Grievance Handling Machinery Introduction - Industrial Relations Management

Grievance Handling Machinery

Grievance is defined as any real or imaginary feeling of dissatisfaction and injustice which an employee has about his employment relationship.

  1. “Grievance is any dissatisfaction or feeling of injustice in connection with one’s employment situation that is brought to the attention of management.”_ Dale S. Beach.
  2. “A grievance is any discontent or dissatisfaction whether expressed or not, whether valid or not, arising out of anything in connection with the company that an employee thinks, believes or even feels, is unfair, unjust or inequitable.”_ Michael J. Jucious.

Features of Grievances

  1. A grievance refers to any form of discontent or dissatisfaction with any aspect of the organization.
  2. The dissatisfaction must arise out of employment and not due to personal or family problems.
  3. The discontent can arise out of real or imaginary reasons. When the employee feels that injustice has been done to him, he has a grievance. The reasons for such a feeling may be valid or invalid, legitimate or irrational, justifiable or ridiculous.
  4. The discontent may be voiced or unvoiced. But it must find expression in some form. However, discontent per se is not a grievance. Initially, the employee may complain orally or in writing. If this is not looked into promptly, the employee feels a sense of lack of justice. Now the discontent grows and takes the shape of a grievance.
  5. Broadly speaking, thus, a grievance is traceable to perceived non-fulfillment of one’s expectations from the organization.

Forms of Grievances:

    • Factual:A factual grievance arises when legitimate needs of employees remain unfulfilled, e.g., wage hike has been agreed but not implemented citing various reasons.
    • Imaginary:An imaginary grievance arises when an employee’s dissatisfaction is not because of any valid reason but because of a wrong perception, wrong attitude or wrong information he has. Such a situation may create an imaginary grievance. Though management is not at fault in such instances, still it has to clear the ‘fog’ immediately.
    • Disguised:An employee may have dissatisfaction for reasons that are unknown to him. If he/ she is under pressure from family, friends, relatives, neighbors, he/she may reach the work spot with a heavy heart.

The following are the important steps that should be taken in handling grievances.

  1. Define, express and describe the nature of grievance at the heart of the employee's complaint as early as possible, so that the wrong complaint may not be handled and the real grievance may not turn up again to plague the management.
  2. After locating the real issue, the next step is to gather all relevant facts, about the issue, i.e. how and where it took place and the circumstances under which it transpired. Such fact gathering requires interviewing and listening to employees. This will, however, convince the employees that the management was sincere in seeing that justice is done.
  3. After getting the real picture of the grievance the management must make a list of alternate solutions. If possible the suitability of this decision may be checked before taking and announcing the final decision.
  4. Gather additional information for checking tentative solutions for finding out the best possible one. For this, or the past experience of the executive in similar cases may be helpful. Company's own record of grievances, if maintained can also be helpful in this respect.
  5. The decision having finally being reached should then be passed in clear unequivocal terms to the employees concerned. The ultimate decision is the tool of action.
  6. Follow up the case so that it is handled satisfactorily and the trouble eliminated. It is essential to see the attitude of the Secondly, he should feel that the employees are fair in presenting their grievances, unless it is proved otherwise. Thirdly, in handling grievances, management should display a sincere interest in the problems of employees and a constructive willingness to be of help. All executives must have confidence in themselves and should be fully aware of their responsibilities and be willing to carry these burdens. Such a positive attitude must be apparent to employees in order to gain their respect and cooperation. The manager should consider the grievance seriously and should not show a casual attitude. Grievances should be handled in terms of their total effects upon the organization and not merely their immediate or individual effects.

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