Employment Relations Group

Purpose

Exploring how New Zealand can achieve a high-skill, high-wage economy

There has been a fundamental shift in employment relations in many OECD countries. Institutional employment relations have been reshaped through a decline in collective bargaining and union membership, a rise in employer prerogative favouring individualised and flexible forms of employment relations. We address the dearth of research on individual employers and their associations, their attitudes and behaviours and how these impact on employment relations issues and trends.

The Employment Relations Group (ERG) is a collaborative team of academics from Massey and other New Zealand universities. We are interested in the complex nature and context of employment relations at the workplace, organisation, industry, national and international level; particularly in the role played by employers in employment relations.

Our work includes research in the following areas:

• Collective bargaining
• Employer driven flexibility
• The effects of legislative change
• Productivity
• The nexus of employment relations and occupational health and safety

Members

  • Deirdre Therese Farr

    Deirdre Therese Farr

    Supernumerary Assistant Lecturer - School of Management

    I am a lecturer and PhD candidate in the School of Management. Teaching HRM compliments my PhD research aimed at exploring ‘employee voice’ and participation in Employment Relations and Occupational Health and Safety.  

    This follows three years of balancing part-time research with full-time work as a Health and Safety Analyst in the forestry industry. My research journey started in 2009 with work on two projects focusing on employer behaviours and attitudes to: collective bargaining, and legislative changes. My most recent research collaboration involves testing the ‘Good Employer’ concept developed in my Masters Thesis.

  • Barry Foster

    Barry Foster

    Lecturer - School of Management

  • Associate Professor Ian Laird

    Associate Professor Ian Laird

    Acting Head of the School - School of Public Health
    Director of Research - College of Health

    I have over 30 years’ experience of workplace health and safety in New Zealand and am a specialist in occupational health, hygiene and safety. I also have extensive experience in the management of workplace health and safety particularly in relation to small to medium sized enterprises (SME’s). I have served on many government committees’ including the provision of advice on OHS to the Ministers of Health, Labour and ACC. I have considerable experience as a consultant to NZ industry, and have particular interests in health hazard exposure assessment and intervention effectiveness research.

  • John Murrie

    John Murrie

    Senior Tutor - School of Aviation

External Members

The group also includes a number of Massey Postgraduate (Master & PhD) students.

Publications & Projects

ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS

  • Rasmussen, E.  Foster, B. Farr D (forthcoming) ‘_The battle over employers’ demands for ‘more flexibility’: attitudes of New Zealand employers.  Employee Relations
    http://www.useconference.com/online_programme_use2015_conference.pd_____

  • Foster, B., Rasmussen, E., & Coetzee, D. (2014). Employment Relations: Employer attitudes and their ability to facilitate a high skill, high wage economy. In A. Pyman, & A. North (Eds.), 28th AIRAANZ Work Employment and Human Resources. Melbourne, Australia. Retrieved from http://www.airaanzconference2014.com/AIRAANZHandbook2014-FINAL-low%20res.pdf

  • Coetzee, D., Foster, B., & laird, I. (2013). A 'Good Employer' perceptions and practice in small enterprises. In Blunfeld (Ed.), Labour, Employment and Work in New Zealand (pp. 1-11). Wellington. Retrieved from http://ojs.victoria.ac.nz/LEW/article/view/1987/1809

  • Rasmussen, E., Foster, B., & Coetzee, D. (2013). Transforming New Zealand employment relations: The role played by employer strategies, behaviours and attitudes. In International Labour and Employment Relations Association 8th Asian regional conference:  Work and employment in the Asian Century. Melbourne.

  • Foster, B., Rasmussen, E. & Coetzee, D. (2012) ’Ideology versus reality: New Zealand employer attitudes to legislative change of employment relations.’ New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations, 37(3): 50-64.

  • Rasmussen, E., Foster, B., & Murrie, J. (2012). The decline in collectivisim and employer attitudes and behaviours:  Facilitating a high-skill, knowledge economy?. In 16th International Labour and Employment Relations Association World Congress (pp. 1-21). Philadelphia United States.

  • Foster, B., Rasmussen, E. Murrie, J. & Laird, (2011) Supportive legislation, unsupportive employers and collective bargaining in New Zealand. Relations Industrielles 66(2): 192-212.

  • Rasmussen, E. & Foster, B. (2011). Productivity Implications of Changing Employer Attitudes and Strategies. New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations 36(2): 61-76.

  • Foster, B., Murrie, J. & Laird, I. (2009) ‘It takes two to tango: evidence of a decline in institutional industrial relations in New Zealand’. Employee Relations 31(5): 503-514.

  • Foster, B., Laird, I.,  McAndrews, I and Murrie, I. (2006) Employers attitudes as a factor in union stagnation in New Zealand.  Research presentation proceedings of the International Industrial Research Association 14th World Congress 11-14 September 2006 Lima, Peru.

  • Farr, D, & Foster,  B. (2015). Defining a healthy and safe work environment in SEs in New Zealand:  A study of the 'good employer'.. In Understanding Small Enterprises (USE) Conference. Groningen The Netherlands. Retrieved from http://www.useconference.com/images/custom/online_proceedings_use_2015_lr_2.pdf

  • Foster, B., Farr, D., & Laird, I. (2015). The inter-relationship between Employment Relations Practices and Occupational Health and Safety Practices in SMEs: Testing a theoretical perspective.. In Understanding Small Enterprises 'A Healthy Working Life in a Healthy Business (pp. 250-267). Groningen  Hanze UAS Netherlands.

  • HRINZ magazine (2014). The inter-relationship of ER practices and OHS outcomes in SMEs Barry Foster,  Ian Laird and Deirdre Farr

FUNDING

  • Dept of Labour (NZ Industrial Relations Foundation)
  • MURF
  • AUT - Bargaining Attitudes of Employers
  • School of Management
  • AUT - Employers attitudes to legislative changes
  • NZ Industrial Relations Foundation_(MBIE) Utilising employment relations practices to enhance occupational health and safety outcomes in small to medium sized enterprises (SME’s) in the Central North Island. 2014 

SEMINARS & WORKSHOPS

  • HRINZ- 2012
  • Massey - 2010
  • AUT -2009 
  • AUT - 2016
  • MBIE - 2015 report

Contact

Enquiries related to the group can be directed to the group coordinator, Mr. Barry Foster.

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