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


  • Associate Professor Ian Laird

    Associate Professor Ian Laird

    Associate Professor - School of Health Sciences

    Associate Dean 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

    Ngati Kahungunu Te Wairoa | Te Rangiwhenua

    After joining Massey University in 2002 my teaching and academic research initially focused on HRM and Employment Relations.  A move to the School of Aviation in 2006 resulted in a new focus on Airline/Aviation Management and CPL/ATPL Meteorology.  I currently teach these subjects across 3 core courses in the Aviation Management and ATP programmes.  

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.