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Are employment relations in Singapore are equitable

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 2959 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Bearing in mind the varying approaches to the concept of equity (Petzall, Abbott & Timo 2007), would you argue that employment relations in Singapore are equitable? Justify your answer. This is an essay question and your answer must be in essay format; that is, it must be structured around an argument that answers the question. The essay will be marked according to the Marking Criteria Sheet which is included in this Guide. The criteria are: understanding of the question and comprehensiveness; written expression; structure; sources; originality; and presentation.

Essential reading:

Petzall, S, Abbott, K & Timo, N 2007, Australian industrial relations in an Asian context, 3rd ed, Eruditions Publishing, Chapter 11, ‘Equity in industrial relations’, pp. 293-321


This chapter is the essential starting point for your research for this essay. It sets out some competing perspectives on the concept of equity in employment relations. It also provides some criteria or issues by which to evaluate whether employment relations are equitable. You will need to undertake your own, independent research into Singapore employment relations in order to successfully complete this essay.

Presentation of written work

All written assessment must be original.

Assignments should be word-processed using single sided paper, 1.5 line-spacing and 2cm wide margins. Number your pages.

Photocopies are not acceptable for assessment. A copy, however, should be kept for your own records and safety.

Do not submit your essay in a plastic folder or binder – staple the essay on the top left-hand corner only.

A cover sheet should be attached to each assignment with the following information:

your name

your class group

name of your local SIM lecturer

course name and code

assignment title

Further information on the requirements for written work submitted in the RMIT College of Business can be obtained from the College document, Guidelines for referencing and presentation in written reports and essays: http://mams.rmit.edu.au/s9sx559hurvc.rtf


The only acceptable format of referencing for RMIT Business students is the Harvard method, as set out in the College of Business Guidelines for referencing and presentation in written reports and essays: http://mams.rmit.edu.au/s9sx559hurvc.rtf

The RMIT online Learning Lab has more detailed information and explanation of the Harvard system and other academic writing skills. http://www.dlsweb.rmit.edu.au/lsu/


In academic writing it is important that you acknowledge the sources of your ideas, words and material. The reader of your essay must be able to discern what ideas and words are your own and what has been obtained form other sources.

The following information on plagiarism is from the RMIT Study and Learning Centre website. You should refer to that site if you require any further explanation.


RMIT defines plagiarism as:

the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person as if it were your own

a form of cheating

a serious offence with serious consequences.

Source: Academic Policy Branch, 2002-12-03, Plagiarism Policy [Online, Composite], Student Affairs, Melbourne, Vic, Available from: http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse?SIMID=1oavdg0bdd1.pdf

Examples of plagiarism

The most common forms of plagiarism are:

copying sentences or paragraphs word-for-word from a source without proper citation

putting someone else’s words, thoughts, ideas into your own words (paraphrasing) but failing to cite your source with a proper citation

piecing together texts from one or more sources without appropriate citation

copying or submitting whole parts of computer files without acknowledging their sources

copying or submitting the whole or a part of another student’s work.

To avoid plagiarism you must cite your sources.

Requirements for students to pass the course

In order to pass the course, students must submit both pieces of assessment and achieve an overall mark of at least 50% in the combined assessment.

Submission of assignments

All assessment should be submitted to the local lecturer or SIM assignment box by 5pm on the due date. A signed assignment cover sheet must be submitted with each assignment. Any late assignment, unless granted an extension by the course coordinator (see below regarding extensions), will be penalised at 10% of the assessment weighting for each day after the due date. No assignment will be accepted more than seven calendar days late without Special Consideration.


An application for extension of an assessment task of up to seven calendar days after the original submission due date must be lodged with the Course Coordinator by completing the Application for Extension of Time Submission of Assessable Work Procedure form (available at: http://mams.rmit.edu.au/seca86tti4g4z.pdf).

Applications for extensions of submittable assessment tasks of greater than seven calendar days after the original submission due date should be made via the Special Consideration Procedure (http://mams.rmit.edu.au/8a5dgcaqvaes1.pdf).

