An examination of certain aspects of industrial relations ideologies : a theoretical analysis and an empirical study of managers
Geare, Alan J.
The field of study of this research, namely industrial relations ideologies, is rich in theoretical writings but destitute in empirical research. Much of the writing, and consequential academic argument, has been undertaken without any explicit definition of the subject matter. Similarly, the assertions which are made about the extent to which ideologies are adhered to, are made without any supporting data. This thesis concentrates in particular on the industrial relations ideology of managers. The thesis discusses and defines the concept of "industrial relations ideology" after first examining the separate concepts of "ideology" and of "industrial relations". The three industrial relations ideologies which are prominent in the literature are the Unitary, the Pluralist and the Radical Ideologies, although only the first two are assumed to be held by managers. The thesis defines all three ideologies fully, in terms of the proposed definition. This necessitates the examination of each ideology in three different senses - empirical, normative and prescriptive. The thesis describes the design, and testing of a research instrument, the Geare Ideology Measurement Index (G. I. M. Index). The G. I. M. Index was created primarily to determine whether, and if so, to what extent, managers actually adhered to the particular ideologies in each of the three different senses. In addition, results from the use of the Index, together with other data would be used to test a number of research hypotheses, as outlined below. The G. I. M. Index was incorporated in an extensive questionnaire and was sent to a sample of 1,910 Rest Australian and New Zealand managers. A total of 741 usable returns was obtained. Given the size and complexity of the questionnaire, the response rate of nearly 40 percent is exceedingly good. The results were analysed using the SPSS-X21 computer package. The empirical study tests hypotheses relating to the proportion of managers who are unitarist, pluralist or a mixed ideology combining elements of both. It also tests the extent to which managers' ideologies may vary according to both the sense in which the ideology is being tapped (empirical, normative or prescriptive) and also the level of abstraction (general - that is, society as a whole, or specific -that is, the manager's own organisation). The study compares the ideologies of general managers as opposed to personnel/industrial relations managers and tests the effect of training upon ideology. By the use of regression techniques, the study has identified the degree to which a large number of job and personal variables can explain differences in ideology. The study has also examined the extent to which managers with different ideologies also differ in their attitudes and perceptions towards topics - other, of course, than those used initially to determine their ideology. In all, some eleven major research hypotheses were tested along with two groups of supplementary hypotheses.
Advisor: Moore, Ron; Howells, John
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Management
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis
ix, 437 leaves ; 30 cm. Bibliography: leaves 423-437. University of Otago department: Management.