Introduction A frame of reference Is not a philosophical concept. It refers to ones worldview and the evaluation or Judgment of one’s observations. One’s frame of reference coincides with one’s behavior and the consequences thereof. Therefore, a frame of reference is fixed but one needs to be sensitive and accept individual differences in frames of reference. This paper aims to address the frame of reference of Pick ‘n Pays chairman and joint managing director, Mr. Raymond Ackerman. The arguments presented in this paper are my own with a theoretical basis from the work of Blue (1987).

My interpretation of Mr. Ackermann frame of reference will be presented in relation to the organization, conflict, collective bargaining and trade unions. The Organization The pluralist frame of reference is defined by a system of various interest groups with contrasting interests and beliefs (Blue, 1987). These various groups require continuous compromising for consent and co-operation to occur (Blue, 1987). Mr. Ackerman explains that Pick ‘n Pars interest groups became restless and infuriated with the trade union during the strike.

He explained that some of the interest groups ho opposed the strike were consumers, white vigilantes and white interest groups. The diverging Interests of the interest groups of Pick ‘n Pay needed to be resolved for the entire supermarket’s chains to operate efficiently and effectively. The strike occurred as a result of the divergent goals of management (Mr. Ackerman) and the trade union representing Pick ‘n Pay employees. I argue that Mr. Ackerman has a pluralist frame of reference In terms of the organization because of the existence of several interest groups.

Management’s leader is Mr. Ackerman and the leaders of the employees are the trade union representatives. The trade union initiated the strike based on the objective of gaining acceptance of its point of view. Processes had to occur for the points of view to be argued. These events occur within a pluralist frame of reference. Wage negotiations form part of interest disputes and therefore two parties are at conflict with another. Conflict Competing interests and the recurring need for comprise, co-operation and consent leads to conflict. Therefore, the pluralist view regards the phenomenon to conflict as natural and necessary.

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Mr. Ackerman experiences conflict in his business with the exceptive trade union. The conflict is handled by skilled practitioners who patiently try to resolve their differences. The level of conflict was tolerated for a certain amount of time before the trade union recognized the mutual need and interest in Pick ‘n Pay to operate efficiently. The pluralist view therefore argues that parties must have the ability to resolve differences. Two types of conflict exist within a pluralist society. Constructive conflict can be resolved through dialogue in contrast to destructive conflict that is difficult for labor relations to control.

The strike is regarded as organized conflict that manifests Itself In dramatic group behavior. The use of petrol bombs and bomb scares inflicted upon Pick ‘n Pay was to gain acceptance of the union’s view. This may however be regarded as destructive conflict that can deter the possibility for progress to reach an agreement. According to Blue (1987), a certain ‘Off could suggest that Pick ‘n Pay did not suppress their workers if unionists were prepared to engage in destructive behavior. The final aspect that validates Mr. Ackermann pluralist frame of reference rests on the balance of power.

The balance of power between management, including but not limited to Mr. Ackerman, and the union was equitable. Mr. Ackerman and management would have dominated the agreement with the union and suppressed the worker’s aspirations if an equitable balance of power didn’t exist. Mr. Ackerman clarified in his speech that the employees needed him and that he needed their services. His speech simply illustrated that the business’ nature was not destroy its employees, and that the employees should not set out to destroy the business. This reiterates the notion of balance of power.

Collective bargaining The ability for positions to reach a consensus is reached through collective bargaining. Blue (1987) infers that the pluralist frame of reference does not seek to remove conflict but to manage it. Mr. Ackerman acknowledged the existence of conflict and tried to manage it by sending his negotiating team to resolve the conflict and end the strike. Mr. Ackerman has a pluralist view because he believes the issue should have been resolved during negotiations. He even went as far as awarding greater bargaining flexibility to the negotiating team.

The mere fact that Mr. Ackerman was so determined to resolve the conflict though means of collective bargaining should eliminate the likelihood of a unitary frame of reference. Collective bargaining, an equitable balance of power, and essentially the aim to compromise confirm that Mr. Ackerman holds a pluralist view on industrial relations. Mr. Ackerman fought to reach a consensus for personal and economic reasons. The breakthrough to reach a consensus was achieved after he delivered his speech. He appealed to the opposing union members by focusing on personal matters.

This led to the agreement off negotiation. Mr. Ackerman considered going up on his agreement and the union considered going down on theirs. No suppression or unilateral decision-making occurred. In addition this too points towards a pluralist view. The final agreement was shortly signed although the union still had divergent beliefs to that of Mr. Ackerman. Essentially, the union agrees to disagree with Mr. Ackerman. The Pick ‘n Pay chains are left to operate efficiently and the interest groups are able to co-exist based on their mutual dependability on the business.

Trade unions Trade unions came into existence to eliminate the imbalance of power and to halogen the control of management. Therefore, trade unions serve a political and economic function (Blue, 1987). Mr. Ackerman addressed the union’s political and economic agenda behind the issue of an agreement. The reaction of the union to the allegation resulted in an agreement to meet. This should be regarded as the breakthrough leading up to the consensus. The decision to Join a union grants workers the right to accept authority from leaders other than management.

This is achieved by the horizontal links that Joins workers to members in other organizations hen they Join a union (Blue, 1987). The workers of Pick ‘n Pay who were union members were therefore entitled to accept the authority of their union officials. These workers were entitled not to accept any agreement conditions offered by Mr. Ackerman or management. This aggravated the strike and prolonged the be made Jointly by management and trade union representatives. The agreement on wages could therefore not have been dictated by Mr. Ackerman if he holds a pluralist view.

Under the management of Mr. Ackerman, Pick ‘n Pay was one of the first retails o recognize unions. The union’s ability to arrange collective action opposing perceived unfavorable treatment of its members suggests the ideology is one of a pluralist nature. Similarly, Mr. Ackerman did not prohibit the formation of trade unions that also suggests he has a pluralist frame of reference. References Blue, S. 1987. Industrial Relations: Approaches and Ideologies. In darling, J. F. , Vulgar, C. & Blue, S. (Deeds. ). Behavior in Organizations: South African Perspectives. (2nd De. ). Johannesburg: Lexicon. Interview: Why me? Raymond Ackerman.


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