Dictionaries in examinations

English language dictionaries are not permitted in the examination. Hard copy bi-lingual dictionaries (direct translation only) are permitted in the examination. The dictionary must not contain any notations or be otherwise tampered with in any way.

Examination paper checking and student feedback

Please see University policy (http://www.rmit.com.au/browse;ID=xe27xu4dcpvm1) Appeals against assessment policy.

Moderation and second marking

Please see University policy (http://www.rmit.com.au/browse;ID=jof1m3aqzf23)


This reading guide is designed to complement the lectures and assist you with your exam preparation. You should undertake the nominated reading each week, prepare answers to the related questions, and think about the issues raised by the readings and the questions. The examination questions will not necessarily be exactly the same as the weekly questions. The exam questions may require that you demonstrate an understanding of the reading or apply the concepts from the readings to employment relations in the Singapore context. The weekly lectures will provide you with additional information and examples regarding the Singapore employment relations context.

Text: Tan Chwee Huat 2007, Employment relations in Singapore, 5th edn, Prentice Hall, Singapore.

Topic 1 Course Overview and Administration

No readings

Topic 2 The Nature of the Employment Relationship

Balnave, N, Brown, J, Maconachie, G & Stone, R 2007, Employment relations in Australia, John Wiley and Sons, Milton, pp. 1-37. Chapter 1, ‘Introduction to employment relations’.


Why is the employment relationship interdependent?

What is managerial prerogative and how far should it extend?

What is the difference between overt and covert forms of industrial conflict? Give some examples of each.

How do the unitarist pluralist and radical frames of reference differ in their assumptions about the nature of the employment relationship?

What is the systems approach and what are its strengths and weaknesses? How applicable is it to Singapore?

What role does freedom and choice play in the employment relationship?

Topic 3 Employee Voice and Joint Consultation

Salamon, M 2000, Industrial relations: Theory and practice, Pearson Education Limited, Harlow, England, Chapter Ten, ‘Employee involvement and participation’, pp. 369-410.


What is meant by the terms industrial democracy, employee participation and employee involvement?

What are the different forms of employee involvement and participation?

What are the key elements of the German system of co-determination?

What forms of employee voice and joint consultation exist in Singapore?

Topic 4 Employment Relations Institutions and Laws in Singapore

Tan 2004, Employment relations in Singapore, Chapters 5-8

Why does the NTUC want to maintain the tripartite relationship?

What role does the SNEF play in the tripartite system and compare that to the NTUC

What role to the three functions of government play in employment relations?

What is the role of the Industrial Arbitration Court?

What is the role of the Trade Unions Act and what are its implications for workers and trade unions?

Topic 5 Trade Unions

Leggett, C 2008, ‘Trade unions in Singapore’, in (eds) Benson, J & Ying Zhue, Trade unions in Asia, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 102-20.

This book is available online as an e-book through the RMIT Library website:


What are main elements of the political and economic context of trade unions in Singapore?

Briefly outline the role, structure, membership and regulation of unions in Singapore prior to national independence.

What are the types and structures of unions in Singapore?

What do Singapore unions do?

Do you agree with Leggett that ‘[f]or the future, the NTUC’s membership remains a problem if it is to fulfil the social partnership role required of it by manpower planning’?

Topic 6 The Changing Context of Employment Relations in Singapore

Tan, 2004, Employment relations in Singapore, Chapters 3-4

Leggett, C 2007, ‘From industrial relations to manpower planning: the transformation of Singapore’s industrial relations’, International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 642-64.


What are the implications of the aging Singaporean workforce?

What are some of the difficulties in encouraging greater workforce participation and outline the steps the government, employers and the trade unions can take to redress this issue?

What are the key elements of the strategic choice model?

Briefly outline some of the conventional presentations or frameworks used to explain Singapore’s industrial relations.

Identify the key elements of each of the three transformations of Singapore’s industrial relations.

Why does Leggett argue that the strategic choice model has greater utility than the alternative frameworks in explaining the changing nature of industrial relations in Singapore?

Topic 7 Wage Reform and Wage Negotiation

Tan 2004, Employment relations in Singapore, Chapter 10

Why was the National Wage Council established and how has its role changed through time?

