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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
• The nexus of employment relations and occupational health and safety
Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099 ext. 84914
I have over 30 years’ experience of workplace health and safety in New Zealand and am a specialist in occupational health, hygiene and safety, and am currently an Associate Professor in Occupational Health and Safety, Centre for Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Health, School of Public Health, College of Health, Massey University, Palmerston North.
After completion of my B Sc (Honours) degree at VictoriaUniversity, Wellington, I completed an M Sc in Occupational Hygiene at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London and subsequently a Ph D at MasseyUniversity, in respiratory physiology, involving the physiological cost of wearing respiratory protective equipment in New Zealand industry. I have worked for the Ministry of Health and Accident Compensation Corporation, before taking my current position at MasseyUniversity.
I am a founding member of the New Zealand Occupational Hygiene Society and member of the British Occupational Hygiene Society. 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 has particular interests in health hazard exposure assessment and intervention effectiveness research. In 2006, I was awarded a Fulbright New Zealand Fellowship to the US, which was undertaken at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, where I am a Visiting Scientist.
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.
Prevention of noise induced hearing loss
Occupational health and safety in small enterprises
OHS intervention effectiveness research and programme evaluation
OHS auditing and assessing safety performance
Health and Well-being
Field of research codes
Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (111705): Epidemiology (111706): Medical And Health Sciences (110000): Public Health and Health Services (111700)
My published research and work is within the following industry sectors; agriculture, forestry, construction and manufacturing.
hazards, exposures and risks – noise, chemicals and dusts;
effectiveness of controls and the management OHS;
OHS auditing and performance measurement;
safety culture and climate assessment;
participation and consultation in OHS;
employment relations and OHS;
OHS programme evaluation and intervention research;
OHS and small businesses.
Project Title: Prevention of Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Date Range: 2008 - 2011
Funding Body: Health Research Council of New Zealand
The group also includes a number of Massey Postgraduate (Master & PhD) students.
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
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
Enquiries related to the group can be directed to the group coordinator, Mr. Barry Foster.
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Last updated on Wednesday 03 January 2018