political contexts. Chapter 3 examines shifts in capital-labor power balance, which has a major influence on firms' employment relations. It presents an account of the structure and functions of trade unions and their changes over time. Chapter 4 shows existence of four dominant patterns of employment relations in Indian textile industry: the low-wage pattern, the HRM pattern, the joint-team-based pattern, and the conflict pattern. The findings in the textile industry are then supported with examples from other industries. The textile industry does not capture all issues on changes in employment relations. Chapter 5 tries to fill up the gap; it examines the rapid and fundamental changes in employment relations in capital-intensive firms. Information and communications technology (ICT) has rewritten the agenda for the industrial world and has evolved new ideas of employee management. Chapter 6 examines employment relations in IT-enabled service (ITES) firms. Global factors now have major influence on firms' operations and it is not uniform across firms. The influences are more in multinational corporations (MNCs) than in local firms. Chapter 7 examines the global-local issues in employment relations and finds their impact on the growing variations in employment relations in India. Majority of workers in India work in small firms where employers most often directly control all aspects of workers' work life. Chapter 8 examines changes in employment relations in small firms. Chapter 9, the concluding chapter, aggregates the findings of the preceding chapters. It concludes that there are growing variations in employment relations within India and at the same time growing similarities of the variations with those in other countries.
[Page xv]The book is appropriate for students, professionals, academicians, and researchers. The global convergence issues in the book will attract readers interested in international and comparative employment relations. The various case studies presented in the book tell readers about the contemporary practices in HRM and how they differ across firms and across industries. They tell us about the new practices in HRM and how some firms have been successful in restructuring their organizations in the competitive environment. They explain how some firms have been successful in improvement of productivity, quality, and labor flexibility, while others have not. They describe how some firms have introduced modern practices like teamwork, multi-skilling, kaizen, quality circle (QC), total quality management (TQM), and 5S for housekeeping. The book covers important issues in managing people at work like selection and recruitment compensation, performance appraisal, training and retraining, employee communication, managing contract labor, dealing with unions, etc., which every professional in personal management would like to know.
My long stay for more than seven years as Labor Commissioner and Labor Secretary in West Bengal helped me to understand the field practices and the gap between the field practices and academic theories. My study in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, USA gave me the opportunity to learn advanced theoretical arguments on changes in employment relations with comparative and international perspectives. This book has been developed within the framework of the advanced theories in employment relations and with the ingredients of the field knowledge acquired during my assignments in the labor department. The book thus combines field practices in the real world of work with frontline theoretical argument in HRM and IR. I expect that the students and professionals in the field will find the book stimulating and rewarding.[Page xvi]
I have greatly benefited for this work from my dissertation committee members, Professor Sarosh Kuruvilla, Professor Harry Katz, and Professor Thomas J. DiCiccio. Their support and guidance have been invaluable. A special appreciation is due to Professor Kuruvilla for his inspiration and mentorship. Completion of this project would not have been possible without the generous financial support of Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell's Mario Einaudi Center, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. I am also grateful to Government of West Bengal and Government of India for granting me study leave and granting me permission for the Ph.D. program.
I would also like to thank Labor Department officials in the Government of West Bengal and other states in India, who helped me in contacting several managers and trade union leaders. They helped me to choose different firms for the study, provided me with information on individual firms and industries, and helped me to contact key persons for my research. I would also like to convey my thanks to the senior managers and trade union leaders who spared their valuable time and provided important information in relation to their firms and their employees or members.
[Page xviii]I would like to thank my wife Rupa and my son Kaustav for supporting me to concentrate on my work throughout the study. They accompanied me during my stay in Ithaca, put up with me through all the difficulties, and provided me with emotional support and encouragement to complete the work.
Finally, I dedicate this book to my mother, Smt. Mridula Das, who has always supported me in my endeavor, always given me the strength and encouragement to follow my dreams.
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About the Author[Page 247]
Subesh Das is presently working as the Principal Secretary to the Government of West Bengal. He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1982 and worked in different positions for the Government of West Bengal. During 1995–1996, he received a fellowship under the Colombo Plan for training in the United Kingdom and earned a master's degree in Economics in Social Development at the Centre of Development Studies, University of Swansea, UK. He worked as Labor Commissioner, West Bengal, in two phases: 1992–1995 and 1996–1999. As Labor Commissioner he was engaged in matters relating to conciliation of industrial disputes, enforcement of labor laws and collective bargaining agreements, labor welfare, and labor rights in West Bengal. After working in the government for seventeen years, Mr Das joined the Ph.D. program in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, United States. He has published articles in journals and edited volumes.