ダイバーシティのもとでの集団的労使コミュニケーション : 分野別の自発的小集団・ERGからの示唆 Diversity and Collective Labor-management Communication : Role of Employee Resource Groups from various fields
This paper examines ways in which the collective labor-management communication, which entails "exclusive powers of improving employeesʼ working conditions and suggesting collective proposals representing the employees," addresses employee diversity.While addressing employee diversity with its "exclusive powers of improving employeesʼ working conditions," collective labor-management communication could encounter a particular challenge, i.e., diverse minorities that do not share similar interests possessed by the majority could be casted out from the main group, or if they were to become members of the main group, they would not be able to get along well with the majority. Hence, in such cases, the collective labor-management communicationʼs exclusive powers will only be partially functional, thereby reducing its bargaining power as a whole.Further, the achievement of unity of purpose in a diversity for formulating "collective proposals representing the employees" is a challenge because the possible difficulty in coordinating opinions is a consequence of diversity, i.e., the viewpoints of the diverse minorities would be undermined or ignored. In addition, the more diverse the workforce is, the more important it becomes to have labor communication prior to labor-management communication because having labor communication enables to establish an understanding of the respective backgrounds or circumstances as a preliminary step for coordination of opinions in the first place.To look for hints on collective labor-management communication addressing employee diversity, this paper focuses on Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which are small voluntary groups (employee organizations) that have been developed mainly in global companies in the United States and Europe. As there are various forms of ERGs, it is difficult to provide a universal definition for the term "ERG". However, ERGs can be regarded as small voluntary groups of employees formed by professionals belonging to the same field and people with similar attributes such as women, LGBT community, persons with disabilities, and foreigners. Moreover, the activities of such groups are increasingly procuring attention. Hence, ERGs may be a key new player in facilitating labor-management communication that considers the voices/viewpoints of the minorities in diverse employee environments.Therefore, what collective labor-management communication should address about employee diversity in the future is given much consideration in this paper. Additionally, it emphasizes the use of groups such as the ERGs in this context. Specifically, the characteristics and issues of the ERGs are summarized based on previous research and interviews with major German global companies, and then collective labor-management communication led by the ERGs is compared with collective labor-management communication led by HR department or labor unions.ERGs are characterized by spontaneity, flexibility, expertise, proactiveness, and openness. In particular, spontaneity, flexibility, and openness are most likely to have ascendency over the HR department and labor union leadership. On the other hand, ways in which ERGs can secure resources, such as budgets, for their activities remains unclear, and determining the degree of impact that the support from the HR department would have on the foundation of their activities is another issue. Therefore, it should be emphasized that the degree of stability for the foundation of ERGsʼ activities is unstable unlike what is obtainable in HR department and labor union leadership. In addition, for the same reason, there prevails a concern that the maintenance of neutrality by the HR department would not be achievable in some cases.The ERGs focused in this paper are instructive in considering how collective labor-management communication should be conducted in Japan under diversity. However, what form of small voluntary groups such as the ERGs should function effectively in Japanese collective labor-management communication? Can the strengths of the ERGs be incorporated into HR department and labor union-led approaches? These issues have not been fully discussed in this paper and will be discussed in the future.
- 生涯学習とキャリアデザイン = Lifelong Learning and Career Studies
生涯学習とキャリアデザイン = Lifelong Learning and Career Studies 17(2), 83-102, 2020-03