Chapter 9 - Routledge

Chapter 9
Sport Organizations and
Employee Relations
Learning objectives
• Explain the meaning of employee relations in sport organisations.
• Explain the role of the psychological contract in employeemanagement relations.
• Outline the different forms of organisational justice in the workplace.
• Describe employee involvement through effective communication
and participation in decision making.
• Describe the concept of trade unions and the collective bargaining
• Understand the bases and process of workplace grievance.
• Describe the importance and management of health, safety and
employee wellness in the organisation.
• Consider the nature of volunteer relations in the sport organisation.
• Understand the bases and process of employee termination
Employee-management relations
• ‘HRM approaches based on employee
relations have sought to broaden the
involvement of employees and take a
more participative approach to
management through increased
communication’ (McKenna & Beech, 2002,
p. 255)
Relationship between management
& employees
• Based on organisation rewarding its employees
fairly, provide a safe and non-threatening
working environment, and provide support for
them to do the work of the organisation.
In turn, employees have an implied duty to:
• be ready and willing for work;
• take reasonable care and skill in performing the
• obey the employer’s lawful orders;
• take care of the employer’s property;
• act in good faith. (Lewis et al., 2003, p. 11)
Psychological contract
• unwritten expectations of the employeemanagement relationship that exist in addition to
the formal employment contract
• employees should have a realistic and accurate
understanding of what to expect, and what is
expected of them, in the sport organization
• these expectations may be formed before
starting work (based on pre-entry socialisation)
and may need to be realigned upon entry
(encounter socialisation)
Organizational justice
the perception of fairness in all decisions
and practices
• a reflection of the organization’s social
and moral obligation to fairness
3 basic forms of organisational justice –
• distributive
• procedural
• interactional
3 bases of distributive justice
(1) equity, which is distribution based on
members’ contribution to the organisation
(2) equality, which is equal distribution to all
members, regardless of contribution
(3) need, which is distribution based on
identified individual or group needs
Procedural justice
• fair and just procedures for determining
the distribution of resources and rewards
• not only making a fair decision, but being
seen (through the correct procedure) to
make a fair decision
• employee involvement in the decision
making process is linked to perceptions of
Interactional justice
• fair and just communication and
explanation of distributive and procedural
• particularly important when individuals are
not formally involved in decision making
• can help to re-establish a sense of
fairness if staff are fully apprised of the
basis for the decisions in a respectful and
sensitive manner (Lewis et al., 2003)
Employee involvement
• the principle of engaging staff in the
organisation through various processes
and mechanisms
• associated with trust in management,
increased job performance, job
satisfaction, and intent to stay
Main categories of
employee involvement
Examples of related forms
involvement: information
Team briefing; other briefing groups;
corporate newspapers, journals and
reports aimed at employees; videos;
audiotapes; email; recorded telephone
To provide information; uniform messages; to be educative
or re-educative
involvement: problemsolving involvement and
upward, two-way
Briefing groups with feedback and
managerial response loops; quality
improvement teams; suggestion
schemes; employee surveys
Explicit access to employees’ experience and skills; gain
cooperation and opinions
involvement: consultation
Joint consultation committees, working
parties or groups; staff forums
Providing information and testing reactions
Task involvement at job
and work organizational
Job redesign: job enlargement and job
enrichment. Work reorganization: (semi)
autonomous working groups; problemsolving involvement
To be re-educative; providing greater levels of motivation
and satisfaction; empowering
Financial involvement
Employee share ownership plans; profitrelated pay; performance-related pay;
bonus schemes
To be re-educative; providing incentives and promoting
Managerial actions and
style of leadership
Participative managerial style; being
visible; accessible and informal; creating
credibility; ensuring actions in line with
key messages
To provide support; encourage positive working relationships
and trust; reduce barriers
Employee Participation
• a specific form of employee involvement
which includes ‘direct involvement of
individuals in decisions relating to their
immediate work organisation and. . .
indirect involvement in decision-making,
through representatives, in the wider
socio-technical and political structures of
the firm’ (Brannen, 1983, p. 16).
A Continuum of Employee Influence over Organizational Decisions (Lewis et al., 2003)
No influence
Right to receive
Right to raise objections
Right to make suggestions
Right to be consulted
Right to reject a proposal,
temporarily or
Right to make a decision
jointly with management
Right to exercise sole
control over a decision
Decision types
• strategic (what the organisation is doing)
• operational (how it is doing it)
• individual task (what each person is doing
as part of operations)
• effective employee involvement through
decision making relies on effective
communication and shared influence
Trade unions & collective
• the primary function of a trade union is
regulating the employment relationship
• the underlying premise of unionization is
that individual employees have little power
when dealing with their employer, but they
can increase their power as a collective
group or union
• local labour laws dictate the formation and
nature of unions
Union & non-union organizations
• union - the legal basis for the employment relationship is
a collective agreement negotiated by the union.
