Industrial relations

Industrial relations or employment relations is the multidisciplinary academic field that studies the employment relationship;[1] that is, the complex interrelations between employers and employees, labor/trade unions, employer organizations and the state.

The newer name, "employment relations" is increasingly taking precedence because "industrial relations" is often seen to have relatively narrow connotations.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4][better source needed] Some academics, universities and other institutions regard human resource management as synonymous with one or more of the above disciplines,[5] although this too is controversial.