Why has the National Wages Council stopped giving quantitative wage increases?

Discuss the features of the flexible wage system and outline the problems in implementing a flexible wage system?

Topic 8 HRM and the New Workplace

Williams, C 2007, ‘New forms of flexible work organization’ in Rethinking the future of work: Directions and visions, Palgrave, Houndmills, pp. 131-52.


What are the defining characteristics of Fordism?

Assess the advantages and disadvantages of Fordism with reference to a) workers, b) employers and c) consumers

In which ways was Fordism much more than just a new method of production?

What are the defining characteristics of neo-Fordism?

What are the defining characteristics of post-Fordism?

Assess the advantages and disadvantages of post-Fordism with reference to a) workers, b) employers and c) consumers

What is McDonaldisation?

Which form of work organisation do you think dominates Singapore workplaces? Justify your answer. Is Singapore similar or dissimilar to other countries?

Topic 9 Managing Human Resources

Pinnington, A & Lafferty, G 2003, ‘What is HRM?’, in Pinnington, A & Lafferty, G, Human resource management in Australia, Oxford, Melbourne.


What are the four HR categories under the Harvard model and what ensures their effectiveness?

Why is the Harvard model soft HRM?

What is the main concern of the Michigan model and what are the three important issues in this model?

Why is the Michigan model hard HRM?

What differentiates Schuler’s model from hard and soft HRM?

Are soft and hard HRM approaches alternatives or complementary?

Analyse Kochan’s framework and explain how it differs from soft and hard HRM?

Do these models of HRM apply equally to all industries?

Topic 10 Selection and Recruitment

Newall, S 2005, ‘Recruitment and selection’ in Bach, S (ed.) Managing human resources: Personnel management in transition, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, pp. 115-147.


How is job analysis linked to job description and person specification?

What is the significance of the ideas of reliability and validity in selection processes?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of different selection methods?

Topic 11 Current Issues in Singapore Employment Relations

Tan 2004, Employment relations in Singapore, Chapters 11-12 and 14

What benefits do the tripartite partners obtain from productivity improvement?

Why do some employers neglect training and what are the benefits of training for employers and employees?

What are the steps in designing a training programme and how are you able to tell if the training has succeeded?

How is the Singaporean workforce changing and what challenges does this pose?

Topic 12 Revision










No demonstrated understanding of question;

not all issues raised by the question have been answered; maybe inaccuracies and irrelevant material

Borderline understanding of question; may not have answered all the issues which the question raises; lacks comprehensiveness; maybe some inaccuracies

Sufficient understanding of question; answers all parts of question; lacks comprehensiveness; maybe minor inaccuracies

Good understanding of question/ answers all parts of question but not as comprehensive

Unequivocal understanding of question/ answers all its parts comprehensively and accurately


Gross spelling, grammatical errors; poor syntax

Basic understanding of rules of grammar and syntax; sentence and paragraphs; no spelling errors

Some evidence of fluency in writing; no obvious errors in grammar or syntax

Clear and fluent writing

Well constructed and crafted piece of work; a pleasure to read


No idea of structure

Some evidence of structure; intro, body, conclusion

Clear evidence of structure; but internal problems in structure still evident

Clear structure; well constructed essay

Essay structured to emphasise argument; clear intro and conclusion; logical progression of argument


Limited sources; high degree of paraphrasing

Uncritical discussion or assessment of sources; writing close to sources.

Some evidence of critical analysis.

Critical analysis of sources.

Highly developed critical analysis; and assessment of different approaches


Cut and paste; direct dependence on source material

Pedestrian; essay reliant on restating major themes from sources; no evidence of critical analysis of reading; mainstream expository writing

Not afraid of expressing opinion; beginning of critical analysis and development of style write able to show originality

Critical appraisal of evidence from sources; style used to effect; writing style evident; essay stands out from the pack

Evidence of highly developed analysis; opinion expressed; work displays flair and mastery in writing


Poorly presented; does not conform to course/ RMIT Business requirements

Average presentation; all required information included

Well presented

Very good presentation

Excellent presentation

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