International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

I

IBN TAIMIAH, AHMAD ABDULHALEEM (1263-1329). An Islamic teacher, writer, and reformer, who sought to improve government and its leaders, and thereby rid society of immorality and corruption.

Ahmad Abdulhaleem Ibn Taimiah, was born in Harran, Syria. In 1268 he moved with his father to Damascus, Syria, where he got his education and became a very influential teacher and propagator of Islam. Ibn Taimiah is best known as a reformer because all of his writings and teachings were aimed at reforming the government and its leaders. He was raised in a religious family, where he learned the Qura'an and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

Ibn Taimiah was led by his belief that a society cannot be reformed unless the government and the leader are reformed first, because a corrupt government will result in a corrupt society. He was heavily influenced by the spread of nepotism, immorality, bribery, and all types of corruption during the second Abbasyah Caliphate, which led to the collapse of the Islamic state.

In Ibn Taimiah's reforming efforts, he wrote two major and influential books: Al-Syasah Al-Shara'yah fe Islah AlRa'ai wa Al-Ra'ayah (Islamic Policies for Reforming the Leader and the Followers); and Al-Hesbah wa Masa'oliat AlHukumat Al-Islamiah) Control and the Responsibility of the Islamic Government). In the first book, Ibn Taimiah talked in great detail about the selection and recruitment of government employees. His main criteria is that the person be qualified. For Ibn Taimiah, no other criteria should be considered if the goal is to have a government that functions well. He attributed the Islamic government's failure to protect its territories to the spread of corruption, which he believed is caused by the absence of a merit system. (Employees are appointed to government positions based on factors that have nothing to do with the job being performed and they are promoted on the basis of the same factors.)

In his second book, Ibn Taimiah detailed the responsibilities of the Islamic government and its employees from an Islamic perspective. He also provided the principles of government reform. According to him, reforming the government requires adherence to four major principles: (1) forbidding monopoly, (2) controlling prices, (3) providing services, and (4) fixing wages. Governments must adopt these principles, according to Ibn Taimiah, and they must also undertake their responsibilities efficiently, be accountable to the people, and must be governed by the principles of Islam, not by the desires of its leaders.

Ibn Taimiah's ideas of reform and views of the Islamic rulers agitated the caliphs. As a result, he was put in prison, where he died in 1329. His teachings continued to be influential after his death, however.

ABDULLAH M. AL-KHALAF

IMPASSE PROCEDURES. Methods developed to help end deadlocks in collective bargaining negotiations over the terms and conditions of employment and over grievances that arise from interpretations of the language and meaning of the contract. Impasse procedures are intended to provide alternatives to the strike, which is the most extreme form of impasse resolution. The most commonly used methods to end deadlocks other than the strike are mediation, fact-finding, and various forms of arbitration.

In rights disputes (those concerning interpretation of an existing contract), grievance machinery comes into play (see grievance machinery). Grievances not resolved during the first stages of the grievance process go to binding arbitration for final resolution. Arbitration helps avoid strikes during the term of a contract.

Interest disputes are those that develop during negotiations over the terms and conditions of a collective bargaining contract, including such issues as wage or benefit increases or reductions, reductions in force, and changes in staffing patterns or work rules. Ideally, the parties should work out their differences through collective bargaining. When such efforts have been exhausted short of an agreement, impasse resolution techniques are applied.

Dispute resolution techniques vary across laborrelations systems. In some nations and in many public jurisdictions in the United States, strikes are outlawed and impasse procedures are mandatory. In most European countries, rights disputes are submitted to labor courts or to general courts for resolution.

In the United States private sector, unions are guaranteed the right to strike by the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. As a result, third-party procedures such as mediation, fact-finding, and arbitration are used much less frequently than in the public sector. However, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an independent federal agency, is available for mediation or fact-finding services on a voluntary basis.

Compulsory impasse procedures must be followed by the disputing parties in most federal, state, and local jurisdictions in the United States when bargaining impasses are reached. The specific type of procedures may be mandated by law or by a labor board, or they may be negotiated by the parties. In some jurisdictions, the state labor board may unilaterally declare an impasse and intervene. There is much variation in the steps and types of impasse resolution techniques utilized. In some jurisdictions, dispute resolution begins with mediation, followed by fact-finding, and finally by binding arbitration. In other jurisdictions, mediation is followed immediately by arbitration.

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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