Status-personality in labor-management negotiations : a conceptual study
Anderson, Robert Henry
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Collective bargaining is a process of interpersonal relations involving group dynamics, the interaction of persons holding culturally defined positions of labor and management. The isolation of many variables would be necessary for a complete analysis of the process. The present study is limited to a conceptual analysis of the variables; (1) status-personality and (2) group "climate". Our society is based on group participation in organizations comprising the various institutions essential for societal functioning. In relation to these groups the members of the various groups will generally have a series of personality elements in common. These common elements together form a configuration which is termed the "Basic Personality Type" for the society as a whole. Additional configurations of responses are associated with certain groups within the society. These responses associated with certain statuses are termed "Status Personalities" and make it possible for the members of a group or groups within the society, to interact successfully on the basis of status cues alone. Therefore, simple recognition of the social positions of the groups or individuals makes it possible for each to predict how the other will react to most circumstances. Status personality and group elements such as organization, climate, leadership, are variables in the dynamic interaction of the group members. Therefore, the nature of a group's functioning can be due primarily to one or the other set of factors, or a combination of the two. A breakdown of morale can be traced to the individual and his inability to recognize status-linked responses or his unwillingness to accept and react to these responses. A similar result might ensue from disturbing group factors such as an unfavorable climate, inadequate programming, faulty composition, and so on. The purpose of this paper is to present a conceptual study of the influence of status-personality and the accompanying concepts, role and role-playing, in labor-management negotiations, or collective bargaining. It is hoped that while studying the nature of the collective bargaining process, we develop a greater insight into the causes of misunderstanding and conflict between labor and management. Through the examination of status-personality and group dynamics we hope to achieve an insight necessary in predicting group interaction at the management-labor level. If such behavior is predictable, than it may be possible to offer ways of avoiding future conflicts on the emotional level and resolve some issues on the basis of scientifically verifiable data.