Industrial relations or employment relations is the multidisciplinary academic field that studies the employment relationship; that is, the complex interrelations between employers and employees, labor/trade unions, employer organizations and the state.
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The newer name, "employment relations" is increasingly taking precedence because "industrial relations" is often seen to have relatively narrow connotations. Nevertheless, industrial relations has frequently been concerned with employment relationships in the broadest sense, including "non-industrial" employment relationships. This is sometimes seen as paralleling a trend in the separate but related discipline of human resource management.
While some scholars regard or treat industrial/employment relations as synonymous with employee relations and labour relations, this is controversial, because of the narrower focus of employee/labour relations, i.e. on employees or labour, from the perspective of employers, managers and/or officials. In addition, employee relations is often perceived as dealing only with non-unionized workers, whereas labour relations is seen as dealing with organized labour, i.e unionized workers.[better source needed] Some academics, universities and other institutions regard human resource management as synonymous with one or more of the above disciplines, although this too is controversial.