Preface – Employee Relations Management


Employee Relations Management is a textbook for students and practitioners of HRM (both beginners and specialists) who wish to learn the concepts, their applications and the latest trends in the field of industrial relations (IR). Based on our experiences as managers and instructors, we have attempted to write a textbook that is practical, contemporary and application-oriented. This book attempts to link actual happenings in industry with the existing body of knowledge that exists in this field. In our opinion, a clear understanding of both is necessary for developing an interest in the subject.

The Motivation for This Book

Having spent several decades in the industry and in academia, we have been acutely aware of the need for a textbook in the area of employee relations/industrial relations that clearly establishes the link between classrooms and workplaces. We sorely felt the need for a textbook that could make abstract concepts real, for both practising and aspiring managers and students. Since the subject matter of industrial relations is largely country-specific, we found that the available titles either leaned towards concepts and research or focused on wider coverage of the syllabuses.

As instructors at the postgraduate level, we needed a textbook that would cover the theoretical topics in the field of industrial relations; correlate the concepts to prevalent industry practices and real events; and pose probing, thought-provoking questions to enable students and instructors explore the topics. Further, we felt that a textbook should bring to life a few difficult areas in labour legislations. We believed that illustrations highlighting different situations inviting the application of various legislations, calculation of workmen's compensation, PF contributions, gratuity and bonus, etc. would be immensely helpful in a textbook.

From Industrial Relations to Employee Relations

We witnessed the profound effects of liberalization and other policy changes on industrial relations. We needed a textbook that would explain the concepts against the background of these changes in the economy and industry, describing the consequences of these changes on industrial relations and related concepts. So when we began working on this book, we made a conscious decision to emphasize the shift that is taking place as a result of liberalization and globalization. These two factors have forced employers, governments and trade unions to align to new realities. There is an ongoing paradigm shift from conflict resolution in traditional industrial relations to collaborative partnerships through employee relations management. Hence, the title of the book.

The Organization of the Book

Employee Relations Management is divided into four parts and comprises 18 chapters in all.

Part I covers the broad context, evolution, conceptual framework of industrial relations. It essentially deals with topics that were traditionally covered in a textbook of industrial relations. This is essential for a student new to the subject: it lays the conceptual foundation on which to build. However, here too, we have tried to establish their relevance to extant practices in industry, wherever possible. The evolution and growth of IR, IR in India and major economies of the world, trade unionism and trade unions in India are discussed in this part.

Part II focuses on the shift that is taking place in organizations, from the legacy practices of managing relationships through formal bodies of employees to a more direct, strategic approach.

Part III takes the readers through different aspects of labour administration and legislation. In this part, we have ensured that readers comprehend the laws instead of merely committing them to memory. The nature of conflicts and disputes, the measures for resolving them, process of bargaining and industrial discipline, wage and labour administration machinery have been covered in this part in detail.

Part IV covers the soft skills for a professional in the area of HRM/ERM, with special emphasis on negotiation skills.

The Teaching and Learning Package

A full range of resources that support teaching and learning is available with this book. The resources may be downloaded from

For Instructors

PowerPoint Lecture Slides comprising chapter outlines, major concepts, diagrams, chapter summaries are available for each chapter.

For Students

The Study Card captures key concepts and definitions from each of the chapters. It is designed to enable the reader to browse through the salient points of each chapter quickly.