The nature and influence of constructs of the employing relationship in a general hospital as revealed by a study of participation.

  • I. P. Campbell

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMPhil


The enquiry described in thesis arose because of the difficulties being experienced by a manager in a hospital who was attempting to relate orthodox management teaching, largely based on neo-human relations theory, to the process of achieving change with staff while maintaining, and hopefully enhancing, the industrial relations climate. Such theory implies that the introduction or extension of participation may help to achieve such goals. The study examined whether this was the case or whether it might increase the range of issues potentially available for negotiation and generate further conflict. Assumptions about the nature of the employing relationship are made explicit and an affinity identified with an interactionist perspective and, more specifically, with negotiated order theory. Conceptual understandings are similarly clarified and the significance of the exercise of authority, as well as power, is emphasised. The research design involved qualitative research by an internal researcher i.e. someone who was an established element of the context under investigation. There was thus a degree of action research. Data is presented from interviews with staff representatives, from records of day-to-day industrial relations interaction, and from other commentators and research. It describes and analyses perceptions of the management function and the methods already used by the representatives to exercise influence over it. Attitudes to the various forms and processes of participation are considered and the potential for participation examined by assessing areas of interest and the inclination and ability of both staff and their representatives. Confirmation is obtained that the study of participation cannot be isolated from the other characteristics of the employing relationship and it is also demonstrated that the nature of the constructs of the employing relationship can be revealed by such a study. An analytic framework is derived from the data that relates the potential for participation to these constructs.
Date of Award1985
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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