Industrial Relations

This subject develops students understanding of the broad legislative, economic, political and social influences on industrial relations systems and on employment relationships. It explores Australia’s industrial relations roots and the changing nature of the industrial relations environment including the influence s of de(re)regulation, trade unions, governments and institutions and how these have effected industrial relations managerial strategies. Students will also demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of contemporary employee relations and how the Australian industrial relations systems may progress into the future.

Quick Info

  • Currently offered by Alphacrucis: Yes
  • Course code: HRM351
  • Credit points: 10


The following courses are prerequisites:

Awards offering Industrial Relations

This unit is offered as a part of the following awards:

Unit Content

Curriculum Objective



  1. Discuss and evaluate: (a). theoretical framework of IR  perspectives- namely ‘pluralism’, ‘unitarism’ and radicalism; and  (b).Critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to the study of employment relationship.
  2. Discuss the changing nature of Industrial Relations in Australia.
  3. Critically assess: (i). the role of state and the federal tribunal in Australia in the context of current business environment; .(ii). The factors affecting IR strategies of management (including non-union representation of employees) and suggest how it can promote harmonious relationships with IR partners; (iii). the role of trade unions in IR and how unions can continue to play crucial roles in representing employees' interest.
  4. Analyse the emerging trends of enterprise bargaining as an alternative method of dispute settlement.
  5. Discuss the role of Award making- conciliation, arbitration and awards in Australia.

Assessment Methods

  • Minor Essay 30% (1750 words)
  • Research Report 30% (2000 words)
  • Exam 40% (2 hours)

Prescribed Text

Readings provided.

Representative References

Recommended Reading:

  • Australian Industrial Relations Commission. Annual Report 1998-99, Canberra: AGPS, 1999.
  • Bray, M; Deannary, S; Walsh, J and  Waring, P. Industrial Relations: a contemporary approach,  North Ryde NSW: McGraw-Hill Austrralia Pty Limited, 2005.
  • Benson, J. ‘Employee Voice in Union and Non-Union Australian Workplaces’, British Journal of Industrial Relations  8/3 (2000): 453-9.
  • Borland, Jeff. Industrial Relations Reform: Chasing a Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow? The Australian Economic Review 45/3 (2012): 269–89.
  • Business Council of Australia (BCA), Enterprise Based Bargaining Units, A Better Way of Working, Report to the Business Council of Australia by the Industrial Relations Study Commission, Melbourne: BCA, 1989.
  • Cappelli, P. Employment Practices and Business Strategy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • Dabscheck, B; Griffin, G and Teicher, J. Contemporary Australian Industrial Relations, 1993.
  • Dabscheck, B. ‘The Slow and Agonising Death of the Australian Experiment of Conciliation and Arbitration’, Journal of Industrial Relations 43/3 (2001): 277-93.
  • Gollan, P.J. ‘Australian industrial relations reform in perspective: Beyond Work Choices and future prospects under the Fair Work Act 2009’, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources 47/3 (2009):  260–269.
  • Kaufman, B. The Origins and Evolution of the Field of Industrial Relations in the United States, Ithaca, New York: ILR Press, 1993.
  • Kochan, T., Katz, H. and McKersie, R. The Transformation of American Industrial Relations, New York: Basic Books, 1986.
  • Keenoy, T and Kelly, D. The Employment Relationship in Australia. Sydney: Harcourt, 2000
  • Lansbury, R. ‘Industrial Relations in an Era of Global Change and Challenges’, Labour and Industry 6/2 (1995): 1-12.
  • Purcell, J. ‘Best Practice and Best Fit: Chimera or Cul-de-sac?’, Human Resource Management Journal  9/3 (1999):  26-41.
  • Teicher, J (ed). Public Sector Industrial Relations: Australian and International Perspectives, Melbourne: National Key Centre in industrial Relations, Monograph No.12.
  • Wooden, M. The Transformation of Australian Industrial Relations. Sydney: The Federation Press, 2000.
  • Wooden, M. 2001, ‘Industrial relations reform in Australia: Causes, consequences and prospects’, Australian Economic Review 34 (2001):  243–62.


  • Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources
  • Australian Journal of Labour Economics
  • British Journal of Industrial Relations
  • Journal of Industrial Relations
  • Labour and Industry
  • Work, Employment and Society