In this study researchers have innovated a novel HRM framework by focusing on the Bangladeshi listed and large-scale manufacturing organisations. To execute the smooth HRM processes, these organizations have developed their distinctly customized HRM policies and practices those contain necessary HRM perspectives and themes. Nevertheless, in this study two new perspectives regarding managing grievances management system and employees’ rights standards have been addressed and mapped in this framework with each other. Bangladesh Govt. has declared an isolated regulation naming the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 for all the Bangladeshi listed organizations, where various sections and provisions are included and highlighted regarding employee rights and employees’ grievance management. Nevertheless, researchers applied multiple case studies method in twelve companies and took in-depth interviews to analyze and map these two perspectives in the HRM framework for sustainability. Collected data have been organized and analyzed by using NVIVO Mac and the connections between the themes are developed by using Amos on high level. Findings revealed that perspective named ‘employees’ rights’ has three themes named UDHR, ILO and BDL and the other perspective named ‘grievance management system’ has three themes also named ‘Turnover’, ‘Absenteeism’ and ‘Visible expression of grievances’.
Keywords: Human Resource Management FrameworkEmployee rightsGrievance management systemUniversal Declaration of Human RightsInternational Labour OrganizationsBangladesh Labour law
Several Bangladeshi listed manufacturing companies perceive Human resource management (HRM) as a substantial practice. Researchers have implemented multiple case studies (MCS) method in twelve companies by conducting thorough interviews with the participants to critically analyze the employees’ rights’ and their grievance management procedures and have collected data by phase 1: preliminary study and phase 2: fieldwork. Khatri et. al, (1999) mentioned that in an organization employees exist as the core assets, but in reality, the literature gaps revealed that behind the rhetoric it exploits the employees since HRM functions indirectly treacherously by control in the name of compliance’ that accentuates employees’ need and their loyalty in an organization but not employees’ grievances or their rights are focused (Willmott, 1993). This is why, in 2013 Dipboye and colleague found that managers sometimes find HRM ‘insufficient’ while decisions making because of the absence of grievance handling procedures. Therefore, the problem of this study states that inspite of existing separate employee rights guidelines and their grievances control procedures, deprivations exist occur the research questions seek to find this diversity in various companies and intend to introduce the mapped HRM framework.
Background and Literature Review
Various incidents around the world as well in Bangladesh drove this study one mile extra and gave a background to observe deeply. These incidents clearly reveal the suppression against their rights and grievances. Event One: Compa and Feinstein (2012) mentioned that Nilsa R. Risuez, employee of German Deutsche-Post gave interview to ‘Human-Rights Watch’, where she pointed out that no employees have rights to raise flags and are fired in a moment for no reason. The supervisors affront the employees by creating terror of ‘losing the job’. Event Two: Greek Cosco shipping company, not only discard ‘Labour Union’ but also restricted them from toilet breaks by asking them to urinate into the sea (Vassilopoulos, 2014). Event three: At Savar Bangladesh, Rana-plaza that was a multifaceted building collapsed with four manufacturing organisations and 2500 employees leaving a 1124 death-toll. Managers were alerted much earlier regarding the probable collapse by the engineers but they still forced the employees to work with ‘life risk’ (Siddiqui & Uddin, 2016). Two common factors found here are not focused in many ‘HRM policies and practices’ of the companies’, which are (i) the employees’ rights, that is an embedded universal right of a human being or employee as per UDHR and (ii) the grievance control platform as per Fitzpatrick (2006), which needs instant discussion but if delayed then faces forfeiture and difficult to win over. Global benchmarks ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR’,‘International Labour Organization, ILO’ and ‘Bangladeshi guideline ‘Bangladesh Labour Act, BDL’ have parameters to protect employee rights.
1) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): In 1948, United Nation’s General Assembly (GA) adopted UDHR and described it as ‘the first global expression of Human Rights’ for humankind. As per United Nation’s report the World War-II occurrences drove UDHR’s establishment. Then, GA enhanced into a core association by embracing the member-states’ in an annual meeting (United_Nations, 2015). UN established one ‘significant GA-resolution’ by ‘UDHR’ and ‘two international-treaties’. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1966 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) of 1966 got adopted in 1948 (United_ Nations, 2015). As per Williams (1981), these two covenants got ratified and keyed into force in Bill, in 1976, which became a portion of International Law.
Three UDHR articles among 30 articles have emphasized Employees’ rights. As per United_ Nations (1945), UDHR’s Article-23:1, each employee has work-right (employment, remuneration and compensation package), Article-23:2, each employee can choose his /her work (work environment, culture and job security), Article-23:3, each employee deserves right a just and favourable remuneration (health insurance, children protection, medical aid, social support, safeguard from accidents, provident fund, gratuity, insurances), Article-23:4, each employee has the right to get protection against unemployment (Legal help), Article-23:5, each employee has got right to uniform pay –no discrimination (remuneration, gratuity, provident fund, bonus) , Article-23:6, each employee deserves to be honoured and worthy as a human being (dignity, social status) and Article-23:7, each employee has the right to design or join trade-unions to protect his/her interests (trade union), Article-24, each employee has the right to rest and leisure (maternity leave, leisure hours), Article-25:1, each employee deserves a standard living with satisfactory health and well-being of himself and of his family (suitability insurance, medical aid, family support facilities) and Article-25:2, each employee has the right to singular protection, support and attention for motherhood and childhood the thereby guaranteeing a self-worth (maternity leave, maternity insurance, children protection, self-esteem), and augmented, if obligatory, by other methods of social security.
