Australian Workplace Agreements in practice: The 'hard' and 'soft' dimensions

Roan, Amanda, Bramble, Tom and Lafferty, George (2001) Australian Workplace Agreements in practice: The 'hard' and 'soft' dimensions. Journal of Industrial Relations, 43 4: 387-401. doi:10.1111/1472-9296.t01-1-00025

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Roan_Bramble_Laf.pdf Roan_Bramble_Laf.pdf application/pdf 149.18KB 2110

Author Roan, Amanda
Bramble, Tom
Lafferty, George
Title Australian Workplace Agreements in practice: The 'hard' and 'soft' dimensions
Journal name Journal of Industrial Relations   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-1856
Publication date 2001-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1472-9296.t01-1-00025
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 43
Issue 4
Start page 387
End page 401
Total pages 15
Editor Ron Callus
Russell Lansbury
Place of publication Sydney, NSW, Australia
Publisher Sage
Collection year 2001
Language eng
Subject 350203 Industrial Relations
740401 Vocational education and training
Formatted abstract
The purpose of this paper is to assess the claim by the Office of the Employment Advocate (OEA) and the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business (DEWRSB) that Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) allow employers to integrate both the "hard" and "soft" dimensions of "strategic" human resource management theory, providing greater efficiency and profitability, while also giving employees more flexibility. Based on a review of the literature and the content of 539 AWAs approved between March 1997 and June 1998, we conclude that the general trend of AWAs is towards the "hard" HRM philosophy of cost minimisation and maximisation of flexibility of hours. Provisions based around the developmental and personal needs of employees are relatively uncommon and, where they occur, are usually brief. Contrary to Government predictions, there is very little evidence that AWAs are being used to advance the philosophy of "soft" HRM.
Keyword Australian workplace agreements
Hard HRM
Soft HRM
Human resource management
Labour flexibility
Workplace bargaining
References ACCIRT. 1999. 'Agreement Database and Monitor (ADAM) Report - Number 22' September 1999: 8-11. Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research and Training (ACIRRT), University of Sydney: CCH. ACIRRT. 2000. 'Trends in Queensland Workplace Agreements: Developments since amendments to the Qld Workplace Relations Act 1997 and the introduction of the Industrial Relations Act 1999', report produced for DETIR Queensland, Sydney. Beer, M., B. Spector, and P.R. Lawrence. 1984. Managing Human Assets. New York: Free Press. Beer, M. and R. Eisenstat. 1996. 'Developing an Organisation Capable of Implementing Strategy and Learning'. Human Relations. 49 (5): 597-618. Bratton, J. and J. Gold (1999) Human Resource Management Theory and Practice (2nd ed.), Houndsmill and London: Macmillan Business. Bray, M. and P. Waring. 1998. 'The Rhetoric and Reality of Bargaining Structures Under the Howard Government', Labour and Industry. 9 (2): 66-72. Business Council of Australia (BCA). 1998. Building co-operative and productive workplaces: Priorities for workplace reform, submission to the Federal Government. -------- 1999. Response to Federal Government Paper, The Continuing Reform of Workplace Relations: Implementation of More Jobs, Better Pay, available on BCA website: Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations (DETIR). 1998. Report on the Effect of the Introduction of Queensland Workplace Agreements. Department of Employment Training and Industrial Relations: Brisbane. --------- 1999. Individual versus Collective Bargaining, presentation to ACCIRT Seminar, Brisbane, 29 November. Hawke, A., F. Robertson, and J. Sloan. 1998. Report 1997: Agreement-making under the Workplace Relations Act. Flinders University, Adelaide: National Institute of Labour Studies (for the Department of Workplace Relations and Small Business). Hearn Mackinnon, B. 1997. 'The Weipa Dispute: Ramifications for the Spread of Australian Workplace Agreements' in Frazer, A., McCallum, R. & Ronfeldt, P. (eds) Individual Contracts and Workplace Relations. ACCIRT Working Paper 50, ACCIRT, University of Sydney: 55-67. Hendry, C. and A. Pettigrew. 1990. 'Human Resource Management: an agenda for the 1990s'. International Journal of Human Resource Management 1 (1): 17-44. Legge, K. 1995a. 'HRM: rhetoric, reality and hidden agendas'. In Human Resource Management - a Critical Text. Ed. J. Storey. London: Routledge. Legge, K. 1995b. Human Resource Management - Rhetorics and Realities. Macmillan Business. McCallum, R. 1997a. 'Australian Workplace Agreements - An Analysis' Australian Journal of Labour Law. 10 (1): 50-61. --------- 1997b. 'Crafting a New Collective Labour Law for Australia' Journal of Industrial Relations. 39 (3): 405-422. Office of the Employment Advocate. 1998a. Australian Workplace Agreements: How-To Guide, Canberra: AGPS. --------- 1998b. Australian Workplace Agreements: Helping Make Better Workplaces, Canberra: AGPS. --------- 1999. 'Submission of the Office of the Employment Advocate to the Senate Inquiry into the Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (More Jobs, Better Pay) Bill' Office of the Employment Advocate. ----------- Website: Website consulted 24 September 2000. Peetz, D. 1999. 'Nearly the Year of Living Dangerously: In the Emerging Worlds of Australian Industrial Relations'. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources. 37 (2): 11-12. Sisson, K. (1993) 'In search of HRM', British Journal of Industrial Relations. 31(2): 201-209. Storey, J. 1987. Developments in the Management of Human Resources: An Interim Report, Warwick Papers in Industrial Relations, No 17, IRRU. School of Industrial Relations and Business Studies, University of Warwick. Storey, J. 1992. Developments in Human Resource Management. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Torrington, D., and L. Hall. 1987. Personnel Management: A New Approach. London: Prentice-Hall. Townley, B. 1994. Reframing Human Resource Management. London: Sage. Tyson, S. and A. Fell. 1986. Evaluating the Personnel Function. London: Routledge. van Barneveld, K. 1999. 'Under the Covers: Negotiating Australian Workplace Agreements: Two Cases' in C. Leggett, R. Shanahan, E. Stern, G. Treuren & P. Wright (eds), Current Research in Industrial Relations, AIRAANZ 99, Proceedings of the 13th AIRAANZ Conference, Volume 2 - Non-Refereed Papers, AIRAANZ, Sydney. Wooden, M. 1999. The Role and Significance of Individual Agreements in Australian Industrial Relations. The Transformation of Australian Industrial Relations Project, Discussion Paper Series Number 6. Flinders University, Adelaide: National Institute of Labour Studies.
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: UQ Business School Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Mon, 10 Jan 2005, 10:00:00 EST by Tom Bramble on behalf of UQ Business School