Changing Employment Relations in the Health Sector: Evidence from Victoria, Australia

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Harbridge, Raymond, Stanton, Pauline and Bartram, Timothy (2004) Changing Employment Relations in the Health Sector: Evidence from Victoria, Australia. Korean Journal of Industrial Relations, 14 (1). pp. 63-86. ISSN 1226-4059


The significance of the study reported in this paper is that the state of Victoria in Australia has been through two different government approaches since 1992, both of which have had a significant impact on employee relations within the public health sector. In this paper we draw on a series of semi-structured interviews with key actors from the public health system to explore two central questions: how does government policy impact on employment relations in the Victorian public health sector, and what are the consequences for managerial practice at the local level? Our findings suggest that despite these two divergent ideological approaches to the management ofthe Victorian public health sector, people management practices have not differed markedly but are impeded by political rhetoric, central-local tensions and an absence of government leadership system wide. These impediments have undermined greater investment and innovation in people management at the local level and promoted an industrial relations culture centered on historical industrial relations institutions and tensions. We identify several areas of policy consideration for both Australian and international managers and governments.

Item type Article
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Management and Information Systems
Keywords ResPubID19050, employment relations, Australia public health sector, human resource management, trade unions, government policy
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