2) International Labour Organizations (ILO): International Labour Organization (ILO) has certain protocols recognizing various rights of an employee to protect these at workplace, by prearrangement of work-security by implying that employees are ‘human-beings’ and not mere ‘working-tools’ (Handbook …, 2012). Shekhar (2012) stated five key-points of ILO, which are ‘Trade-Union’, ‘HRM’, ‘recruitment and selection’, ‘HR components’, ‘industrial relations’. The sole tripartite muster of ILO offers an uniform voice to workforces, managers and governments to safeguard all insights. ILO was originated during WWI, to follow a dream of finding lasting peace by instituting social-justice. ILO became UN’s first dedicated organization in 1946 with ‘dedicated protocols-conventions and articles’ to guard ‘manufacturing organizations’ employee rights’ sanctioned at different times. These ILO protocols are ‘P155 (2002): occupational safety and health’, ‘P147 (1996): the merchant shipping’, ‘P110 (1982): the plantations’, ‘P089 (1948): the night work of women’, ‘P081 (1999): the labour inspection’ and ‘P029 (2014): the forced labour’. Meanwhile, ILO conventions got accepted and applied at various times with thorough descriptions in distinct articles. As an example, Convention ‘Discrimination (Employment and Occupation)’ has been openly defined in the Articles 1 to 14.
3) Bangladesh Labour-Law (BDL): Bangladesh Labour Law was endorsed in 1997. Nevertheless, it was improved in 2006 that included 25 Labour Laws ‘after prolonged tripartite negotiations’. Number of substances like retirement allowance, reimbursement for both dead and permanently disable employees, employees’ provident-fund, chastisement for sexual persecution etc got introduced in this Act (Bangladesh Employers' Federation BEF, 2009). Bangladesh Employers’ Federation, BEF formulated the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 by working underneath the ILO canopy and made BDL Certain obligatory. In the following Table
Marconi et al (2016) described that the export of manufactured goods and the change of productive structure in manufacturing companies brought today’s changes in labour management. Vasudevan, Sharma & Kumar (2005) a decade ago also mentioned, due to changes in manufacturing companies changes occurred in employees’ consumption patterns in Asia as well as in Bangladesh. Therefore, the moment employees become a tool to earn revenues, treatment towards them changes negatively. At different decades that the labour supply relationship in a manufacturing organization are considered as a demand-orientated approach in which “there is no systematic relation between the growth of manufacturing wages and the supply of labour to that sector” (Libânio & Moro, 2011). This indicates the dangerous notion of overusing employees as a revenue-earning tool. Charles et. al (1984) in ‘Michigan HRM Model’ supported this notion and emphasized the hard HRM by suggesting that employees should be used as tools with full exploitation (Charles, Tichy, & Devanna, 1984). This reveals the failed ERS in the HRM policies tremendously. Therefore, the problem statement is that, inspite of existing HRM policies besides the parallel BDL guideline that focuses on ERS in the manufacturing companies of Bangladesh, ERS suppression occur with their increased grievances (Bangladesh Employers' Federation BEF, 2009).
RQ 1: Has the HRM policy of the listed manufacturing company map ERS (employee rights’) protocols (UDHR, ILO, BDL) and grievance management system (GMS)? If not, how can they be mapped?
RQ 2: Why the HRM perspectives need to be mapped with ERS protocols and GMS?
Purpose of the Study
Hiltrop (1996) confirmed in the scrutiny of the seminal work that some companies have a culture that clearly makes employees the most important asset. Nevertheless, for some other companies, these are merely empty words and are not translated into practice. Hiltrop (1996) mentioned that there is a need for the researchers and the academicians to address the employees as the ‘best assets’ and ‘human beings’ so that they are capable of performing their tasks with freedom, security, and dignity under the tenets of the HRM policies along with ERS. Thus, this study attempts to help the HR managers to preserve employees’ rights and respect by mapping the GMS with ERS in the new HRM framework.
