There are interesting reactions of
people to industrial violence.
Violence in Industrial relations
is on the rise. Manesar violence was followed by another attack on a manager of
a retail stores in Delhi, and we also have a report about an assault on Everest
managers at Nasik.
HR fraternity denounced it; they
are coming up with a code of conduct. Employers’ organisations are reportedly
supporting it. Trade union leaders blamed it on the management policies.
Government officials blamed it on trade unions. The only community remaining
was the academicians and they are thinking of including Industrial relations in
their syllabus – the news report [link] says that IIMs are considering it. If so, lesser
brothers will follow the suit.
The fact is that IR got
de-emphasised completely in the past few years, or about 15 years. A very
reputed HR manager advised the Director of one Institute in a seminar of
students, that he should change the curriculum and drop IR subjects since they were
irrelevant. I listened to it with a shock. Fortunately the Director ignored the
ill-thought advice. In another instance, I was interviewing a candidate at a
premium management institute when he told me that I should not discuss any
labour law question with him as he had not read the subject. And I also know
that an institute of repute in Pune was considering offering labour laws as an
optional subject for MBA-HR course.
But the ‘clincher’ came when I
interviewed a young manager who was leaving the organisation to join a
consulting firm. At the end of the interview he said, “I will be dealing with
educated people now, not workers!” He considered it to be a matter of pride and
importance to deal with the educated [whether they were ‘learned’ is a different
matter] and clearly implied that it is a work of a ‘higher order’ than dealing
with workers. Management institutes can provide knowledge to young managers but
right attitudes? That’s a tall order.
The problem is that this attitude
of certain work being better than some other exists in the minds of management
graduates and this is generally true, though there could be exceptions. They think
that to do Finance is better than doing Accounts, Marketing is better than
Sales, Materials is better than Manufacturing, and yes, of course, HR is better
Take a look at the people you
will be dealing with: in Marketing you will deal with ad agencies [and meet
some models!], or people working on branding, but in Sales you will meet the
shop keepers who don’t speak the management jargons, perhaps don’t speak English
fluently. In manufacturing and IR you meet workers who belong to lower strata
of the society; they are probably not well educated lot.
Essentially it also discloses a
very negative attitude towards a certain section of the society. And that these
managers might make it to the top where they are supposed to define and
practise ‘values’ is not exactly an encouraging thought.
IIMs can teach students the
subject of IR, but will they succeed in imbibing good values of respect for
people as well as dignity of work at all levels? A tough call, but they must take it. No
Labels: ER, IIM, Industrial relations, IR, Manesar, Violence