• The basic terms of employment are identical for all
employees in a given job category covered by the
collective agreement eg the standard players contract in
the CBA of North America’s National Hockey League
Players Union (NHLPA, 2007)
• non-union - the legal basis for the employment
relationship is individual contracts which negotiated
individually by the employee. The terms of employment
may be variable and unique for each employee.
An Overview of Players’ Unions in the North American Professional Sport Industry
National Hockey League
(NHL) Players’
Association (NHLPA)
National Basketball
Association (NBA)
Players’ Association
Major League Baseball
(MLB) Players’
Association (MLBPA)
Football League
(NFL) Players’
1885, 1966
Key features of
Hard salary cap
Revenue sharing across
lower revenue teams
Player compensation floor
(min.); Entry level
compensation ceiling
Free market system,
players can move to any
team when their contract
Regulation of player
agent certification
Soft salary cap (ceiling
with several exceptions)
‘Luxury tax’ for excess
payroll penalty
(distributed to teams
with lower payrolls)
Player compensation
floor and ceiling
Free market system
Regulation of player
agent certification
No salary cap
‘Competitive balance
tax’ for surpassing
threshold (to lower
revenue teams)
Player compensation
Free market system
Regulation of player
agent certification
Hard salary cap
Fines paid to
NFL and
distributed to
Free market
Regulation of
player agent
Collective bargaining
• a process of negotiating a labour contract
that is acceptable to both management
and unionized employees
• local and national labour laws dictate what
issues can be addressed
• Comprise substantive issues (e.g., pay,
hours of work, holidays) and procedural
issues (e.g., negotiation or bargaining,
disciplinary action)
Basic steps in grievance procedures:
1. Attempt informal resolution first
2. If unsuccessful or inappropriate, move to
formal resolution
3. If there is no resolution, the grievance
may move to arbitration, where an
independent body renders a final
Health & safety
Hazards and risks can be controlled by:
(1) elimination of the hazard from the workplace
(2) redesigning the workplace so that the hazard or risk is
(3) administrative controls, which involves altering the way
the work is done and work practices standards
(4) personal protective equipment worn by employees to
reduce the risk of harm (e.g., water shoes for lifeguards,
sun hats for camp counselors)
(CCOHS, 2006)
Employee programs
• Employee assistance programs (EAP) include a
variety of confidential services made available to
an employee
• assist an employee whose job performance may
be adversely affected by personal problems
• services include support for problems pertaining
to mental health, substance abuse, marital
problems, parenting problems, and financial
Employee wellness programs
• encourages employees ‘to engage in a range of
behaviors and activities associated with better
health’ (Covell et al., 2003)
• includes exercise and nutrition programs,
regular medical examinations, healthy lifestyle
• wellness programs are often used in recruiting
new staff and as a point of differentiation from
the benefits offered by competitor sport
Volunteer relations
• Volunteering Australia (2003, p. 1) list of volunteer rights, based on
moral and legal obligations, includes:
• to work in a healthy and safe environment;
• to be interviewed and engaged in accordance with equal opportunity
and anti-discrimination legislation;
• to be adequately covered by insurance;
• to be given accurate information about the organisation;
• to be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses;
• to be given a copy of the organisation’s volunteer policy and any
other policy that affects one’s work;
• not to do the work of paid staff during industrial disputes;
• to have a job description and agreed working hours;
• to have access to a grievance procedure;
• to be provided with orientation to the organisation; and
• to be provided with sufficient training to do one’s job.
• Includes dismissal, voluntary departure &
• ‘Fair’ dismissal ie involuntary requirement for the
employee to leave include: (1) conclusion of a
fixed-term contract, (2) gross misconduct, (3)
lack of capability or qualifications for the job, or
(4) redundancy
• law prohibits employers in most countries from
unreasonably, harshly or unfairly dismissing
workers and sets out legal remedies should this
Exit interviews
• Used to understand, and try to identify patterns
in, reasons for resignation
• conducted face-to-face, by telephone, or as a
• focus is on reasons for leaving, reflections on
the positive and negative aspects of the
organisation, level of satisfaction with various
aspects of the workplace (e.g., pay, workload,
safety, training, promotion opportunities,
• Employee relations - the activities and
processes that maintain a productive workplace
while satisfying the needs of employees
• employee-management relations are based on
mutual obligations, reflected in the employee’s
psychological contract with the organisation
• when an employee/volunteer resigns an exit
interview can assist understanding of the
reasons for the departure and insights into their
positive and negative experiences in the

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