The following link: [PDF] Symposium on John W. Budd: Employment with a...

The following link:

[PDF] Symposium on John W. Budd: Employment with a Human ...

Talk about the symposium on John W. Budd’s book, Employment with a Human Face: Balancing Efficiency, Equity, and Voice.

Now based on the reading what prescription can we take away on how to “make things right” in finding that balance between efficiency, equity and voice in the 21st century American workplace.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Long after muckraker Upton Sinclair's 1906 exposé of the shocking practice of the meat-packing business in Chicago's stockyards in The Jungle, the debate on labor practices and corporate greed continues. For, there seems but a pendulum swing of power from corporate management to labor unions. Certainly, much of the failure of two major American auto manufacturing companies can be attributed to the demand for inflated salaries by powerful labor unions whose actions reduced profits drastically, and by their standing in the way of efficient and quality workmanship because management was often prevented from dismissing ineffective workers. Budd observes,

In fact, U.S. research on employment issues increasingly focuses on the narrow issues of competitiveness and quality (that is, efficiency) of work policies and practices.

The analyses by Budd that extend beyond typical research create a foundation for reforming employment practices, social norms, and public policies by means of  "efficiency, equity, and voice. " "Voice" evolves with the instituting of human resource departments which seek to establish lines of open communication between management and labor, thus diminishing the roles of labor unions and despotic managers by creating a more harmonious environment in which each side contributes to the process of fair work practices. On p.87 of his book, Budd aptly contends,

Perfect competition depends on employers and employees being economic and legal equals in the labor market.

The important links to this communication Budd interposes, are the sense of partnership and the practice of ethics on the part of both management and labor; that is, the "pursuit of even-handedness." For, sound ethics will prevent self-interest from interfering in negotiations between management and labor. That partnership as Budd proposes actually works is evidenced in certain U.S. companies that were losing profits who offered to let their employees buy into the company and become shareholders. With such a vested interest in the success of the companies, these companies were able to bounce back from their economic threats because workers engaged more productively and efficiently in their jobs; they took fewer sick days, and became personally interested in the success of their company, thus reducing labor costs and increasing profits. Likewise, when an appeal to people's sense of ethical action is shown to increase productivity and profit (which benefits workers through raises, etc.), workers are inclined to put away selfish desires and "make things right," just as managers will "make things right" as they observe workers being more productive because they are given voice and treated with respect.