Queen's University IRC

Research Briefs – January 2014

Queen's University IRC - Research Briefs

   Bringing Practitioner-Focused Research to People Management Practitioners

Jan. 2014   



In This Issue

  1. Developing Organizations:
    A Metaphorical View
  2. Flashback Feature:
    The Development and Enforcement of the Collective Agreement
  Grant Hall, Queen's University  

Developing Organizations:
A Metaphorical View

Brenda Barker Scott, Queen's IRC Facilitator

Can organizations be designed to grow people? With the emphasis on talent and knowledge management in today's uber-competitive business context, the assumption certainly seems to be yes. The reality, however, is that many organizations fail to develop or tap the competence of their people. Referring to the problem of pervasive disengagement amongst today's workforce, Gary Hamel (2012) laments that organizational systems are more likely to "frustrate extraordinary accomplishment than to foster it" (p. 137). Just what is the relationship between people development and organizational development? Can organizations be designed to foster both? How are our views about this relationship evolving?

To ponder these questions, I trace the evolution of how theorists and practitioners have viewed organizations, and the development of people within them. My viewfinder for this journey will be the lens of metaphor. For, suggests Morgan (2006), the images, frames and perspectives we bring to the study of organizations very much shapes what we can know about them. If the way that we understand organizations and shape management practices is based on implicit metaphor, then what might we see — about preferred structures, practices, and models of organizational life — as we adopt alternative worldviews? Just as importantly, with each change of the viewfinder, what might we miss?

I begin with the mechanistic lens, often associated with Frederick Taylor's (1911) scientific management. Here organizations are viewed as machines and people development is focused on isolating and perfecting skills in service of operational efficiency. With the advent of the human relations movement, an organic view of the organization emerged. Pioneering theorists Elton Mayo (1933), Abraham Maslow (1943), and Kurt Lewin (1947) identified the important linkages between employee aims and motivations, the social and technical environment, and organizational performance. More recently, those espousing the contextualist worldview place practice, within one's workplace community, as the core lens through which human and organizational development are explored.

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Flashback Feature:
The Development and Enforcement of the
Collective Agreement

C.H. Curtis

The collective agreement is the basic corner-stone of collective bargaining in North America. From its beginning the problem of making the provisions of collective agreements binding on the parties who entered into them has been a major concern of unions, employers, employees and increasingly of public authorities.

This paper, originally published in 1966, traces in depth the historical development of procedures in Canada for the enforcement of collective agreement provisions. The main emphasis is upon those methods developed by Canadian legislatures to provide orderly means of enforcement and thus contribute to a greater stability of union-management relations.

The author, Professor C. H. Curtis, was a Professor of Industrial Relations in the School of Business, and Faculty Associate in the Industrial Relations Centre, at Queen's University. This paper reflects the author's experience in the field of industrial relations, as a teacher, as a researcher and author, and as a well-known and respected chairman of arbitration and conciliation boards in Canada.

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Upcoming 2014 Programs

Labour Relations Foundations
Feb 23-28, 2014
June 2-6, 2014

Organizational Design
Feb 26-28, 2014
April 14-16, 2014

Change Management
March 3-6, 2014
April 28-May 1, 2014

Managing Unionized Environments
March 4-6, 2014
June 10-12, 2014
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Advanced Human Resources
March 18-20, 2014

Organization Development Foundations
March 24-27, 2014

Talent Management
Regina: March 31-April 1, 2014
May 5-6, 2014

Mastering Fact-Finding and Investigation
April 1-4, 2014

Strategic Workforce Planning
April 2-3, 2014

Negotiation Skills
April 6-11, 2014
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NEW Linking HR Strategy to Business Strategy
April 23-25, 2014
June 4-6, 2014

Building Smart Teams
April 28-May 1, 2014

Dispute Resolution Skills
May 4-8, 2014

NEW HR Decision Making
May 7-8, 2014

Strategic Grievance Handling
May 13-16, 2014

Labour Arbitration Skills
May 25-29, 2014
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