Employment Relations Group


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


  • 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

    Associate Professor - School of Health Sciences

    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


  • Foster, B., & Rasmussen, E. (2017). The major parties: National’s and Labour’s employment relations policies. New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations. 42(2)
  • Rasmussen, E., Foster, AB., & Farr, D. (2016). The battle over employer-determined flexibility: attitudes amongst New Zealand employers. Employee Relations. 38(6), 886-906

  • Foster, B., & Farr, D. (2016). Some willingness to engage: A survey of employment relations practices and employee voice opportunities in SMES in regional New Zealand. NZ Journal of Employment Relations. 41(1), 41-63

  • 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.
  • 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. 


  • 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 


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


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

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