Non-union form of Employee Representation


The discussion revolves around the non-union form of employee representation. Organizational theories have been identified as the ultimate theories for supporting the discussion. To be precise, the Rational System Perspective theory has been used in this case. There is a brief description of the theory, which is encompassed by a discussion that shows its correlation to the topic of discussion. The theory is based on formalization and specificity of goals at the workplace. These elements enable the organization to move forward in the desired manner. There are theories about the implementation of non-union representation suggesting that employers adopt it as a way of preventing employees from joining unions. My experience working in a previous organization shows a different viewpoint. The objectives that were at play showed that this form of representation was meant to make the workplace more favorable, but not a form of suppressing employees’ bargaining power. This is where the correlation of the Rational System Perspective theory and objectives involved in the adoption of the non-union representation comes in. It has been clearly elaborated throughout the paper. The objectives of non-union representations have been discussed in detail based on my previous work experience. The outcomes of the discussion are that non-union presentation aims at ensuring that there is a positive relationship between employers and employees, alignment of common interest and ensuring employees’ involvement in decision making.


Several theories can be used in support of this discussion. Among them are the organizational theories. The most relevant organizational theory, in this case, is the Rational System Perspective theory. The theory involves two vital elements; formalization and specificity of goals. When the goals are specified, there is a provision of guidelines on how various tasks ought to be executed with a precise degree of regulated resource allocation (Miles, 2012). Formalization, on the other hand, aims at deriving a path for standardizing organizational behavior. This results in the establishment of stable expectations that result in the development of rational organizational systems. The relevance of the Rational System Perspective theory in this discussion emanates based on the notions and theories promulgated by some individuals regarding non-union employee representations. Some people argue that adoption of this form of representation is a way of organizations to avoid union mechanisms either by effect or intent. The propensity to join unions is reduced in light of this form of representation since employees fear the management’s reprisal (Gollan, 2014).

Use of the Rational System Perspective theory shows a different outlook on the non-union form of employee representation. The theory revolves around rationalizing individual employees in order to increase the output given the least amount of input possible. This is done through the provision of incentive systems, making sure that work is done efficiently/timely, dividing work between employees and managers, aligning the goals of the employees and the organization among other things. The objectives of non-union employee representation seem to revolve around these tenets too. The primary objective is that of improving the organization’s performance while taking care of the interests of the employees. This point of argument comes from the experience derived from my previous workplace. Non-union form of employee representation was quite common in the organization. The employer seemed to favor this approach due to the benefits that it was deemed to bring to the organization. It was not necessarily a way of preventing employees from joining unions. It was more of ensuring that things are working in an optimal manner.

From the general outlook, adoption of non-union representation had several objectives. Among the objectives is that the organization aimed at establishing a progressive vision with regards to employee relations. The organization had a focus on high performance at the workplace. As a result, there was a need to develop harmonious relationships with workers. There was a belief that these forms of relationships had the capacity to avail tangible benefits (though it is quite exasperating to quantify the benefits). It is easier to foster and advance genuine labor-management harmony through this form of representation. This guarantees there is no bad blood between the employer and employees hence a conducive environment is created at the workplace (Dundon et al., 2011). Non-union representation also had the objective of aligning the common interests of the employer and employees. This is something that is not very common with unions since they are perceived as being more independent entities. As a result, unions tend to operate in separate domains, where they pursue agendas that conflict with those of the employer (Kaufman & Taras, 2016). Non-union representation aligns employees with the management goals. This ensures that activities conducted in the organization are executed in the most optimal way possible. This brings about efficiency at the workplace, something which is in line with the Rational System Perspective theory. Non-union employee representation was also used as a mechanism for ensuring that employees are involved in decision making on various matters involved with the organization. This was more so with matters that were likely to affect them directly. Involvement of employees was through the means of consultation before making some decisions. This was an indication that the organization viewed its employees with high regard. When employees are consulted before some decisions are made, they feel as being part of the entity. It becomes easier to implement changes since there is no rejection from the side of employees (Butler, 2009). The aspect works in improving organizational performance in the long-run as a result.

The objectives associated with the non-union forms of representation had succeeded in the organization. There was a better relationship between the managers and the employees. This is because employees found it easy to communicate through their representatives without facing the threat of suffering any negative consequences. This aspect was among the factors that resulted in the improved performance in the workplace. The employees viewed the employer as having their best interest at heart and hence put in more effort in order to repay in kind. Wilkinson (2014) asserts that a healthy relationship between employers and employees enables employees to be forthcoming; hence most of the issues affecting them are likely to be resolved. The alignment of the employer’s and employees’ interests seemed to be feasible too. The ultimate goal of the organization was to operate in a manner that ensured they remained competitive and profitable for an extended period. The employees had also adopted this notion. This is because the going concern of the organization meant they would remain employed and make a living out of the relationship established. Employees were involved in making decisions that were likely to affect them. Their involvement was through the relevant representatives.  This was vital in eliminating possible resistance to changes since the employees were part of the decisions used to arrive at certain conclusions.

To conclude, there are various theories and notions derived with regards to why organizations tend to adopt non-union forms of employee representation. Some of the theories are inclined into suggesting that the objective of the organization is to deter the employees from joining unions. However, this is not the case based on the experience that I had at my previous workplace. The main objectives here were those of ensuring that there is a positive correlation between the interests of the employees and those of the employer. Ensuring that employees are involved in crucial decision making was also among the objectives. This ensured that employers are not presented with the opportunity of manipulating the employees. These objectives are in line with the Rational System Perspective theory that focuses on formalization and specificity of goals. When employees are harmonized, and they share similar goals with the employer, it becomes easier to create a standardized organizational behavior. In return, this results in the creation of a rational organizational system. This ensures that the organization maximizes on its activities.


Employers tend to implement non-union forms of employee representation with several objectives in mind. Most of the times, the focus is usually on the organization. This is by ensuring that everything works for the good of the organization. Modern day employers are quite familiar with the concept that employees are an integral part of any enterprise (Heery, 2009). For this reason, they are careful with the decisions that they make regarding them. This is the reason why there is an initiative to make the non-union form of representation more appealing to them rather than use it as a way of taking advantage. They use it as a tool for improving relationships with employees and involving them in decision making. This ensures that employees feel appreciated, and there is the likelihood of improved performance at the workplace.



Butler, P. (2009). Non-union employee representation: exploring the riddle of management strategy. Industrial Relations Journal, 40(3), 198-214.

Dundon, T., Wilkinson, A., & Ackers, P. (2011). The Management of Voice in Non-Union Organisations: Managers perspectives. Non-Union Voice.

Gollan, P. (2014). Non-union employee representation in the United Kingdom. Management Strategies and Union Responses, 294.

Gollan, P. J. (2015). Voice and involvement at work: Experience with non-union representation. New York: Routledge.

Heery, E. (2009). The representation gap and the future of worker representation. Industrial Relations Journal, 40(4), 324-366.

Kaufman, B., & Taras, D. (2016). Nonunion Employee Representation: History, Contemporary Practice and Policy. New York: Routledge.

Miles, J. A. (2012). Management and organization theory: A Jossey-Bass reader. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wilkinson, A. (2014). Handbook of research on employee voice. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub.


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