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2017-01-04 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文




Employment relations is a topic more than human resource management (Simon 1951: p. 295). It is so complicated that market, state, company, society and so on can all be included in its contents. Theorists and practitioners are always trying to figure out an most effective model for certain economy. Some European countries choose European Social Model which takes care of the unemployed and the disadvantage. Western countries such as the Australia, New Zealand and the United States tend to favours Anglo-Saxon Model which is characterised by hands-off survival-off-the-fittest. Japan was once famous for its Japanese model which offer lifetime employment contract and runs by seniority-based system. Communist Model was unsuccessfully applied in the Soviet Union but some countries have improved it in a successful way. And last but least countries with transforming economies change model all the time and the scope of them are too large to cover. Which model is the best? There are always new models hailing now and then from the theorists. Is there really a best one above all? This essay will try to answer this question by separately looking into these models and discuss their effect.  

European Social Model

The European Social Model refers to a popular model in European Union, similar with US-Style free-market capitalism or rather, as an alternative to it. The model is often applied by the left forces of European Union as a positive formulation for their perspective of a different Europe. However, at its very beginning, it was used as an symbol and picture Delor's social-democratic Europe (Leibried, Pierson 1995). But these years have witnessed a shift of meaning and application of this term in the context of European employment relations. After being an interpretation of Delor's social-democratic Europe, it then turned to legitimising a dominating "neoliberal integration process" (Hermann, Hofbauer 2007: p. 24) and at last worked on justifying the cut-back of current welfare systems. However, led by this model, European employment relations did not seem to shift from negativity to positivity. For instance, there are still 20 million workers unemployed in Europe (Hermann, Hofbauer 2007: p. 25). This model is supposed to enhance European employees competitive advantages in global market, catching the opportunities and avoiding the risks. No doubt that a social Europe is needed, but the social Europe should work in the interests of its European employees (Blair 2005: p. 2). Tony Blair (2005: p. 3) also emphasised the shift of purpose of European Social Model, namely, from distinguishing Europe from USA in terms of social characteristics in the process of integrating economies to enhancing the competitive advantage of labour force in Europe. As a result, now this term has become arguable. Political struggle is seen amongst the arguments (Sisson 1999). Only when the model can serve for the real benefit of the European workers can it be as effective as its initial purpose. Anyone who depends on such an ambiguous term should work carefully otherwise they will be the vulnerable victims of such a model.

Anglo-Saxon Model

The Anglo-Saxon Model is popular amongst the English-speaking countries such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It is an extremely different model from the European Social Model which gives financial support and provide welfare to the unemployed and disadvantage citizens in severely regulated market. By contrast, Anglo-Saxon Model has two term best describing its characteristic: "Hands-Off" and "Survival-Of-The-Fittest". The credit crunch in the financial crisis is the side-effect of this system (Mueller 2006: p. 310). And most often than not the French and the Germany are the ones who blame this model as their employment relations have nothing to do with this model which makes them so proud (Baliga, Polak 2001: p. 130). But it is admitted that this model gives space and freedom to the relationship between employees and employers. Regulations are hardly seen so employment regulation is various amongst companies in the market. But under such circumstances, the majority of job positions are offered by public sectors in United Kingdom rather than the supposed-to-be-blooming private sectors. And recently UK runs a model called "Anglo-Social"system have by contrast brought more job opportunities and better working condition than other European countries. The British government has improved the workers' rights and enhanced salaries of the disadvantaged in an incentive way. Furthermore, an obituary of the Anglo-Saxon Model has been claimed in May (Denny 2009). It seems that this capitalist-characterised model has lost its popularity as time goes by. Labour force in these countries is asking for more welfare instead of being treated as machine. Improvement is made in this model such as the "Anglo-Social" instance of Britain. But the future of this model is not bright as its effect on capitalism has failed (Denny 2009). This model therefore is less promising to the Anglo-Saxon countries but time will tell.      

