Conflict and Compromise
WE HAVE CONSIDERED top management's concern for the organization's survival and growth and the equal desire of the work force for job security, good wages, and attractive benefits. This chapter will explore how the conflicts inherent in these objectives are compromised so that each party can look forward to sufficient benefits to justify its continuing cooperation.
Evidence of the overlapping interests of management and workers is the continuing vitality of large organizations in an advanced economy along with strongly organized trade union. Nassau Senior, the first professor of political economy at the University of Oxford (early in the nineteenth century), prophesied that capitalists would soon be bankrupt if the workday were reduced from twelve to eleven hours; he believed the employer made his profits in the last hour of work. But in the century and a half since Senior made this forecast, workers have worked much less and have earned much more, and competent employers have had no difficulty in surviving, making profits, and expanding. Nassau Senior and his fellow economists looked upon the employer-employee relationship as a conflict in which the gains made by one party had to be paid for by the other. If workers succeeded in achieving an increase in wages, the profits earned by employers would inevitably be reduced, they believed. But the classical economists and, later, Karl Marx and his followers, left out of their forecasts the inevitable, if unforeseeable, changes in the employment relationship which are inherent in the dynamism of modern societies.
A review of six arenas will help to clarify the conflicts between management and workers in a modern economy in both profit and nonprofit