The West Indies Cricket Board is one the regional institutions that falls under the category as an employer. For some time now it has had the misfortune of having its reputation called into question considering the perceived sour relationship it has had with players whom it engages under retainer contract.
The history of the board’s confrontations with the West Indies Players Association is well known. In recent times there seems to be a lull in the battles being played out between the two in the media. This hopefully is a sign that maturity has set in, and that the parties are respecting the principles of the collective bargaining process.
Using the experiences of the WICB, it should be clear to all other organisations, institutions and enterprises that there are lessons to be learnt if they are to maintain and preserve their image, reputation and respect.
The fallouts within organisations which tend to lead to public outcry could more often than not be avoided, if common sense, reasoning and the following of the rules, regulations and established procedures are followed. But these are sometimes only part of the wider problem, for it seems that inflated egos, pride and the belief by some office holders that they have absolute power and authority, weigh heavily in the mix.
It is disturbing that organisations, institutions or enterprises should resort to fighting their internal battles within the public domain. When this occurs, it is a sign that the spirit of goodwill has been broken, or that an individual — or a group of individuals — is prepared to state his or her objections on a matter, without following the appropriate channels for resolving issues of contention or dispute.
This is not healthy for the life and working of any organisation, as this action often leads to unnecessary fracture. The action(s) pursued can sometimes result in irreparable damage.
In any such instance there is usually not a winner. For example, within a workplace where the issue between an employer and workers makes headline news, the media takes pleasure in sensationalising the issue. Some would argue that inadvertently, the facts are overlooked. As a consequence, this gives way to speculation.
At the end of the day, the issue sometimes becomes lost, and a personality, mainly the principal spokesperson for an organisation, takes centre stage in the discussion. Those who play for public attention should seriously consider what is to be gained from any such action.
Where organisations and/or enterprises find themselves playing out their domestic issues in public domain, the leaders should be conscious of the fact that there is always a price to be paid. In going this route, the basis is laid for the integrity of the organisation to be called into question.
By extension, those who resort to taking an issue in the public domain, run the risk of both the case and the character of the individual at the helm being tried in public court.
Given that a grievance is defined as any discount or dissatisfaction with any aspect of the organisation, it is quite legitimate for any individual to have a grievance, irrespective of whether it is conceived as imaginary, legitimate or ridiculous.
Trade unions have long adopted and promoted the policy and practice of using the grievance handling process to resolve issues. By subscribing to this, trade unions recognise the value and importance of full discussions in clearing up misunderstandings and preserving harmonious relations. It is therefore premature and unwise to use the media as a means of attempting to resolve issues.
The view that life in a democratic society gives the individual the right to air their opinions, grievance or dissatisfaction with any particular action or cause, should not be taken as an absolute liberty. It is advisable that careful thought is given to an action before it is taken.
Some thought should be given to whether it serves to undermine positions previously taken, destroy gains made and/or is counterproductive.
Consideration should also be given to if its runs contrary to the values, standards and principles which have been espoused, as those which should generally guide all forms of professional behaviour. It is important to be able to justify any contemplated action.
It certainly would help if it is also measured, so that the impression is not conveyed that it is motivated by selfishness; and hence leads to it being taken as offensive. Remember! The world is watching.
* Dennis de Peiza is a Labour Management Consultant with Regional Management Services Inc.
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