A particular feature of this unit is the series of debates. These debates provide a medium through which students are able to address several of the main issues addressed in the unit. The debates also provide the central focus for the second assessment item. Debate groups will be organised during session 1.
1) An introduction in which you provide an overview of the issues to be discussed.
2) Your own (individual) reflections on each of the four debate topics in turn, in which you summarise for each topic: the affirmative case; the negative case; and your own considered opinion on the debate statement.
3) A conclusion in which you assess the overall value of the debates and case studies in assisting your understanding of strategic employment relations.
In your discussion you should refer to the relevant weekly readings, case studies, audiovisual materials and other sources you consider appropriate.
Session 3a Through the glass ceiling. Case: Fall from grace or glass ceiling. Debate 1: ‘In Australia, the “bamboo ceiling’ represents a greater challenge than the “glass ceiling”.’ Readings: M.S. Baumgartner and D.E. Schneider, 'Perceptions of women in management: a thematic analysis of razing the glass ceiling'. J. Zhu and H. Tung, ‘The call for Asian cultural diversity in the legal profession’
Session 3b Internationalisation, consumption and labour rights. Case: Core international labour standards and the World Trade Organisation. Debate 2: ‘Australian consumers would gladly pay $2 more per garment, if it meant better pay and conditions for Bangladeshi workers.’ Reading: I.M. Taplin, ‘Who is to blame? A re-examination of fast fashion after the 2013 factory disaster in Bangladesh’
Session 4a Transnational employment and expatriate experiences. Case: Chicago Food & Beverage Company: the challenge of managing international assignments. Debate 3: ‘Transnational companies should employ local senior managers rather than expatriates.’ Reading: M.G. Harvey, M.R. Buckley and M.M. Novicevic, ‘The role of realistic job previews and expectation lowering procedures for expatriate managers’
Session 4b The ‘gig economy’ and the future of work. Case: Uber Eats imposes “unfair contracts” and ruins deliveries, restaurateurs allege. Debate 4: ‘The “gig economy” signals the end of full-time employment.’ Reading: A. Todoli-Signes, ‘The “gig economy”: employee, self-employed or the need for a special regulation’.
Session 3a: The Dominance of the Bamboo Ceiling
Strategic employment relations are the different strategies that are adopted by an organisation to build relationships with their employees so that the employees stay loyal to the organisation and are committed to their work. To understand the concept of strategic employment relations four debate topic will be analysed in this study. The first topic will argue about the dominance of the bamboo ceiling over the glass ceiling and the challenges that come with it in Australia. The second topic will argue on the fact that the consumers of Australia will pay $2 more when they purchase garments if they realise that this money would go to the Bangladeshi workers and improve their pay and working conditions. The third topic debates on the recruitment of senior manager of the local areas rather than expatriates in transnational companies. The final topic argues that full-time employment is coming to an end because of the gig economy that has emerged. The positive and negative arguments will be discussed in this study along with opinions.
Jane Hyun coined the concept of the bamboo ceiling in the year 2005 which addresses the different barriers that are faced in the professional scenario by various Asian American individuals based on racism or stereotypes that exist in the surrounding (Hartlep 2013). Additionally, the concept of glass ceiling means that a certain demographic level will be stopped from growing to a certain level in the hierarchy of the organisation. Jahangirov et al. (2015) state that the glass ceiling is a more prevalent practice in Australia as opposed to the bamboo ceiling as women of any religion or caste are not given equal opportunities as men from diverse culture. In previous times, women were still placed behind men in the professional environment and hence had to pursue jobs as nurses, teachers and others. Even in these jobs, the pay was very low, and the working conditions were terrible. However, Li (2014) argues that bamboo ceiling is a concept which is more dominant over the concept of the glass ceiling as the issues in employment is more evident among the Asian Americans irrespective of their gender. Many firms in Australia still do not hire people who are of Asian American origin. According to this research, it can be said that the bamboo ceiling is a much more significant challenge than glass ceilings in Australia. In my opinion, bamboo ceiling exists more in current times as many pieces of evidence show that both men and women of Asian American origin are not promoted or given scope for growth in several firms.
The Rana Plaza incident has highlighted the dangerous working conditions of the workers in Asian factories. Several Bangladeshi men and women have died due to the collapse of the building (Akhter 2014). There have been several other incidents in Bangladesh as well which have been hazardous to the health and lives of the workers. To improve the working conditions of the workers, it is also necessary to increase their pay which will only happen when the buyers are willing to pay a little more amount for each garment that they buy. Taplin (2014) has stated that people in current times are used to cheap fashion, and they are not willing to pay more for the clothes that they buy. Even if they are aware of the conditions of the workers, they do not wish to pay more than they are already paying and resort to becoming the villains. The innocent workers are stuck in this scenario without any fault of their own. On the other hand, Hobson (2013) argues that most people do not want the workers to die for a clothing that they are purchasing at a cheap price and are willing to pay a little more amount if it means that the workers will be giving more pay and a better working condition and place where they can work safely without any risk to their lives. In my opinion, people who purchase cheap clothes can pay $2 extra without it affecting their lives. However, this will create a drastic effect on the lives of the workers who are subjected to daily risks and hazardous working conditions. Every little amount that is paid by the consumers would mean a considerable amount to the workers and also help in their wages and alteration in their working conditions. This initiative could save a lot of lives of the workers who work hard to make these clothes.
