Early online

  • Ethical Leadership and Employee Mental Health: Comparing Private and Public Sector Employees (2022-05-18)
    Jarrod Haar Peter McGhee Patricia Grant

    Ethical leadership research mainly focuses on job outcomes while largely ignoring the potential influence on employee mental health. We seek to rectify this by examining the links between ethical leadership and work-life balance, anxiety, and depression. In addition, we include the role of organisational trust due to the important links between ethical leadership and trust. With two samples from the public sector and private sector, and using structural equation modelling, we find consistent effects across both samples. Ethical leadership is positively related to all outcomes, but organisational trust mediates the influence on work-life balance (fully in public sector, and partially in private sector), and fully mediates the influence towards anxiety and depression (both samples). In addition, we find that work-life balance also partially mediates the influence of organisational trust on anxiety and depression. This highlights the importance of organisational trust and work-life balance for ethical leaders to better alleviate mental health issues in the workplace.

  • How Managers Make Sense of Human Resource Management’s Role in Building Trust: Enacting Espoused Human Resource Management in Indian Gas and Petrol Public Sector Organisations (2022-09-25)
    Sneha Jha Kapoor Marcus Ho Danaë Anderson

    The desire to mobilise effective strategic human resource management in India’s new public management domain has seen the role of organisational trust receive greater scholarly and practical scrutiny. This study explores managers’ perception of HRM’s role in building organisational trust in five public sector organisations in India using exploratory multiple case studies. In implementing HRM, the findings suggest that managers are cognisant of specific human resource practices that can be socially adapted to enhance their effectiveness. Implications from the study’s emergent process model of human resource management and trust highlight the cross-level influences that affect India’s public sector organisations’ outcomes.

  • Temporary migrant worker exploitation in New Zealand: A qualitative study of migrants’ and stakeholders’ views (2022-10-31)
    Christina Stringer Francis L. Collins Snejina Michailova

    Over the last two decades, New Zealand has increasingly relied on temporary migrant workers (TMWs) to address labour shortages. This reliance has occurred as part of changes to the immigration system, including working visa conditions and growing diversity in the nationalities and occupations of TMWs entering New Zealand. Correspondingly, there has been a continuous increase in reports of TMWs’ labour exploitation. Based on 131 semi-structured interviews conducted in 2019, we outline multiple factors that enable TMWs’ exploitation. We analyse both TMWs’ and stakeholders’ views, and within the latter group, we look at both the demand and supply sides. We discuss related matters, including policy initiatives addressing the issue.

  • Research Note: How modern slavery legislation might reimagine New Zealand companies’ supply chains (2022-10-31)
    Brent Burmester Christina Stringer Snejina Michailova Thomas Harre

    Following other countries that have introduced or are about to enforce modern slavery legislation, New Zealand is considering a Modern Slavery Act. This research note argues that for such legislation – whether imposing transparency or due diligence requirements – to be effective, it needs to be clear about the reach of those duties with respect to companies’ supply chains. This clarity is currently missing in foreign legislation; New Zealand has a chance to rectify this and introduce legislation that stimulates constructive change in the behaviour of organisations.

  • Giddens’ structuration theory and human resource practice in small firms (2023-07-20)
    Alexi Tretiakov Tanya Jurado Jo Bensemann

    We studied HR practices in New Zealand small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by analysing semi-structured interviews with 48 SME owners-managers using Giddens’ structuration theory as an analysis lens. HR practices were shaped by routinised actions of actors, and employee agency was strong, as action (or lack of it) by a single employee could have implications for the whole firm. Employees were not purely economic agents, as the quality of work experience and family circumstances could shape their behaviour more than financial compensation. HR practices were reproduced through the reflexive actions of owners-managers, employees and their family members as well as of external agents, such as suppliers and regulators. The analysis suggests that, to implement HR practices, such as hiring, employee development, and employee retention/dismissal in small firms successfully, owners-managers should treat employees and members of their families as powerful actors co-creating, rather than merely being subject to, HR practices.

