From Democratic Participation to Shared Values: Improving Employee-Employer Interactions to Achieve Win-Win Situations

From Democratic Participation to Shared Values: Improving Employee-Employer Interactions to Achieve Win-Win Situations

Wenzhi Zheng (Huaqiao University, China), Yen-Chun Jim Wu (National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan) and Meizhi Xu (Huaqiao University, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0948-6.ch022
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A low-level equilibrium exists between low investment among employers and low loyalty among employees in private enterprises, and this is because enterprises follow the laws of the market and wait for changes in labor relations. On the basis of theoretical analysis, this paper establishes a process model to achieve high-level equilibrium between employees and employers and win–win situations. First, enterprises should follow social-exchange laws and create their management philosophies accordingly, in addition to exploring collective targets set including their interaction paths. Second, enterprises should be active and take the first step to improve labor relations through a participative style of management. The ensuing change in employee cognition leads to positive organizational behavior and positive interactions, with the realization of mutual benefit and win–win situations as possible final results. Democratic participative management is a necessary condition for the creation of win–win situations, which can effectively avoid the disequilibrium of high employer investment and low employee loyalty that contributes to labor shortages in China.
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Theoretical Boundaries Cause Employers And Employees To Act Independently

Adam Smith (1776) stated that division of labor in the process of industrialization produced conflicts in labor relations. To solve the conflict and noncooperation arising from this division of labor, Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb promoted the concept of industrial democracy (ID). Moreover, the Western industrial revolution fueled theories of participative management such as an early profit-sharing system. Rapid economic development led to constant management revolutions in this field such as the cooperation mechanism found in Taylorism, humanistic management theory developed from behavioral science, institutional collective bargaining, and empiricism. These theories gradually split into two branches of research: One of these branches considers “weak employees, strong employers,” stressing the achievement of cooperation and harmony, namely traditional ideas associated with the nature of industrial relations (IR) with an emphasis on external systems; the other branch is based on internal requirements, or employee relations (ER), emphasizing harmonious labor relations and cooperation from the perspective of management efficiency. These two divergent perspectives have resulted in substantial differences of understanding and countermeasures about harmony.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Win-Win: Negotiation philosophy in which all parties to an agreement or deal stand to realize their fair share (not 100%) of the benefits or profit.

Harmonious Labor Relations: The interactions between employees and employers that ensure a fully integrated and supportive organization, where employees and employers have shared values and win–win goals.

Interaction: Mutual actions between one participant and another in their social life and workplace.

Shared Values: Explicit or implicit fundamental beliefs, concepts, and principles in the culture of an organization that guide the decisions and behavior of its employees, management, and members.

Private Enterprise: The basis of a free-market capitalist system, consisting of business units established, owned, and operated by private individuals for profit, instead of by or for any government or its agencies.

Democratic Participation: Employees have opportunities to participate in decision making to achieve industrial democracy in the workplace.

Chinese Labor Market: This system has undergone significant change in the past 20 years. Although China has a population of 1.3 billion, a labor shortage exists because of the rapid development of the manufacturing industry.

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