Endangered species? The demise of Enterprise Bargaining Agreements

Yianni Athanasopoulos, Joanna Esler (Panel member), Arif Khan (Panel member), Ruth Delaforce (Panel member)

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This research proposal reports on the conceptualisation for a thesis that will explore the factors that have influenced Enterprise Bargaining's decline within the Australian Retail Industry. Bray et al. (2019) define Enterprise Bargaining Agreements as a process and a structure with an agreement being the outcome, often facilitated by the state, where employers and unions decide the terms and conditions of employment of workers. Price et al. (2014) argue that there has been comparatively little attention focused on cooperation, collaboration, and compromise between the stakeholders within the industrial relations arena.
This research will focus on the bargaining relations to identify any cooperation, collaboration, compromise, as well as conflict in the retail sector. Although Pennington (2018) has found a significant decline in Enterprise Bargaining Agreements within the private sector, most notably within the Australian Retail Industry from 2013-2017, there has been limited research on the factors that have influenced this decline, particularly in the retail sector.
Two paradigmatic approaches will be used within the proposed thesis, including 'Critical Hermeneutics' and 'Critical Realism'. The critical realist approach will underpin the research, providing the philosophical views regarding the nature of reality (Guba, 1994) and how knowledge about reality is understood and accepted (Burrell, 2017). Drawing on critical hermeneutics, the thesis will explore the way particular texts condition the understandings of organisational and extra organisational actors, and how this conditioning affects their behaviour (Phillips & Brown, 1993).
Furthermore, the regulation theory of employment will be utilised to provide a framework for understanding the factors that shape the sector's bargaining processes. Employment regulation can be understood as the network of rules, social norms and practices that govern the employment contract and labour activity (Edwards et al., 1994). This thesis will examine how such different elements of regulation can impact the bargaining process within the retail sector.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages47
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2021
EventRES704: Faculty Research Presentations -
Duration: 23 Jun 202123 Jun 2021


CourseRES704: Faculty Research Presentations
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