This view of industrial relations is a by product of a theory of capitalist society and social change. Marx argued that:
- Weakness and contradiction inherent in the capitalist system would result in revolution and the ascendancy of socialism over capitalism.
- Capitalism would foster monopolies.
- Wages (costs to the capitalist) would be minimized to a subsistence level.
- Capitalists and workers would compete/be in contention to win ground and establish their constant win-lose struggles would be evident.
This perspective focuses on the fundamental division of interest between capital and labor, and sees workplace relations against this background. It is concerned with the structure and nature of society and assumes that the conflict in employment relationship is reflective of the structure of the society. Conflict is therefore seen as inevitable and trade unions are a natural response of workers to their exploitation by capital.