  • Employment Advocate vs Employment Lawyer: A comparative analysis between New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom (2023-08-17)
    Dara Dimitrov

    New Zealand is facing a burgeoning number of employment advocates in its legal system, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of the enactment of the Employment Relations Act (ERA) 2000, New Zealand’s parliament intended that employment disputes be resolved in a non-adversarial and efficient manner that required little legal representation. Employment advocates are meant to meet that need; a relatable agent for an employment litigant that resolves disputes faster and cheaper. However, there have been increasing concerns from the employment judges, the New Zealand Law Society, lawyers and the public about the professionalism and competency of employment advocates. Recent case law questions whether employment advocates can continue to operate without restrictions or an oversight body. This paper demonstrates why some employment advocates operate below the standards expected by the courts and the impact it has on their employment litigants or clients. An international comparison to paid agents in Australia and McKenzie friends in the United Kingdom is also included. This paper recommends that the current operations of employment advocates undermine employment litigants’ access to justice and that New Zealand’s parliament needs to reconsider the role of employment advocates in employment disputes.

  • “Good faith in the time of Covid-19”: Key Legal Developments 2020-2022 (2022-11-21)
    Amanda Reilly

    This article discusses some key legal developments related to Covid-19 and employment law. As will be seen, some legal issues which arose were specific to the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic while others raise more broadly applicable questions which are yet to be resolved. One very clear thread that emerges is that the need for employers to consult and engage with employees in good faith was not negated by the fact of a public health crisis and national state of emergency.

    The key legal issues that arose can conveniently be divided under two headings: those related to the economic impact of Covid-19 and those related to vaccination requirements.

  • Discourses of Deservingness in the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment (2022-12-07)
    Peter Skilling

    This article presents an analysis of the Covid-19 Income Relief Payment (CIRP) scheme that was instituted for a limited time in 2020 to support those who had lost their income as a result of the pandemic. More specifically, it analyses the ways in which CIRP recipients were discursively constructed as deserving of a higher level of support (albeit for a limited time) than that available for other unemployed people and other welfare recipients. To this end, this article conducts a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of relevant policy documents, parliamentary debates and media coverage to assess how key actors constructed the deservingness of CIRP recipients, as well as how these constructions were contested by other groups. While the CIRP was positioned as a short-lived response to an exceptional event, the design and the discourses of this scheme reveal how policymakers understand the deservingness of different groups of New Zealanders. It is important to understand these discourses of deservingness, especially as the architects of the CIRP scheme linked it to the development of a permanent scheme for supporting displaced workers. 

  • Employee attitudes towards workplace ethics during the Covid-19 pandemic in Aotearoa New Zealand (2022-12-13)
    Karin Lasthuizen Grant Michelson

    This research note uses national survey evidence collected in May 2021 to explore the views and attitudes of employees in Aotearoa New Zealand towards workplace ethics. We compare these findings with data from a previous Ethics at Work employee survey in 2018 to highlight key trends in workplace ethics over time. Results show several improvements over time but also some areas of concern. To show how New Zealand employees have responded during the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 results from Australian employees – as well as the 2021 global results of employees from 13 countries which include both New Zealand and Australia – are also presented. Our findings are discussed through a moral economy framework, which positions employment as a relationship with significant dependencies and mutualities between labour and capital. Importantly, this relationship is intended to enhance human and societal flourishing. We conclude that this framework provides an opportunity to rethink how employment relations in Aotearoa New Zealand might be understood and practised.

  • The evolving role of the Employment Relations Authority Te Ratonga Ahumana Taimahi in the age of pandemia (2023-07-04)
    Andrew Dallas

    The Employment Relations Authority Te Ratonga Ahumana Taimahi (Authority) is the principal adjudicative institution in Aotearoa New Zealand’s employment jurisdiction. This article, which is written from a participant/observer perspective, examines how the Authority, which operates as an “investigatory” rather than a more traditional adversarial tribunal, responded to the Covid-19 pandemic and considers and evaluates what lessons might be learned. It also reflects on the future of the Authority’s expanded collectivist jurisdiction within the context of pandemia and structural economic change.

  • Redundancy with dignity – Give it to me straight (2023-09-01)

    In times of crisis, organisations implement cost-cutting measures, including retrenchment. Research on employee redundancy often focuses on the processes performed by organisations. This paper, however, reports on the expectations of New Zealand and Australian employees (n=613) during the later stages of the pandemic-lockdown environment, circa late 2021, regarding their organisation’s messaging of imminent redundancy. Employees in both countries indicated that they seek dignity and directness, and to be told face-to-face by their immediate line manager, senior line manager, or CEO that they are being “made redundant”. Interestingly, being told by Human Resources personnel was a least favoured option. This research informs organisations of their organisational justice and corporate social responsibilities in times of retrenchment.