Session 3b: Paying More for Better Working Conditions
Human resources are an integral part of an organization, and they influence the give them a competitive edge to the organisation depending on their performance. Transnational companies often face issues during their recruitment process on whether to hire expatriate or the local senior managers (?lusarczyk and Golnik 2014). The expatriates are individuals who are employment away from their home country, and the local senior managers are the ones who are a resident of the state that the company is operating in. Based on this aspect Vaiman, Haslberger and Vance (2015) argue that expatriates are more accustomed to international assignment and are used to working and socialising in a transnational organisation for long periods of time. They are also knowledgeable about the different corporate policies and network which would help them to give more productivity and form better and profitable strategies for the organisation. However, Bassino, Dovis and van der Eng (2015) state that the local senior managers will have more knowledge about their home country and also about the different connections of the local business. This knowledge can be very beneficial for the transnational organisation as it will allow the firm to gain several local resources which are economically valuable and also help them to learn about and adapt to the environment of that country. Regarding this case, I think that is important for an organisation first to employ those individuals who have good skill sets and knowledge regarding the field that they will be working in. However, for a transnational organisation, it is essential that they employ those individuals who can give them inside knowledge about the country that they are operating in. Hence, it can be beneficial to hire local senior managers so that they would help the organisation to adapt to the local surroundings. On the other hand, it is of utmost importance to also hire people who will be able to manage the different multinational assignments which occur in the organizations, and the expatriates are the better choice as opposed to local senior managers as they have better knowledge about handling multinational and foreign assignments.
The emergence of the gig economy has led to many changes in the job environment and the employment of people. The gig economy consists of flexible jobs which are temporary in nature and contractual basis (Friedman 2014). There has been much debate on the dominance of the gig economy over full-time employment in current times and also that people these days favour temporary job rather than permanent ones. Companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Lyft and such others have adapted to the concept of gig economy. According to Lehrer (2016), the individuals in current times are still inclined to working full time rather than being associated with temporary or gig economy. The reason for this is due to the increase in the security of jobs because of the rise in population, people want to be associated with the same employer for a long time so that they can ensure their job security. These people would not be inclined to be employed on a contractual basis as these temporary jobs do not offer them long-term employment and security. Hence, the emergence of the gig economy would not be a threat to full-time jobs. However, Todolí-Signes (2017) argues that several individuals are in favour of the gig economy because of the nature of the work that this temporary employment provide to the workers. The individuals would be self-employed which means that they would have the independence to work for multiple employers and also to accept or reject a task on their own will and even choose their working hours. Due to the advantage that these workers are getting from the temporary jobs, full-time employment can be at risk in the hands of the gig economy. In my opinion, both types of work have their advantages and disadvantages; however full-time employment provides the one things that gig economy lacks and that is providing the worker with a safe and secure job and payment structure which is most required in the current changing times.
From the above debates, it can be deduced that several case studies and debates can be helpful in understanding the concept of strategic employment relations as they provide real-life examples and situations which can give in-depth knowledge about the occurring in the business scenarios. Cast studies help to understand the different scenarios that are happening in the world, and they also provide different types of situations as no case study is the same. Debates on the other hand help to understand the judgements that are for the topic and against the subject with a clear understanding about the fact that every scenario has two sides which need to be appropriately evaluated before providing an opinion. Hence, to understand strategic employment relations, the evaluation of case studies and debates were beneficial.
Akhter, S., 2014. Endless misery of nimble fingers: The Rana Plaza disaster. Asian Journal of Women's Studies, 20(1), pp.137-147.
Bassino, J.P., Dovis, M. and van der Eng, P., 2015. Do Japanese MNCs use expatriates to contain risk in Asian host countries?. Asia Pacific Business Review, 21(3), pp.383-402.
Friedman, G., 2014. Workers without employers: shadow corporations and the rise of the gig economy. Review of Keynesian Economics, 2(2), pp.171-188.
Hartlep, N.D., 2013. The model minority stereotype: Demystifying Asian American success. IAP.
Hobson, J., 2013. To die for? The health and safety of fast fashion.
Jahangirov, N., Ari, G.S., Jahangirov, S. and Tosunoglu, N.G., 2015. The relationship between glass ceiling and power distance as a cultural variable by a new method. International Journal of Organizational Leadership, 4(4), p.465.
Lehrer, E., 2016. The future of work. Natl Aff, 28, pp.35-52.
Li, P., 2014. Hitting the Ceiling: An Examination of Barriers to Success for Asian American Women. Berkeley J. Gender L. & Just., 29, p.140.
Taplin, I., 2014. Who is to blame? A re-examination of fast fashion after the 2013 factory disaster in Bangladesh. critical perspectives on international business, 10(1/2), pp.72-83.
?lusarczyk, B. and Golnik, R., 2014. The recruitment process in transnational corporations. Polish Journal of Management Studies, 10.
Todolí-Signes, A., 2017. The ‘gig economy’: employee, self-employed or the need for a special employment regulation?. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 23(2), pp.193-205.
Vaiman, V., Haslberger, A. and Vance, C.M., 2015. Recognizing the important role of self-initiated expatriates in effective global talent management. Human Resource Management Review, 25(3), pp.280-286.
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