In pluralism the organization is perceived as being made up of powerful and divergent sub-groups – management and trade unions. This approach sees conflicts of interest and disagreements between managers and workers over the distribution of profits as normal and inescapable. Consequently, the role of management would lean less towards enforcing and controlling and more toward persuasion and co-ordination. Trade unions are deemed as legitimate representatives of employees. Conflict is dealt by collective bargaining and is viewed not necessarily as a bad thing and if managed could in fact be channeled towards evolution and positive change.Realistic managers should accept conflict to occur. There is a greater propensity for conflict rather than harmony.

They should anticipate and resolve this by securing agreed procedures for settling disputes. The implications of this approach include:

  • The firm should have industrial relations and personnel specialists who advise managers and provide specialist services in respect of staffing and matters relating to union consultation and negotiation.
  • Independent external arbitrators should be used to assist in the resolution of disputes.
  • Union recognition should be encouraged and union representatives given scope to carry out their representative duties
  • Comprehensive collective agreements should be negotiated with unions