Discerning The Motivational Basis For Trade Unionism In Public And Private Sectors Of Business: An Imperative For Institutionalizing Industrial Peace And Progress

  • TI Constantine


Even though the motives for managing public and private businesses are very clear to the actors of industrial relations; those of their respective unions seem to oscillate between improving only members' welfare and facilitating socio-economic policies that can ameliorate the plight of the common man in various societies. Hence the ambiguity surrounding the motivational orientations of unions in the public and private sectors makes it difficult to predict the nature of labour relations that ensues when government owned enterprises are privatized. However, given the fact that the public administration literature has established that those who choose to work in the public sector should be altruistically motivated towards serving members of society, while those who select the private sector are motivated by their own selfish interests; unions in the public sector ought to function as uplift unions, while their counterparts in the private sector should have inclinations towards a business orientation to trade unionism that aligns with the ethos of capitalism. This article therefore sets out to create the conditions under which public and private unions can function in these ways. It is believed that for the purpose of institutionalizing industrial peace and progress in today's mixed economies, governments must enact labour laws that reflect the rationale for trade unionism in the two different sectors. This would help induce a self functioning motivational system of labour relations that minimizes the incidence of industrial conflicts; which in turn would give some credence to the unitary frame of reference of industrial relations that assumes that employment relationships are conflict free.

IFE PsychologIA Vol. 16 (2) 2008: pp. 47-61

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eISSN: 1117-1421