Japanese Model

Japanese model has once brought prosperity to its economy during its superlative period-from 1950s to 1960s. The way it deals with employment relation has also learnt worldwide. However, since 1990s the country's economy has grown at a slow rate, 1.6% per year and no growth at all in some of them. Severe recession is also seen in the last decade of 20th century in Japan (Leggett, Bamber 2001: p. 302). Since then Japanese model has lost part of its popularity in other countries around the world. It is worth of study on why can its effect not last longer? Three characteristics of Japanese model should be analysed. Firstly, Lifetime Employment System (LES) and Seniority-Based System (SBS) is carried consistently in big companies. Secondly one conglomerate is served with one main banking system. Thirdly an Iron Triangle is balanced with government, politicians and businessmen (McCormick 2007: p. 753). The first characteristic closely relates to employment relations so this characteristic is the most important one in this essay. The Lifetime Employment System refers to a system that offers Japanese employees lifelong contract in companies. In other words, once they are hired, they will never get fired. This system cultivate loyalty of employees toward the company and provides sense of security to the employees (Keizer 2009). Meanwhile, the Seniority-Based System refers to the salary system that salary increased with promotion promised as an employee are getting senior in the context of the company. The senior employees also have a great deal of respect amongst the junior ones. No doubt that firstly LES protects the employees from feeling the insecurity of unemployment and redundancy (Watanabe 2000: p. 310). But that also indicates that as long as employees behave sensibly, they will not get fired. Employees to some extent lose ambition or incentives. Employees therefore lack the motivation to get self-actualised. At the same time the companies lose the chance to recruit the best candidates for the positions and replace the inappropriate ones.

Communist Model

Karl Marx (2002) originally described the communist model. In this model the employment relations are even of more benefit than the European Social Model. The employees are the masters of the country, according to Karl Marx (2002). The workers enjoy 100% of their input as the output will go back to their pocket in the end. Unemployment rate is supposed to be extremely low as the government is always on behalf of the majority, namely the workers, so the laws and regulations are in the interests of the majority. However, this idealistic model has not yet achieved complete success in any country. The collapse of the Soviet Union has somewhat claimed the failure of the Communist Model although some people claims that it is not the fault of the model but the men who applied it (Estrin, Basu, Svejnar 2000: p. 354). This essay is not trying to engage in such debate. It just looks at the current version of the truth. Another example is the development of China. China now claims that it is developing in its own way, not completely in communist model, neither in Anglo-Saxon (or any other) model. However, its economy is built upon the communist foundation (Estrin, Basu, Svejnar 2000: p. 356). Under the influence of credit crunch China still hold on to a comparatively stable economy. At the same time its employment relation as a result has not been tightened as much as those in other countries. Unemployment rate did not go up dramatically at that time. Similarly, Britain who apply "Anglo-Social Model" rather than "Anglo-Saxon Model" of its European counterparts increased job opportunities while others struggled for a living in the financial storm. Employment relations are not in mess nor in danger in these countries which did not stick to one idealistic theory but improve the models in accordance with their own situations and external circumstances.       

Transforming Economies Models

Most often than not, the developing countries are in the news of transforming economies such as China and Vietnam (Fuchs 2002: p. 156). Now and then there are new models emerging from the horizon such as the Chinese one and Britain one discussed above. And some theorists are not satisfied with the current employment relation models. They are providing new models by combining the famous one into one such as Communist Model with Japanese Model (Zhu, Warner 2000: p. 350). However, these models have just emerged for a while and before anyone can analyse the effect of them, they have been replaced by other models. Sometimes the same theorist provided another model no sooner after drinking a cup of water after he claimed one (Baker 2009: p. 200). How effective these models work to the transforming economies is a myth. Moreover, the main characteristic of the transforming economies is unpredictability (Zhu, Warner 2000: p. 351). The current existing models cannot satisfy an ever-changing economy and employment relations. Under such circumstances, nevertheless, the countries with transforming economies still harvest in terms of stably developing economy and balanced employment relations, China being one of the examples (Zhu, Warner 2000: p. 351). There are lessons still to be learn from their models and their experience. Furthermore, the ideology of these countries determines that some points in their model will be consistent (Fuchs 2002: p. 157). As a result these points may be found in the models if enough models can be studied. The scope of this task is too large for this essay so here no conclusion will be given for the transforming economies models.


Tosum up, European Social Model takes care of the disadvantaged and unemployed citizens so the welfare can be distribute to the employees. Employees benefits can be guaranteed in this model. However its purposed has shift nowadays from building a social-democratic Europe to enhancing the economy and improving the employment relations of Europe. Anglo-Saxon Model has been claimed as a corpse for its failure in the application on capitalism. The few regulations and low tax of this model result in the financial crisis and the lost of jobs in the market. It seems to die out of history sooner but still some theorists are trying to save it or polish it. The Japanese Model brings the employees sense of security but as a result the employees lose their incentives because they do not want to make mistakes which is the only way to lose jobs. At the same time the companies cannot recruit the best candidates and replace the incompetent ones. The Communist Model is utopian and failed in the Soviet Union. But improvement has been seen in Chinese example whose foundation of economy and employment relations is still communism. Transforming economies models are so various that the justification of them will be too huge to cover in this essay. But still there are lessons to learn from all of them. In short, there is no best employment relation model. Every one has its advantages and disadvantages.


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