Researchers used multiple cases studies to collect data as these generate better-grounded theory than single cases (Darun, 2011; Eisenhardt, 1989). Also multiple case studies (MCS) provide a stronger base for the development of a framework (Yin, 2009). Single cases were used as the unit of analysis, which as per Yin (2009) is required as the fundamental component for case studies because here multiple bound systems over time through a detailed step-by-step process using multiple sources of information (observations, interviews, audiovisual materials, documents and reports) has been used to collect data (Stake,1995). MCS utilize the logic of replication and analysis to identify issues and finalize the common themes (Eisenhardt, 1989; Yin, 2009). MCS has a format for each case description called ‘within case analysis’ followed by a thematic analysis across the cases called a ‘cross case analysis’, with rich context and interpretations (Creswell, 2013). Researchers used purposeful to select the interviewees and the cases based on individuals’ understanding to the central idea (Creswell, 2013). Initially, the listed manufacturing companies were extracted from the Dhaka stock markets of Bangladesh which has 146 listed manufacturing companies and then, based on four categories; cases got selected for fieldwork. These categories are:
Dhaka Base Stock Exchange (Location of the Corporate offices and factories)
The Upgraded Company Govt. Act 1994 (Age and Year of Public Listing)
Employee Numbers >500 (number of employees>200 is considered as category A, as per Bangladesh Govt.)
Usage of Heavy Machineries (manufacturing base)
Marshall and Rossman, (2006) argued that the sampling includes events, participants and artifacts’, which during the study, can be changed with researchers’ flexibility. Researchers applied the following steps while collecting data those are mentioned in Table
Besides the existing perspectives of HRM framework, researchers introduced two distinct perspectives by mapping them and by re-designing a single HRM-framework. It is drawn below:
1) Additional Perspective (P7): International Employee Rights Standards (IERS)
This perspective appeared to answer the proposition seven. In this research, from both preliminary and fieldwork data, researcher understand that in Bangladesh, certain companies addressed the Bangladesh Labour Law in parallel to HRM policies-practices. However, the ILO guided these employee rights as well, but not all the protocols of the ILO were included in the BDL guideline book. UDHR, ILO and BDL were the three themes, which helped to organize and form the perspective ‘Employee Rights.” In this research in various cases UDHR, ILO or BDL was rated as implemented (++) or partially implemented (++). Based on these ratings cases were either seen as integrated or non-integrated or hybrid. From this research, cases 6 and 11 were found integrated; cases 1, 5 and 12 were found hybrid and other cases 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10 were found non-integrated.
2) Additional Perspective (P8): Grievance Management System (GMS)
GMS perspective has been derived from three themes; ‘turnover’, ‘absenteeism’ and ‘visible expression of grievances’. These are rated as High (++) or Low (+). The outcomes of the cases are either active, hybrid or inactive.
i)Turnover: Here, cases 1, 5 and 11 are active; cases 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are inactive and cases 4 and 12 are hybrid cases. Research results show that employees’ turnover intention has a negative correlation with industrial relations as per Yuan (2014) on the other hand, strong positive relation has been found between corporate ethical values with turnover (Kaur & Sharma, 2016). The two categorized codes found in this theme are ‘Lacking in Performance pay & Employee Benefits’ and ‘Lacking in Corporate Ethics’. Cases 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 12 have strongly existent turnover. The assistant HR manager from case 2 said,
ii)Absenteeism: Organizations’ employees got frustrated for various reasons related to their company at work and stays reluctant to even get counseled and stays absent at work or in fulfilling the work targets and sometimes takes leave often. The three categorized codes of turnover are: Leave of Absence (LoA), Not meeting work targets (nMT) and Late Arrival (LA). Cases 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9 had strongly existent absenteeism. From case 7, HR executive said,
iii) Visible expression of grievance: As per Brian (2004), disputes between the employees and the management of the organization reveals visible expression of grievances. Three themes are ‘protests’,’file complaints’ and ‘suppression of employee union’. Since 2011, a “new global cycle of protests” developed in Bangladesh, characterized by public outrage, fury, and resentment (Hallberg & Ossewaarde, 2016). Employees when faced with adverse situations express each vignette of filing complaints against the management (Cleyman et al., 1995). Management’s failure increases group voice (Danilovich, 2016). Cases 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9 had strongly existing visible expression of grievances. Factory supervisor from case 8 said,
Researchers renovated the HRM framework with eight perspectives including and mapping two distinct perspectives, which are the International Employee Rights Standards (IERS) and Grievance Management System (GMS). Study shows that few companies have GMS and IERS as separate, non-aligned guidelines. This innovation focuses on employees’ rights by solving their grievances, which entrusted on HR managers to comply. This modification will lead the company to have a sustainable state because the moment employees’ rights and grievances are managed, their motivation and commitment to work-environment increases whereas entire decision-making process advances. Companies stability and sustainability also leads to the social change by triggering a better life style for his or her family and to the society. This remodelled HRM framework thus creates impact of sustainability all throughout.
Thanks to Prof Mohd. Ridzuan Darun to provide the fund, RDU172208 named “Improving the Integrity of Halal Supply Chain Management Through Blcokchain Technology” for this paper.
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Khor, K., & Chan*, T. (2019). Assessment of Equilibrium Housing Prices in Penang After the Global Financial Crisis. In C. Tze Haw, C. Richardson, & F. Johara (Eds.), Business Sustainability and Innovation, vol 65. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 53-61). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.08.6