Managing of Human Resources and Employment Relationships in New Zealand's Retail Industry

By Andries J. Du Plessis and Sonja Paine.

Published by The Organization Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The highly competitive retail sector is the largest single employer and the ‘shop window’ in New Zealand. This article’s focus is to identify how effectively this sector is managed in terms of the relationship between the employers, employees and the government. The employment relationship in the retail sector is a tripartite system including the government, employees and employers. The ‘social contract’ that the government holds with the two other parties in the tripartite, also aims to regulate the employment relations for social and economic purposes. The role of the government assumes a secondary place in the tripartite. The major union in the retail sector, National Distribution Union, claims that union density is extremely low. The NZ Retailers Association represents the employers. Employment legislation in New Zealand is setting the guidelines for employers and parameters for the employees. From the research it is deduced that ‘job-based employment’ is the most widely used form of employment in the retail industry. A trend is moving away from traditional management styles whereby employees are viewed as a cost factor; retail managers are assessing the needs of flexible working hours. To have the manager responsible for human resources and employment relations issues could have harmful implications for the workplace relationships. In conclusion, government has its place but managing employment relationships should encompass the view that employers and employees have divergent needs and goals and it is of the interest to the two primary parties in the relationship to restore balance.

Keywords: Retail Sector, Conflict and Cooperation, Managing of HR and Employment, Relationships

The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.83-92. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 556.993KB).

Dr. Andries J. Du Plessis

Senior Lecturer, Unitec Business School, Unitec New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand

Senior Lecturer in under- and postgraduate programmes in Unitec Business School. Lecturing HRM, Strategic HRM, Employment Relations (ER), Strategy and Change, Organisation and Management. Joined Unitec 8 May 2002 in the School of Management and Entrepreneurship. PhD major in Employment Relations and Employment Law (dispute resolution mechanisms). Twenty eight years experience in practice in HR, ER, dispute resolution and negotiations. Research interests in Organisational Development, Change Management, Cultural differences,IHRM Diverse Workforces and the managing thereof.

Sonja Paine

Masters student, School of Management and Entrepreneurship, Unitec New Zealand, Mt Albert, Auckland, New Zealand

Extensive experience in the retail sector in New Zealand and internationally. Joined Unitec in 2000 and completed BBus degree and was awarded best student in HR in 2005. Currently in final year for MBus degree with major in HR.


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